Choosing keywords for your ebook

Put simply, keywords are words, or phrases, that are entered into a search engine. This could be an internet search engine like Google, or it could be an internal search function, like the one provided by Amazon. When publishing an ebook on Amazon, you’ll be asked to ‘tag’ your work with some keywords or phrases.

Unless your readers know the exact details of your book, which is quite unlikely, they’ll need to use a  search engine to find it. This means you need to make your book as easy to find as possible. All other things being equal, an ebook with the right, well chosen, keywords will be much easier for customers to find than one with no keywords at all. Ultimately, this will increase your chances of enjoying better sales.

The challenge here is to try to make sure the words you enter correlate with what your potential readers are searching for. For example, keywords such as “novel,” “history”  and ““World War II” might help someone searching for “historical fiction” to find your book.

How to choose keywords

  • You can always start with the absolute basics, such as your name and the title of your book.
  • Next, try to look at your book from a reader’s perspective. Decide what general subject area your book falls under. Is it a work of fiction, a biography or maybe a poetry anthology? Put this in as a general keyword, along with variants like “novel,” “autobiography,” and so on. Include a few areas which your book touches on in less detail, but be sure to keep the keywords relevant to your content.
  • If you’re writing fiction, think a little wider and consider describe your themes and settings in more detail: Wuthering Heights might warrant keywords like  “Victorian,” “Haworth” and “England.”
  • Learn from the experts. Unless you’re writing in an extremely specialised field, chances are you’ll be facing some competition from established authors. Look at their blurbs and marketing material, their tags on Amazon, and have a good read of any customer reviews, which may reveal more about what their books are about. Readers of those other books may well be interested in your book, — but, of course, they have to be able to find it.

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