WRITING TIPS: JULY 2019

SELECTING KEYWORDS

While setting up to publish your book on Amazon, you’re allowed to select up to seven keywords or phrases to use to help readers find your book in a search. There are a lot of books written on the subject of keywords, but I will give a brief explanation of what they are and why they are important to getting readers to notice your book.

Keywords are words or phrases that readers may use to look up books they want to read or subjects they want to learn more about. For instance, a reader may type in the words “horror novel” into the Amazon or Google search bar, then the most popular searches or relevant searches related to those words will show up. Some readers might stop at the first suggestion, and others may refine their search even more, maybe typing in something like: cosmic horror fiction. So you want to use those seven keywords carefully, using words or phrases that are closest to the exact genre of your book.

You will have to read Amazon’s Terms of Service to make sure that you’re not using keywords that aren’t allowed – like book titles and author names. If you want to target certain books or authors, you can do that with AMS ads and Facebook ads, but not with the keywords you use to publish your book. But you can still come up with some good keywords. If you’ve written a haunted house book, the word haunted house might be a good keyword to use. Or the word haunted, or haunting, or the phrase haunted house fiction. There are many words and phrases to choose from.

So how do you come up with the best seven keywords? One thing to keep in mind is to try not to use the same words that are in your title, genre category, or description because these words may already come up in searches related to your book. So, once you’ve ruled out those keywords, and forbidden words, you can start looking for the best keywords to use.

Here are some suggestions for finding the right keywords:

You could get a piece of paper and a pen and just brainstorm. Think of what your book is really about and what readers might type in the suggestion bar while looking for a book like yours. You could come up with a list of hundreds of keywords (and make sure you keep this list because you can use a lot of these words and phrases in your AMS ads if you choose to utilize those). You can only use seven keywords and phrases at a time, so pick the best seven without repeating words from you title, selected genres, and description.

Another tool you can use is the Amazon search bar. You type in a word and see what Amazon suggests. For instance, you type in the word horror then suggestions will pop down like the phrases: horror books or horror fiction. You could go through the alphabet using a core word like horror. Type in the word horror (or whatever word you’re using) and then the letter a and see what is suggested. Then the letter b, then the letter c, and so on. And again, make sure you write these suggestions down and keep the list in case you need to use it later.

Another way to find keywords is to use software such as KDP Rocket (and I think the name of the software has been changed to Publisher Rocket). I haven’t used this software or others like it yet, so I can’t really comment on it, but I’ve heard good things about it.

Now that you’ve selected your keywords, you’ll want to keep track of your sales data. I would suggest keeping track of your sales daily, writing down your sales and page reads, and then keeping track monthly using your monthly reports. As you keep track of your sales data, make sure you note if you’ve changed keywords, descriptions, covers, or had any kind of promotions or used any kind of advertising. By keeping track of your sales data daily, you can see what’s working better than others. If you decide to change your seven keywords or phrases (which you can do any time), you can tell if the changes are helping with more sales or if sales are decreasing.

So get your keywords list created, and when you’re ready to publish your book you’ll have them available.

Hope this helps someone out there.

Until next time . . .

 

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