How To Tell If Your “Look Inside” Sample Will Help Or Hurt The Sale

book marketing promotion

If your book is already published in Kindle, click the Look Inside feature and answer the following questions honestly:


“If I were a complete stranger who didn’t know me or my work, would I buy this book based on what I’m reading in the sampler?”


  • Does it give me a good sense of the characters (for fiction) or the subject matter (nonfiction)?
  • Does it move me emotionally? (fiction)
  • Does it offer a solution to my problem? (nonfiction)
  • Does the book’s layout make sense?  (Nonfiction)
  • Do I like it enough to plunk down cold hard cash?
  • Do I want to read more?


If you can’t answer these questions in the affirmative, you need to change the first 10% of your book, even if you have to incur extra formatting costs.

How To Use Amazon’s “Look Inside!” Feature To Clinch The Sale

Amazon’s “Look Inside!” feature lets potential buyers sample 10% of your book.  This is a fantastic opportunity to close the sale, and I might add, alarmingly, your last.  Think about the customer’s process so far:


  1. They liked the cover and/or title of your book well enough to click on it
  2. Your book description enticed but didn’t fully convince
  3. The price may or may not be acceptable
  4. They’re near the precipice but they can’t commit.  Oh, wait!  There’s the Look Inside Feature.  They click and read
  5. They decide Yes or No


Now, the truth is that buying decisions are a bit more complex, but one thing’s for sure–if you don’t impress them with the 10% sample your ROI will be DOA.  


Front Matter Faux Pas

Look Inside can clinch the sale if readers get to your writing right away.  Too many authors fill up the first 10% sampling with useless information like Library of Congress data, dedications, foreword, list of previous books, acknowledgements and other “front matter” that do nothing to sell books.  


If I pick up a printed book at a Barnes & Noble and see a lot front matter, I can simply skip to any part of the book I want.  Not with Kindle.  You can’t skim; you can only click from one page to another (and not necessarily in sequence as Amazon often limits viewing to random pages).  Potential buyers have no idea if the next click is going to take them to your writing or to more useless information.  This is a recipe for lost sales.   


For simplicity’s sake, let’s say your book is 100 pages long.  That means book browsers can sample the first ten pages.  You can’t impress a customer with your writing if six or seven of those pages are eaten up by front matter.


Even if your book is two or three hundred pages (and therefore have 20 or 30 pages for the customers to read) it is NEVER a good idea to make a customer click six, seven or more times to get to the meat of what they’re looking for.  Book sales, in great part, are impulse buys.  Every click that doesn’t get to your writing is a lost sale.  


Let me repeat that:  Every click that doesn’t get to your writing is a lost sale.  


There’s a reason why Amazon came up with their brilliant “Buy Now With 1-Click” feature.  They know the more they make customers work to get to the buy button the more opportunity they have to change their minds.  Amazon’s “Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate” is probably close to 70%.  We know this because there are 37 large-scale commerce abandonment rate studies done in the last few years and they average about 69%.  


That means close to 70% of customers who show serious buying intent–customers who click all the way through a shopping cart–abandon the process at the last minute.  If that wrench doesn’t tighten your nuts I don’t know what will.  Therefore you MUST make sure that your customers are one click away from your writing.


Get To Your Writing–STAT!

Once a potential customer hits the “Look Inside” feature they should immediately be taken to your writing.  For nonfiction, this should be the Table Of Contents or Introduction.  For fiction, it should be the first page of Chapter One or maybe a Cast Of Characters so readers can get a better sense of who inhabits your story.



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