Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Keywords Are Key!

Are you published on KDP? 

I am, and have often wondered about keywords. Fretted is a better verb. 

How important are they? What do I choose to lead people to my book? If I use the absolute best keywords possible, will I shoot to super-stardom in the author world? 

Recently, I got one of those helpful, informative emails from Amazon Publishing and clicked on a few links only to discover that I could be using my keyword feature more effectively. Take a look at what they say below. I've highlighted the passages I found MOST helpful.

Best practices with keywords

Combine keywords in the most logical order. Customers will search for military science fiction, but probably not for fiction science military. 

Use up to seven keywords or short phrases. Keep an eye on the character limit in the text field. 

Experiment. Before you publish, search for your book's title and keywords on Amazon. If you get irrelevant results, or results you dislike, consider making some changes—your book will ultimately appear among similar results. When you search, look at the suggestions that appear in the Search field drop down.

Think like your customer. Think about how you would search for your book if you were a customer, and ask others to suggest keywords they would use.

Useful keyword types

  • Setting (Colonial America)
  • Character types (single dad, veteran)
  • Character roles (strong female lead)
  • Plot themes (coming of age, forgiveness)
  • Story tone (dystopian, feel-good)
For suggestions on search keywords based on browse category, read more here.

Do NOT include the following in keywords

  • Information covered elsewhere in your book's metadata—title, contributor(s)
  • Subjective claims about quality (e.g. "best")
  • Statements that are only temporarily true ("new," "on sale," "available now")
  • Information common to most items in the category ("book")
  • Common misspellings
  • Variants of spacing, punctuation, capitalization, and pluralization (both "80GB" and "80 GB", "computer" and "computers", etc.). The only exception is for words translated in more than one way, like "Mao Zedong" and "Mao Tse-tung," or "Hanukkah" and "Chanukah."
  • Anything misrepresentative, such as the name of an author that is not associated with your book. This type of information can create a confusing customer experience and Kindle Direct Publishing has a zero tolerance policy for metadata that is meant to advertise, promote, or mislead.
  • Quotation marks in search terms: Single words work better than phrases—and specific words work better than general words. If you enter "complex suspenseful whodunit," only people who type all of those words will find your book. You'll get better results if you enter this: complex suspenseful whodunit. Customers can search on any of those words and find your book.
  • Amazon program names, such as "Kindle Unlimited" or "KDP Select"
Note: This list is not exhaustive and all keywords must comply with our Terms and Conditions.

Other metadata tips

  • Customers are more likely to skim past long titles (over 60 characters)
  • Focus your book's description on the book's content
  • Your keywords can capture useful, relevant information that won't fit in your title and description (setting, character, plot, theme, etc.)
  • You can change keywords and descriptions as often as you like
  • If your book is available in different formats (physical, audio) keep your keywords and description consistent across formats
  • Suspense Crime, Supernatural Suspense
  • Make sure your book's metadata adheres to KDP's Metadata Guidelines

Good Luck Authors! And now I'm going to select the keywords for this blog...

Kim Hornsby is the Author of Award-Winning The Dream Jumper's Promise available on Amazon Books. She is a Bestselling Supernatural Suspense Author who lives in the Seattle area where she writes during the rainy months.

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