Writers in the Storm

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August 4, 2023

Guide To A+ Amazon Content That Sells

by Kathleen Baldwin

I intended to write an entirely different article for you… but I needed to get my A+ Amazon content set up for my newest release. The trouble is I’ve set up A+ content before and wasn’t thrilled with the results. So, I decided to figure out what kind of A+ content actually sells books—not just what looks pretty or graphically pleasing. In short, I wanted to nail down what works.

I hunted the net and came up with bupkis. Oh, the sizes are all out there, suggestions of what to put in each size box, but no one is studying what works. So, that is why you are reading this article today. If you’re just looking for the sizes. Here are the basics sizes: Logo Image: 600 x 180, image Header with Text: 970 x 600 (recommended) or 1464 x 600, standard 3 Images with Text: 300 x 300

You can find more about sizes on Amazon. There are also tables and other goodies might want to investigate. And Amazon will tell you the rules.

Yes, there are rules:

  • Don’t use any pricing language in your content. No words like “affordable” or “discounted.”
  • Don’t use customer reviews.
  • You are allowed four (4 only) endorsement quotes from well-known publications or public figures. (Although you’ll see that rule broken by publishers in an example we will discuss today)
  • Do not use time sensitive info. No wording like “latest,” “new,” or messages related to holidays.

Those are the technical basics. I’m here to discuss what types of A+ content sells books. To do that, I analyzed A+ content from Amazon’s bestseller charts. These are well-written compelling reads. REMEMBER: Craft comes first—promotion comes second. There’s no sense promoting a book that is going to disappoint your readers.

Example One: Amazon's #1 Bestseller

Amazon entry for the Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros shows the cover  and part of the book page showing the star rating (4.9) and that there are 21,173 ratings. Subtitle is that it's Book 1 of 2: The Empyrean. And that it's #1 on the Amazon Charts.

Let’s start by taking a look at #1 bestseller, The Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros.

You can see by her ratings this is a well-written, well book. So why did her publisher even need to put up A+ content? To increase their already wonderful sales. That’s why. And that is also the reason why you and I should put some up.

But what content is best for your book?

That depends on YOUR reader. We will discuss that as we go along.

Take a look at the content her publisher, Entangled, chose to put on the book page.


They mimicked the colors from the cover. Most publishers use colors or images from the book. Entangled also cleverly chose quotes that highlight the story content.

Entangled chose to use them in reverse. They made the black dominant and employed accents of gold foil. The heavy black and luminous gold elicits a strong tense battle-like feeling, and the dragons scream fantasy.

The review quotes are short, convincing, and descriptive of the story.

If you are a fantasy reader in love with epic battles and dragons, do you think this graphic might entice you to pick up this book?


Yes, it would. And it has. 

Let’s analyze a book from an entirely different genre…

Screenshot of the Amazon page for Happy Place Hardcover by Emily Henry with 4.3 stars and 26,747 ratings. It's #5 on this week's Amazon charts.

Look at Emily Henry’s Happy Place, a fun beach-read romance that hit the charts at a stellar #5. It’s no surprise that the publisher used the peppy pink from the cover for their A+ content.

But they did a few things differently. The broad pink banner box is a story log line, a very inviting one. Anyone who reads that line will instantly know they’re in for a relaxing fun romance. The image is great, too. The smaller boxes are in bright happy colors and include review quotes an invitation to spend the summer with Emily Henry.

Screen shot of the A+ content for Happy Place. On top is a column wide banner in pink with cartoonish drawings of a man in a floating inner tube opposite a woman in the other corner in a yellow floating inner tube.  The blurb in the center reads "There are some places you fall in love with Over and Over Again. Below it are three equal sized boxes a blue one on each end with a pink one in the center. The pink center one includes the invite to spend the summer with the author.
Photo of a phone with the same A+ content as above this time it appears as four images one stacked below the other.


The smaller square boxes will appear bigger when viewed on a phone. Notice how the big beautiful pink banner shrinks down and look less important on the phone. Still cute and fun, but it is a drastically different effect than when viewed on the phone as opposed to a desktop monitor.

Take that into consideration when you plan your content. Ahem—this is where knowing YOUR readers comes in handy. Knowing your readers makes a huge difference when marketing and building your fan base. Yes, I know, I rant about this all the time, so I will simply reiterate your readers are your most important allies in this business—study them. It pays off. Need help figuring out who your readers are and what they like? Check out my article on it here at WITS: Who Are YOUR Readers and Why Does It Matter?

For example, according to my webmaster, 50% of my website visitors view my website via their phone. That is a strong indication that they also check out Amazon pages on their phones, right?

Yeah. So…?

So… I ought to be cognizant of that when planning my A+ material.

