Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How Indie Authors Pick Keywords @kayelleallen #MFRWauthor #authortips

 A Romance for Christmas 
Today's post on Marketing for Romance Writers Marketing blog is by the founder, Kayelle Allen.

If you are an independently published author (also called self published, self pubbed, indie, hybrid author, and entrepreneurial author), you know the necessity of picking the right keywords for your books. If you are just getting started on this journey, here are a few tips to help you choose the right keywords. 

What's Your Story?

You must start by knowing what your book is about. That sounds silly but not all authors know. You should be able to relate the topic of your book in one or two sentences. I'll use my best selling holiday romance, A Romance for Christmas, as an example. It's about two people who have lost their spouses and are alone at Christmas. They meet, are attracted to one another, and must decide if they're ready to risk falling in love again.

Have the blurb and tagline for your book on hand and consider the words you used in that. Your keywords should be used within the blurb if possible. If not, you might need to consider a rewrite or tweak.

Is Anyone Searching for Your Genre

I decided what keywords to use by researching them on Amazon. I went to the site's homepage, put my cursor in the search box, and began typing in keywords that I thought were relevant. I would see what suggested things showed up in the drop down search listing and jot them down in a brainstorm-type list.

I didn't have to type the whole word. Just part of it. When I typed in "Christmas roma" (without the quotes) I got "christmas romance" "christmas romance ebooks" "christmas romance movies" and more.

"Christmas roma" search
Then, type those keywords fully and see how many come up. Before you decide on a keyword, you want to be sure people are searching for it. "Christmas romance" for Kindle on Amazon brings up about 8000 books. That's a huge category but it's also the main genre for the book, so it was necessary. I used other keywords to narrow it. If it was less than 200 I didn't use it. If it was over 3000 I didn't use it. I used phrases that stayed in the midrange between those two.

You can have up to 7 keywords on Amazon. Keywords can be phrases, and aren't limited to single words. For example: urban fantasy, science fiction fantasy, new adult romance, young adult historical romance, and so on.

Doing the research to see what others are searching for will narrow the keywords that help readers find your book.

What Not to Use

Don't use your name, because that's automatically searchable on any of the book selling site, since you are the author. Don't waste your keyword resources with words that don't fit your genre, thinking that will draw new readers to your book. It won't work -- if you mislead readers, they will not be pleased. Be as specific as possible while still using words that are being used on the book's site (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.).

Once you have your keywords, record them with your blurb, buy links, and other info for you book, and use them on your website, guest blog spots, and elsewhere.

What I Used

For A Romance for Christmas, here's the tagline and blurb used on Amazon:
A cop at the door on Christmas Eve brings an unexpected gift. A sweet holiday romance showcasing love, loss, and the spirit of giving. It's Christmas Eve, and the end of a year in which everything Dara loves has been lost. Everything but her little girl and a fierce determination to survive. When a cop brings Christmas to her door, he brings another gift she never expected to get.
My keywords are:
  • Christmas romance
  • holiday romance
  • sweet christmas romance
  • sweet holiday romance
  • sweet contemporary christmas
  • alone at christmas

Did It Work?

Yes, it did. A Romance for Christmas was in the top 100 on Amazon for 3 months. I'm convinced most of that was due to A) a good story, B) a good cover, and C) good keywords. It jumped to #18 within a day of release. I promoted it heavily on Twitter and by guest blogging. I shared it only 2-3 times on Facebook. It's now June, and the book is still selling 1-3 copies a day.

In summary, to pick good keywords, see if others are searching for your genre, how many are searching for it, and decide which best fits your book. Try to include the keywords in your blurb for the book. Research each before you decide.

I adapted this tip from author Travis Luedke, who's a member of ASMSG (Author Social Media Support Group). He's a NY Times and USA Today best selling author.

Feel free to share your experience on how you choose keywords. Did you use another method? Please let me know what you think in the comments.
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Kayelle Allen, author of A Romance for Christmas
A cop at the door on Christmas Eve brings an unexpected gift.
Amazon http://amzn.to/1wpW8qE ~ Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/1wpYfL2