Monday, December 25, 2023

Selecting the Correct Keywords and Categories for Your Book


 Not all marketing people are writers, but all writers must learn to be marketers.

Joanne Kraft

The key to marketing your book is knowing which categories and keywords apply and are the most important to your book.  Without these keywords and phrases your book won't get very far on Amazon's search engine, or any search engine for that matter

In today's digital world, your understanding of metadata, search engine optimisation and algorithms will carry you a long way once you start to master them, and know what they mean.  Amazon's search engine isn't that far apart from Google, in that it needs keywords to find whatever the customer is looking for.

Picking the Right Category For Your Book on Kindle Direct Publishing

If you walked into a physical bookstore you'd be faced with all of the normal book categories such as:

  • History
  • Science
  • Literature
  • Science Fiction
  • Romance
  • Horror

Amazon is no different, it will allow you a choice of three categories per book.  This is the primary marketplace where readers can find your book.  You get this along with seven keywords to help people discover your books.  

Your main aim should be to aim to be at the top of the pile on the bestseller list, or at least in the top five.  

Not Sure Where To Start?

If you're really unsure, look at all of the authors you know about and look them up on Amazon.  Go down their product page and look at their Best Sellers Rank.  You'll find three categories, then you can start looking for them when you're ready to publish your book.

Choosing Your Keywords

These are the words customers used that reflect the content of a book.   It's important to note that both your categories and keywords will help rank your book more highly if chosen properly and with thought. 

You can use different kinds of keywords:

  • Setting - Colonial America
  • Character type - Veteran, single dad
  • Character role - strong female lead
  • Plot theme - Revenge, coming of age
  • Story tone - dystopian, feel-good

These were some examples taken from the KDP topic help guide.  

Amazon also provides a list of keywords you should avoid:

  1. Information covered in your book's metadata (contributor's, title)
  2. Words already mentioned in your book categories (19th Century History)
  3. Subjective claims about quality (best novel ever)
  4. Time sensitive statements (sale, available now)
  5. Information most common items in category (book)
  6. Spelling errors.
  7. Variants of spacing, punctuation, capitilisation, and pluralisation (80GB, 80 GB, computer, computers).
  8. Anything misrepresentative like the name of an author not associated with your book.  
  9. Brands you don't own or are unauthorised to use.
  10. Quotation marks in search terms. 
  11. Amazon program names (Kindle Unlimited or KDP Select).
  12. HTML tags.

Again all of the above information was taken directly from the KDP help topic on keywords and should be looked over thoroughly before you start inputting your keywords.

Useful keyword  tips:

  • Your book title, subtitle and description will be used in the algorithm.
  • You can vary your keyword phrases.
  • Look at what Amazon already has on its search engine.
  • Start making your keyword list. 

How To Use Your Book's Metadata to Sell Your Book

Metadata What Is It?

Metadata is commonly referred to as the data that describes other data, and helps sort and recognise common parts of the information it describes.  

Here is a list of the most common data elements:

  1. Tags
  2. Categories
  3. Title
  4. Description
  5. Who the document was created by
  6. Who and when the document was last modified
  7. Who accessed or updated document

How Metadata Can Help You Sell Your Books

You can improve your metadata with any self-publishing platform you use:

  • Barnes & Noble
  • Apple
  • Smashwords
  • Kindle Direct Publishing

Metadata Is an Important Book Marketing Tool

There are simple things you can do before you hit the publish button that can help improve your metadata.

  1. Choose a catchy, simple title for your book.
  2. Add a subtitle if you can.
  3. Use an eye-catching headline in your book description.
  4. Delve deeper into the specific categories that Kindle Direct Publishing provides.  
  5. Try to use bullet points in your description.

The Power of Metadata

A few simple changes can make or break your book sales.  That's how important this information is to you being on the best seller list on Amazon, and making money from your books.

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