Another example

Here’s an example of how a different publisher handles the A+ sizing conversion issue. In the same genre as the previous romance. At the writing of this article Lessons in Chemistry had soared to the tip-top peak of Amazon charts in the highly coveted #1 position.

Screen shot of Lessons in Chemistry book page showing the cover, the 4.5 star review with 171,972 ratings and #1 on the Amazon Charts this week.

Bonnie Garmus’s publisher, Random House, chose to make sure all those cute A+ square boxes were readable at the same size even on a teeny-tiny iPhone like mine. Here it is on a desktop view and the phone view…

The phone view of the same A+ Content but as six individual boxes one below the other on the phone.
Screenshot of the A+ content for Lessons in chemistry. It shows three equal-sized boxes in two separate rows on the desktop view

My only objection to this is that scrolling through six big quote boxes on a phone might begin to feel tedious to some readers. What do you think about that?

Here’s another solution…

Atria, the publisher of This Tender Land considered Krueger’s phone viewers and chose to stay with the square boxes. However, they only set up four boxes for the reader to scroll through. IMO a good choice.

Amazon book page for This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger shows 4.5 stars with 37,585 ratings for the kindle book.
A+ Content for This tender land shows a portion of the cover in pale pastels as the background with a circular blur of white in the center with black text over that.

And I also like that they included a visual background and review quotes that give me a strong sense of the story. This four-box layout is more appealing to me, but I can’t argue with the fact that Lessons in Chemistry is selling VERY well despite their six box review quote scroll, although to be fair Oprah touted her book. The question is what A+ content sold these other author’s books?  AND is that what will sell your readers on your book?

Weigh in. What do you think?

Here’s another concept.

Granted Kingsolver won a Pulitzer for this novel and Oprah made this one a Book Club selection. So yes, that ensures a TON of sales. Let’s see what we can learn from her publisher’s A+ content decisions…

Amazon book page for Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver shows 4.6 star rating with 45,453 ratings for the kindle book.
Photo of a phone with the A+ content for Demon Copperhead showing four equal, edge-to-edge banners in dark blue that highlight the prizes won, reviewers quotes and that Barbara Kingsolver has written more books

Interestingly, Kingsolver’s publisher, Harper, went with four equal size content Standard Image & Dark Text Overlay 900x300 banners. The results are fairly pleasing even on the phone. Check it out. When it is all equal sized banners it doesn’t feel as disproportionate the way a banner blended with squares does.

Visually, whether using squares or banners, identical sizing implies that each of the panels are equally important.

I like this layout, but IMO they tried to fit too much on the middle two panels. I like seeing the author’s photo, but the print is so small it’s nearly impossible to read on the phone. Granted my iPhone is fairly small, and I’m not a big-time publisher like Harper. They certainly know their stuff. Even so, no matter which layout you choose, I strongly recommend using a print size that people can easily read even on their phone.

Even if most of your readers are PC people and you choose a desktop friendly layout, don’t risk losing the few potential readers who might be on their phones. Select a font they can easily read even when on a small cell phone.

One last example...

and then I’m going to leave you alone to make your own decisions.

Take a look at Scott Pratt’s final book in a bestselling series. Pratt was a hybrid author like me, and he has an impressive 5 million copies sold, and his legal thriller, Last Resort, a Joe Dillard series novel written by Scott Pratt and J.D. Pratt, is independently published and doing extremely well. At the time of my writing this article it ranked #1 in Legal Thrillers. He used the entire A+ arsenal very effectively.

Amazon page for Last Restort by Scott Prat that shows 4.6 stars with 3,314 ratings and is a #1 best seller in legal thrillers
A+ Content for Last resort makes five rows. Top two and bottom two are equal sized banners with three equal sized squares in the same width in the center of this spread.

This layout includes almost everything—an intriguing log line in the second banner, and images that give you a feel for the content. That’s very important.  Note the review quotes in the squares, and he wisely included a series testimonial on the third banner, and a view of the entire series in the last banner. I love that idea.

If you are like me and trying to decide what A+ content works best for your book and your readers, I encourage you to look at this book page and other book pages on both your phone and big screen. See what you think of how each of the content structures scrolls.

Observe your emotional responses to the content. Look for content that excites you within your genre.

What did I end up doing?

Um… Well, I waffled between four squares and four wide banner-width frames. To see what I chose, check out my latest book. Sanctuary for Seers. It did garner a #1 new Release ribbon in its category, but I’m not convinced the A+ material is speaking persuasively enough to prospective readers as sales dropped off after the first 30 days. So, what do you think about all this?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on all this. WITS authors are smart and savvy. What are YOU doing with your A+ content?

