Received wisdom is that selling books written in a series is much easier than selling stand-alone novels (or indeed any kind of stand-alone book). If you're writing series, make sure you give it the best chance for success by taking advantage of the facility available on Amazon to link the books in each series together on each book's individual page. ALLi author Debbie Young explains how, drawing on her experience with the first three books in her planned series of seven cozy mystery novels.
How to Set up the Metadata
Amazon should link all the books for you automatically provided that you set up the metadata right on KDP for the ebook and CreateSpace (if you're using the latter for your print books).
Go to your Amazon dashboard for KDP and CS in turn (you need to do it separately for both the ebook and the paperback).
Underneath the boxes for title, subtitle and author you will find a series box. This is how it looks on KDP;
And this is how it looks on CS:
Complete both boxes, as I have done, for the title of the SERIES and the VOLUME NUMBER.
It is very important to use exactly the same wording for for each book in the series on both platforms, otherwise they won't be automatically matched up.
How the Series Will Show in the Amazon Store
Adding these details will give you two advantages on each Amazon store page for each book in the series.
- It will add in brackets the name of your series after the book's title like this:
- It will add a cute little image of all the books in the series just under each book's description and just above your “also boughts” like this:
This is in addition to it being likely that shoppers will also see the other books in the “also boughts” immediately underneath, like this;
If all of that doesn't get the message across to potential readers that the book they're viewing is part of a series, I don't know what will!
Being Wise After the Event
Don't worry if you've already set your books up and haven't marked them as a series yet – you can do it retrospectively.
- You can add a series title at any time on KDP
- On CS, the title information will be locked, so you can't change it at will, but if you email support and explain the situation, they should do it for you.
If you've included the series title some other way, e.g. as a subtitle or in brackets as part of the main title, don't worry – you can change that too. And if you have done that, you should remove the subtitle from those boxes, otherwise you'll end up with a duplication on your book's page e.g. “Best Murder in Show (A Sophie Sayers Village Mystery) – (Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries Book 1) “.
What You Can't Do with Series
So far, so good – but there are a few provisos to bear in mind:
- Amazon is quite particular about what counts as a series: the contents of the books must be clearly connected. I have a series of collections of short stories, but because there is no common plot shared between them, they don't qualify for a series listing.
- Equally, they are also not keen to group together books of different length, e.g. a series of full-length novels cannot include a novella or a related short story. (Here's a link to their current help page on the topic.) The series listings are also not yet rolled out across all territories, but it sounds as if they're working on that.
- They don't always connect the series automatically – so if it hasn't happened to yours within a week of setting up your series titles, email support via Author Central, and they'll fix it for you in a day or two.
A Note About Volume Numbers
Another consideration when setting up a series is how to number them – more complex than you might at first think, if once your series is rolling out nicely, you decide to add a prequel or a spin-off that doesn't fit neatly into the timeline arc of the series as a whole, as ALLi author Keith Dixon discovered. Read this post from our archive to find out his solution:
Note: Keith did manage to link a short story into his series, but this was a little while ago, so we're presuming Amazon's policy has changed since then.
OVER TO YOU Do you have any further top tips on optimising Amazon pages for your books? We'd love to hear about them!#Authors - how to sell more books in a series by listing them correctly on #Amazon's #KDP and #CreateSpace dashboards - by @DebbieYoungBN, author of the #SophieSayers series Click To Tweet