This is the launch post of a new blog series entitled “Amazon Optimized: Accelerate your book sales on the Big River with refined use of every marketing tool. (Also the Title of my Forthcoming Book on the topic)

In this post, I offer 2 justifications, 4 suggestions and 2 examples on how to leverage “Share your own Customer Images” to drive more sales of your book on Amazon.

This book marketing effort is a perfect example of the dozens of (mostly free) marketing tools that exist on Amazon which too often go unnoticed, underutilized or “unoptimized.” This opportunity is not exactly hidden. It is right there in the upper left, above the fold, beneath the cover, for every book on Amazon.

I was first introduced to this strategy by Laura Pepper Wu. Her fantastic article on customer images appeared as a guest post on Tony Elderidge’s blog, Marketing Tips for Authors, a blog which also appears in my 2011 “Top 10 Book Marketing Sites, Ranked by Traffic.” Tony’s interest in a post on this topic was spot on. Even 4 months later on December 22, 2011, Laura’s article is still listed on his site as #1 in his “Popular Posts – last 30 days.” Authors are clearly paying attention. Accordingly, I’d like to thank Laura for being on the cutting edge and offer a few additional thoughts on this tool, that I’ve accumulated since implementing her suggestion.


To Increase Sales, of course. Like with most Amazon tools, you won’t receive data from them demonstrating which of your marketing efforts are proving most effective. You have to proceed on faith with this one. But it is proven that well-chosen images deepen user impact, and this is prime real estate to make your book a more compelling buy.

If you don’t add any images, someone else may take these spots from you, and post something that doesn’t help. Anyone can add an image, and Amazon seems to display these images in the order they were uploaded. If you are an Author, you want to “own” this space by getting your images up first.


Use images that really help sell your book. Remember this is creative space. Sky is the limit, and it might be optimized very differently for different types of books. In general, the best pictures are probably ones that evoke some theme, memory, location or symbol that draws you into the book… anything that makes the reader think “Cool, I need to get this.”

Consider using the “Captions” and/or “add note” feature for each image you upload. Personally, I like the “add note” option. Each image will automatically enlarge as you “mouse over” and the text of your “note” automatically appears. No clicking required. Captions, on the other hand, require the user to click into a separate section to see the images in sequence.

Expand the Cursor Area to the maximum, when using the “add note.” The Amazon default is very small, like for only a tiny section of the image. I expanded mine to the maximum so that the text note pops up easily on any mouse over, even on the edge.

Mind the number of Images. Apparently, Amazon will allow a lot, well into double-digits, and this may work well for many books. For me, less is probably more, unless there is indispensable salesmanship added with each extra photo. I like 5 or fewer. The first image will automatically be your book cover, so there is room for 4 more.


For the first example, I’ll just refer you to Laura’s. Her how-to wedding book’s first row includes the cover and these four images: 1) a glowing bride, evoking the books theme, 2) the text on a Kindle, underscoring its availability as an eBook, 3) a visual summary of “As seen on”, emphasizing a validating media presence, and 4) her 30-day logo, reinforcing practicality and her own Brand. A very nice supplemental sales mix.

For a second example featuring a different approach to this space, you might look at this traditionally published spiritual memoir, Surprised by Oxford, written by my wife, Carolyn Weber. As you can see, we used several different types of images, including a screen shot of the books opening poem and first line, along with an accompanying note reminding that this 1st chapter is available as a free PDF download. You will also see that the note on each photo includes a short quotation and page number from the book. We tried to pick images and quotations that highlight prose that sings, along with key themes in the book which hopefully draw the reader in.

Take advantage of this tool to give your prospective reader that additional visual that might encourage them to buy. I would love to hear your comments and suggestions on improving the use of this tool. Send us a link and tell us about it!