* * * * * *

About Kathleen

Kathleen Baldwin is a Wall Street Journal, 1# Barnes & Noble, and Amazon bestselling author. She writes stories woven with rich colors and sparkling threads of love, humor, and light. Her books have delighted readers around the globe, with more than 650,000 copies sold worldwide—a Japanese publisher even licensed one of her books to make into a manga, and her Stranje House series is under option for film.

22 comments on “Guide To A+ Amazon Content That Sells”

    1. Hi Laura! Thank you. It would be great to see you in our neck of the woods :). I'm glad you found the article helpful. I forgot to say that when you set up the A= material there is a little waiting period while they approve it.

  1. Thanks for including Scott Pratt's independently published novel - it is good to see indies represented in the examples of 'how to do things.'

    Often, competing with an entire graphic design company or department at a big publisher can feel like taking on the Four Horsemen.

    Producing A+ content goes on the list.

    1. Great comment, Alicia!
      I exchanged emails with Scott's very gracious son, and they did their content themselves.
      I wish I'd mentioned that text boxes like the ones done for Lessons in Chemistry can be done rather easily in Canva or BookBrush. You can do this! And lots of indy authors are setting up their own A+ Content.

      1. I CAN learn how to do all these marketing things.

        Many times tips just don't seem to apply to mainstream fiction, because I have this sneaking suspicion that mainstream fiction READERS:
        1) go to Amazon to buy inexpensively, but don't go to search,
        2) prefer to have their reading material vetted by traditional sources, and are either anti-indie in general or don't even think of it.

        FB adds are a possibility, BookBub is my goal, but now Amazon A+ content looks worth the effort (I'm disabled - time with a functional brain and energy are scarce resources).

        I keep getting lost when trying to figure out the FB ads, BB isn't up to me, but A+ content IS.

        And I love your comment that "We can ask ourselves what images quotes and log lines will most help us tell the story of our book.” Because THAT I can do - there are many choices.

  2. What a smart move! Studying the A+ content in bestsellers. So grateful for this as I'm planning my A+ content at this time. One of the things I was hoping to find was other books showing the series. Lo and behold, you included one! This post is a keeper and a template for my own research in my genre. Thank you!

    1. Hi Lynette! Thank you! How wise of you to study what the trend is for A+ Content in your particular genre. I look forward to seeing the choices you make on it.
      After doing this I've concluded that the pivotal point is to reflect and highlight the essence of your novel. It's like a visual blurb, right? It can't do everything, but it needs to entice them with the story's elements, characters, tropes, theme, and ambiance.

      Let me know what you come up with. I'm considering revising mine to make it even more pointed.

    1. Hooray! Go for it! And if you have any questions I don't pretend to have all the answers but I'll do my best. Have fun! And may you A+ Content make your story shine.

    1. Hi Denise!
      Thanks! I hope it helps you give A+ content a try.
      Happy writing!
      Oh, that reminds me. We can think of A+ as a different form of storytelling. Writers have an innate desire to tell stories. We can ask ourselves what images quotes and log lines will most help us tell the story of our book.

    1. Hi Lori!
      Awwwh, you’re so sweet. LOL but you know the truth about me and knowledgeable is a nice way of saying obsessive compulsive about researching stuff like this.
      The irony is I’m not quite sure I’ve stumbled across the magic bullet yet. I think capturing the essence of our novel and conveying that through image and text is the clear winner… but maybe there’s a way to do it that hasn’t been done yet.
      Maybe making the visuals more character driven. Idk ideas are percolating.

  3. I LOVE what you ended up doing! And thanks for all this great information. I will be thinking about how to incorporate it as I updated my book covers and release a new novel soon.

    1. Thanks, Julie! Please know you can reach out to me if you have any questions. I'd love to see one of us do something super innovative, and you are just the woman to do that!

      1. I meant super innovative with their A+ content. LOL
        And thanks for the compliment on my content. I'm not sure I've quite got it where I want it yet. I'm still on the hunt for inspiration and ideas. I want to make mine really out-of-the-box snappy. Something that slaps the book's marrow down on that book page with an unmistakable graphic splat.

  4. Thank you so much for this amazing post. I know I'll be referring to it over and over. I've only dipped my toe into A+ Content, mostly because I've wanted to do exactly what you did here before committing. So thank you for doing that research for me!!! You rock. And your choice of A+ Content is beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I'm chuckling because I know you would've researched it similarly--my dear logical and methodical friend. I'm glad to have saved you a little time. I am convinced making it character or high-concept focused is pivotal.
      If you learn something more about it, please let me know. Or post it here.

  5. Biggest issue- you have to sell through KDP - and as many authors are figuring out- not worth the risk. Amazon can shut down accounts with little to no explanation . Your books are gone and so are your royalties. It would be worth it if they offered it on Author Central to all authors.

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