Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Business of Writing: Defining Keywords for Your Book

Underground logo by transportation systems in London
c2012 by nanka-photo, Depositphotos ID, 9911981
As I mentioned to an author-friend recently, there is no "magic bullet" formula for getting your book noticed out of the millions of titles that are published each year.

The right keywords, however, can help your work float to the top of potential customers' search-results pages.

I attended a panel at MarsCon (Williamsburg, VA) in January, where I learned that I could stuff the "seven keywords" field available via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) with huge multi-word phrases.

The "phrases" don't even have to make sense as long as the words are applicable to the book and don't violate rules such as using a celebrity's name to imply an endorsement.

This was exciting news, since most of my novels contain elements from several genres, and redefining their keywords became one of the first tasks I assayed after I got home from MarsCon.

What the presenter neglected to mention was the 350-character limit that I bumped up against in KDP. The keyword limit is even shorter in Createspace—five keywords (rather than the seven that KDP allows) of no more than 25 characters apiece. In Nook Press you're limited to just 100 characters total.

Still, you are doing yourself and your book a favor by stuffing in as many keywords as each e-book publishing platform allows.

Not sure where to start?

Amazon's article "Make Your Book More Discoverable with Keywords" is a good general "best practices" reference. Another general reference, "Selecting Browse Categories", includes links to keyword tables by Amazon category, to help you decide how to land your book in one or more subcategories. Here are a few category tables to give you an idea:
Don't be shy about pulling keywords from categories that you might not otherwise think of for your novel, as long as they fit!

Keyword definition is not all fun and games, however. This article by Sarah Arrow on the Sark eMedia blog lists actions that make your keywords irrelevant. It's geared toward bloggers, but the "Know Your Niche" and "Know your Audience" tips are essential for book authors.

If you're struggling with understanding your audience, Georgina Roy offers "5 Ways to Learn About Your Target Audience for Your Book" on e-Books India blog. The title is a bit of a misnomer, since #5 is geared more toward what an author should do once s/he has exercised tips 1-4, but Ms. Roy's advice provides a good starting point.

Best of luck in your book writing and your keyword writing!


Enter this great Rafflecopter giveaway
for a signed copy of KASIWC and more!


All this month, you are invited to…

— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Follow Kim on Pinterest
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on any page of The Maze, especially if you have done the Twitter, Pinterest, and/or YouTube follow

and each action this month is good for one chance to win a copy of any of Kim's e-books. 

Please enter often, and good luck!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Scribble a note on the wall of the Maze so you can find your way out again... ;-)