How Amazon Search Terms Can Help Your Books

Monday, August 19, 2013


Ever notice that when you’ve edited your work until your eyeballs hurt, you want to just give up? But, as always, you keep moving forward until you know when the book is done.

When I get to that point, I find ways to distract myself, which usually involves reading and research. What I’ve discovered this time around is the importance of matching my blurbs to keyword searches that people do when they’re looking for books to buy. 

I know this is some obvious stuff and I’ve read about this a time or two before, but I’ve been too lazy to do anything about it. This time, I decided to actually try and see if matching keywords works. So, what did I do? I followed some instructions that basically was geared toward Amazon’s search engines finding my books, based on the categories in which they’re listed. 

I did it with Christine’s Odyssey, but it was a little harder to match certain keywords to the book blurb. Still, I got results. The following day, the book came up at #81 in the Children’s Fiction category and sank into obscurity, thanks to the lack of any promotional activity. Anyway, I digress. 

I looked at the seven keywords I used for Distraction, which are Domestic Abuse, Relationships, Romance, Jamaica, Women’s Fiction, African-American, Multicultural, and Drama. Then, I looked at my blurb (which isn’t bone dry, but could be a bit meatier) below. 


Three Jamaican women walk a tightrope of decisions when their lives are derailed by blackmail, deceit and infidelity. 

JUSTINE CHARLES, sensible and self-contained, battles an addiction which could destroy her marriage, reputation, and relationship with her daughter.

DIONNE JONES, an aggressive go-getter, takes risks that cut a trail of devastation through her family and business.

KYRA MILLS, struggling single mother, is crippled by debt, bad judgment and destructive choices.

Can two of the long-time friends survive startling revelations involving their partners?  And will the other push her obsession to the point of danger? 

Based on what I read, my aim is supposed to be fitting as many of my seven keywords as possible into my blurb. As naturally as possible, of course and I’m allowed to use other material, such as reviews, etc.  So what did I come up with?  See below. 

Three Jamaican women walk a tightrope of decisions when their lives are derailed by blackmail, deceit and infidelity.

JUSTINE CHARLES—sensible and self-contained—is sidetracked by romance outside of her marriage. Despite living with domestic abuse, she battles an addiction that threatens to destroy her home, reputation and relationship with her daughter.

DIONNE JONES, an aggressive go-getter, is obsessed with financial freedom. Her fixation leads her down a path that few women have the courage to tread and cuts a trail of devastation through her family life and business.

KYRA MILLS—struggling single mother—is crippled by debt, bad judgment and destructive choices. The drama never ends, thanks to a liaison with a man determined not to let her go, even if it means putting her life at risk.

Can two of the long-time friends survive startling revelations involving their partners? And will the other push her obsession to the point of danger?

PRAISE FOR DISTRACTION

J. L. Campbell’s Distraction is a read as enticing as the honey and caramel-skinned feisty women whose intertwined dilemmas are spiced with dialect and pinched with a generous helping of tropical Jamaica.
                                                         ~ Caroline Kellems, The Coffee Diary

Distraction is an exciting, unforgettable story of love, betrayal and secrets.
                                                         ~ Diana Hockley, The Naked Room and Celibate Mouse

Distraction is a fascinating glimpse into the lives of three women, each with their own distinct set of problems. I fell in love with the exotic Jamaican setting which seemed to me, another character. Campbell’s writing is compelling and she doesn’t fail to deliver with Distraction.
                                                         ~ Jeanne Bannon, Invisible

Distraction is an insightful look into the hearts of three women who break society's rules in search of happiness and completion.
                                             ~ Nancy DeMarco, Finding Sara

Okay, so I forgot I’d used reviews on the back cover of the paperback. I dug through my email until I found those and added them in. 

I’ve put the keyword in both samples in bold and you’ll notice that I’ve used more of them in sample two – the ones I could fit in that didn’t sound clunky. 

I did this on Sunday afternoon and it didn’t take me more than 15 minutes to tweak the blurb. Long story short? I checked less than an hour ago and Distraction is showing up at #76 in the African-American Women’s Fiction category.  

See screenshots below. Note that the blurb on Amazon has not changed from the original version as at 11:20 am today, however, the Amazon search engine is obviously at work. BTW, I did this while logged in from the Amazon Author Central dashboard.



So d’you think based on the results—more visibility and possibly more book sales—that I should go ahead and take the time to do this with my other books? If you said yes, then we’re on the same page. Pun intended.

Have fun with yours!

35 comments:

  1. Keywords in the blurb and reviews - never would've thought of that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Takes me a long while for things to sink in, but when they do, I'm on it. :)

      Delete
  2. Great information, thank you!

