Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Importance of Keywords

If you are like me and an indie author keywords are a whole different animal in marketing your book. Often, it is an under utilized sales tool.

How many of you use a search engine to find various things: Google, Bing, Yahoo? There are several dozens of sites on the web. Some are bigger than others but SEO (search engine optimization) is big business. It is often overlooked by the novice in indie publishing. It's how readers find your book based on what they are searching for. Sounds simple doesn't it? It is but it isn't.

This was one subject that wasn't offered in my marketing degree program, but waaaayyyy back then the internet was in its infancy. I did go back to college last year and took a course in it because of my Doh! moments. I didn't do this with Escape from Second Eden but have expanded the keywords on my other novels. I spent the last year in a trial and error phase of indie publishing.

How to find keywords as an author? Think about your book. What does it contain? Ask an author about their book and they will either tell you volumes on the plot lines, characters, or the setting or a sentence or two. I know I'm guilty of both. Of course, it depends on how much time you have. In an agent interview for standard publishing you have fifteen minutes on average, but you may lose them in  two.

Now I've seen keyword lists for a book at forty plus words. To me that's overkill. I mean really? That would have a link to your book in forty plus searches. That may sound like a good deal, but think...is over exposure better than under exposure? The phrase is KEYWORDS not Montezuma's revenge. Ten or twenty well placed words should be enough.

Okay, what do want to specify about your book?
  • Author name? It is your brand name. That way all of your books come up in the same search.
  • How about genre? Don't certain people read only Science Fiction, Thrillers, Horror, and Romance? I'm not one of those, but some people do.
  • How about setting? Some people will search for books depending on where it's set, say Canada, India, or even Georgia in the USA.
  • How about whether your book is fiction or nonfiction?
  • How about murder, love, betrayal, jealousy, or any other emotion? The main plot line.
  • e-book, paperback, hardback? How is it available?
  • How about the age group it's meant for? This is especially helpful in the childrens book selection.
These are just a few in the general section. Then there are more specifics like:
  • Spies, spy
  • Candy
  • Child abuse
  • Survival
  • Zombies
  • Marriage
  • Stroke, CVA
These are specific types. They narrow the searches to individual categories. You get the idea. Certain sites where you may publish your work at as an indie may limit the number of keywords you may use so think carefully on just how you want it represented. This is your book in one word increments. You want to hit your key market of readers.

You may have noticed that I am using more keywords when publishing this blog...now you know why. I've gotten thirty more followers than last year. Thirty more followers may not sound like a lot, but how about 10,027 more hits on my blog over the past six months? Now that's impressive for someone who writes on a little known blog out of millions on the web. I advertise my blog on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and SheWrites, but not always and that's it. The rest comes from random searches.

So how important are keywords? You tell me.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.


4 comments:

Deniz Bevan said...

I'm still wrapping my head around SEO. As I don't really have a book to promote yet, my posts are all over the place, about books and reading and writing and research. So I'm not 100% sure which keywords I should focus on...

J.L. Murphey said...

Keywords are not only for your book when you finish it. Practice with your blog.

Stuart Aken said...

Thanks for this simple explanation, JL. I've seen this advice on a number of blogs, but I now understand it. Many thanks.

J.L. Murphey said...

Welcome to my insane asylum Stuart! You are most welcomed.