Increasing the “Look Inside” Preview on Amazon

Look Inside the BookOne of the best marketing tools self-published authors have is the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. If things go well, your title, cover, and book description will catch the attention of a reader who eagerly clicks “Look Inside” to read a sample of your writing, and they see…

…nothing more than your copyright page and table of contents? Well, that’s not very helpful, is it? I’ve honestly never known anyone to buy a book based on the “Look Inside” preview of a copyright page. This is especially problematic if you’re hoping to send your book out for reviews or list it on a site that vets books for quality (ahem…IU, anyone?). From formatting to tone, to grammar usage and typos, the first pages of your story show it all. But what if they aren’t displayed?

Kindle Direct Publishing sets the “Look Inside” feature at 10 percent. For a novella, short story, or children’s book, that typically isn’t enough to see much, if any, of the actual story. One way of dealing with this issue is to move the copyright and table of contents to the back of the book, getting it out of the way so the preview starts at the beginning of the story.

While this approach will certainly work, it can also cause problems. Some sites, such as Apple, require a working table of contents. Reviewers and vetters know this and will notice if your book doesn’t appear to have one. They have no way of knowing it’s been moved to the back, and may think you simply didn’t include one.

A better solution?  Bump up the percentage Amazon displays in the “Look Inside.” This isn’t something we can do on our own, but it is something KDP will do if asked.

First, sign into your KDP account and go to your Bookshelf. Down at the very bottom of the page, in tiny gray font, is a link to contact KDP.

KDP Bookshelf - Contact KDP
Click to enlarge

Clicking that link brings up this page:

What is the problem screenUnder “What is the Problem?” click “Product Page” (red arrow). Our question isn’t included in their list, so find “Or, ask your question here” (black arrow). My question is, “Increase percentage of Look Inside?”

Type your issue into the box (green arrow). Be sure to include your specific title and ASIN, explain the problem, and ask if KDP will bump the percentage up to 20 percent instead of 10.

I’ve done this for all of my short stories and they’ve always responded within 24 hours with the increase in place. I then always click to answer their “Did we solve your problem?” question, thanking them for their help because, hey, they didn’t have to do it, and a little appreciation goes a long way.

Amazon Look Inside for Appalachian Justice
What your “Look Inside” should look like.

Author: Melinda Clayton

Melinda Clayton is the author of the Cedar Hollow series, as well as a self-publishing guide. Clayton has published numerous articles and short stories in various print and online magazines. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education Administration and is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado. Lear more about Melinda at her Amazon author page

38 thoughts on “Increasing the “Look Inside” Preview on Amazon”

  1. Thank you. And I have heard that there is an option on Createspace that allows you to tailor what shoppers see. I need to check that out, too. I wonder if that would transpose to Amazon as well.

      1. Rosanne Dingli posted this on The Writers Tools. “Here’s one tool we’ve all forgotten – Createspace previews! Lots of readers go in there to read excerpts, usually taken out of the middle of a book, where the Amazon “look inside” facility can’t reach. Go to your CS dashboard, look left, and click on “Manage Previews” to make your own.
        Easy peesy!”

          1. It never fails to amaze me how much very useful advice one can pick up from IU. So pleased I got on board! Thanks for all the wisdom you all share. 🙂

    1. Interesting thought, Kathy. Smashwords offered an adjustable preview. I haven’t uploaded anything in a while, so I’m not sure if they still do.

  2. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I’m pleased to say the Look Inside for each of my books shows a reasonable amount, although I also have leading chapters posted on my own website. Yvonne’s suggestion about Create Space is helpful too, and given the way Amazon’s influence is changing the publishing world, it’s one worth spending a little time playing with and not ignoring.

  3. I learn something every day. Sadly, I normally manage to forget three other things, but that’s another issue entirely. Thank you, Melinda. I did not know this option existed.

  4. Thanks for this very helpful article! I went and checked my two books. The Kindle version of Look Inside isn’t working for one of them, so I followed your guide to the contact page and sent them a query. It’s working on the other book and on the paperback (CreateSpace). FWIW, I did pretty normal front matter for the paper version of my novel, and the Look Inside gets well into the first chapter. No table of contents, a one-page Acknowledgement.. And I have a one-page copyright front matter for my digital editions, which leaves plenty of room for a good look at the content.
    Thanks again!

  5. Clearly, I am the sad late bloomer here. I panicked when I first saw 10% of my novella available through the Look Inside option. I actually asked Amazon to remove it. They did, and since then, I’ve heard many say how advantageous it is. I feel so silly now, but at the time, all I could think was how my words, words I slaved over, were out there for free. Even with the front matter, ten percent of my novella took readers to the end of Chapter One.

    So… now that Amazon has so graciously removed the look inside feature from my books, would you still suggest I ask them to replace it?

    1. So many steps and feelings along the writing/publishing route are surprising in the beginning, aren’t they? I remember the first time I saw my novel available on Amazon I felt as if I were standing naked in the middle of town square.

      But there’s a good chance that by leaving out the “Look Inside,” you may be losing readers. Readers are sometimes uncomfortable taking a chance on a new or less-known author if they can’t see a sample of the book before buying. My first novel, which is also my longest, shows three chapters in the Look Inside. My hope is that someone invested enough to read three chapters will then want to read the rest.

      I wonder if you could compromise with the Look Inside until you get more comfortable with the idea of having your words freely available. I don’t know how flexible KDP is with decreasing instead of increasing, but it’s worth a shot to ask them to set it lower than 10% – say 5% or 7%. The worst they can do is say “no.” 🙂

      1. Great advice, thank you. I will ask them about decreasing the amount shown. You’re right, too, about readers being hesitant with new authors. I don’t blame them, I just need to become more comfortable with having a sample of the work available that way. And since Goodreads now automatically offers previews on all books, (at this time only for US accounts, though they’ve said they will expand the program), it only makes sense to have it available on Amazon, too.

        “standing naked in the middle of town square” about sums it up. 🙂

  6. With Amazon and Goodreads being basically under the same ownership, I think it is inevitable that what one offers in Review and Look Inside facilities the other will do soon afterwards. It’s just a matter of market politics which one gets in first.
    It is interesting to note, however, that if you post a review on it doesn’t automatically appear on or as the different entities only swap data on goods for sale, not goods sold. Reviews come in the goods sold category, so if you want a review you’re posting to appear on both sides of the Atlantic it is best to post it on both sites. Similarly, it can be worth asking people who post reviews about your books to do this. Most are only too willing, if you say Thank You.

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