    Thanks, also for the comment on Alex's blog this morning. Craft fairs, art fairs, and yes even antique or flea markets are a great place to sell books. Some more so than others. But a smile eases the competition!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smile, and the world smiles with you. A good approach, I think. We don't have a lot of fairs here, but yes, I can see the value of having books on hand for potential customers.

      Delete
  3. Love the advice, Joy! My sales have been slacking, but most of that has to do with lack of promotion on my part.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same cry here, Susan. I've been lax in the promo department, but my days seem ever so full.

      Delete
  4. Interesting stuff. This is all part of the marketing that the publishing industry took care of in the "old days." It takes a while for the self-published to figure out how to best market their books. There is a system; you just have to figure out how to work it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True that, Robin. I wish I'd even known some of this stuff when I was first published. I had no idea what to do when my first book was published. To give the publisher credit, she did give a bunch of us some tips on a teleconference that helped a bit, but most of my work has to be done online to spread the word.

      Delete
  5. Excellent idea! I came up with the title Frozen Dolls for my final The Sacrifice series novella in part because I used Amazon to check the popularity for the title. Definitely feel I picked the right one and you should do what you've done with the rest of your books. Blurb's are essential, a terrible blurb will burn long after the beauty of a cover fades.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haven't thought about Amazon when thinking of titles. I do a Google search. You learn something new every day. :)

      Delete
  6. Excellent information-- thanks for sharing your learning curve with us Joy. I have to say you are one of the smartest promoters I've seen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Julie,
      I wish I had the sales to show for it, but I also know that this writing life is a marathon and not a sprint and what a learning experience!

      Delete
  7. That's very cool how you could see the results right away. Makes so much sense, yet how many people actually take the time to do it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think many of us do, L.G. It'll take me a little while, but I'll get to it. Also need to do some promo too, but the writing is taking precedence now.

      Delete
  8. Joy, I had no idea about what you wrote. Thanks for sharing. I'll certainly change some things around. I'll have to read the post again to make it register in my mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This writing journey ensures that we're learning new stuff every day. Have fun with it.

      Delete
  9. Okay, I get working the key words into the blurb (though somehow I thought that putting them into the info would direct searchers to my books). But--how did you figure out which appropriate keywords would be searched on? That's where I'm having trouble!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Rebecca,
      The keywords are already there in Amazon. For example if you start typing in 'young adult' Amazon will bring up that term along with a host of others. It's up to you to choose the combination of words that best fits your book or what you figure readers will put in when they're searching for stuff they like.

      I'm not sure there are people who actually like reading about child abuse, but that's one of the terms I'll be using (or something close to it) so it will clue readers in to the subject matter of the book.

      Hope that helps.

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. Hope it gives your books a good boost.

      Delete
  11. Wow! I think even I could do this! (Once I get my book published.) And congratulations on your book moving up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Bish,
      I really need to do some kind of promo. It's moved out of range again. I'm way too lazy to be a self-pubber. :)

      Delete
  12. Huh. That is so cool. Great advice, JL!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I need lessons from you, Joy. Do you have a link where you learned about this? Obviously, it's something I need to work on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary, check out these articles. If you do a keyword search :) you'll find others too.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/sell-more-on-amazoncom-un_b_3670424.html

      http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/07/amazon-algorithms/

      http://www.examiner.com/article/categories-key-words-and-tags-oh-my-why-should-an-author-care

      http://marketyourbookblog.com/boost-amazon-book-sales/

      You could also check out Michael Alvears's book Make a Killing on Kindle (Without Blogging, Facebook or Twitter). I don't agree with some of his methods, but it makes for interesting reading and you will learn some interesting stuff.

      Delete
  14. This is some pretty good advice, especially getting a chance to see it in action with your own experiment. Thanks for sharing :-) Now to actually work on this lol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It takes a while to wrap your head around it, but it makes sense in the end.

      Delete
  15. Thank you, Joy. I'm working on all this, this morning :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have fun with it. Let me know what results you get, if you don't mind.

      Delete
  16. Wow. This is really interesting. Thanks for posting! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy to provide useful and informative info.

      Delete
  17. Great point and I'm thinking it'll make a difference. I'll need to keep this mind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will definitely make a difference in how I write my blurb from now on. Good luck with the edits.

      Delete
  18. Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

    Jarak Berhubungan Intim Setelah Melahirkan
    Bakteri Dan Virus Bisa Sebabkan Anak Diare
    Cara Pemesanan Glucoberry Dan Glucocoa
    Cara Mengatasi Masalah Buang Air Besar Tidak Lancar
    Tips Ramuan Pencegah Penyakit Organ Kewanitaan

    ReplyDelete

Don't be shy. I'd love to hear what you think.