I spend a lot of time looking at other writer´s works. Sometimes I am reading INDIE authors, other times I am surfing around Amazon, looking at what is happening with other writers. One of the things that amazes me is how little effort some writers put into all the work that needs to be done after the book is on-line.
Of course, there is a ton of criticism launched towards INDIE writers based on their work; I won’t get into that in this blog. It´s an objective thing and I am well aware of the fact that I tend to be extremely critical of other´s works and oh, so forgiving of my own flaws. This is the devil we all deal with day to day. This is not a science. The scientific part is what I wish to discuss today.
One huge issue is the cover. I am astounded at the number or HORRIBLE covers I see floating around the INDIE self-pub world. My god people, you (hopefully) invested hundreds, possibly thousands of hours writing your novel and now you use the cheapest cover template available and hope that your book is going to sell?
But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Here´s a bunch of other issues in no particular order.
1. The Title of your book.
2. The Subtitle of your book.
3. Is it part of a series?
4. The book description.
The savvy Self Publishing INDIE author will have done a bit of research on these topics. Everyone else is leaving it to luck. The Amazon web site employs SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization. It may not function exactly like Google or other top search engines, but the same principals apply. So how can you make this work for you? I am no expert so all I can do here is give my layman´s opinion based on my limited experience.
The first step may be something that should be considered long before the book is written – What genre are you writing? Notice that when you use the Amazon search function, the field wants to auto-fill. So if you type in the word, ´Romance´ it begins by giving you the following options – Romance Books, Romance Novels, Historical Romance, Modern Romance. Type in ´Romance a´ and you get Romance Authors, Romance Anthology, Romance and Sex etc. These are the common genres and the most common search parameters that clients will use to search. These are also ´Key Words´ that you will need once it is time to upload your book.
So how do you make that work for you?
Begin by working one or more of those words into the title or subtitle of your book. Simple as that. It may be a bit of a strain on your creativity but it will be well worth it in the long run. Now here´s the kicker – try to do it in a subtle way.
So Amazon allows you to pick 7 keywords. If a couple of the strongest are in your title AND woven into your book description, you are looking at the possibility of ranking higher when a customer searches for those keywords. You can also use some Google Adwords Keywords (I am told) but I have never learned how to do that … if you think it´s to your advantage, get out there and research it. Hell, once you figure it out, come back and leave us a comment. I´d love to know what that is all about.
Finally, the categories. For the vast majority of writers this shouldn´t be a problem. Since I don´t write within a genre that is easily defined, I struggle here.
Now this is yet another ´I´d rather have it and not need it that need it and not have it situation´ – I spent a week messing around with the descriptions and keywords etc. on all my books. I did see my English Tutorial books climb in the ranking but I have no idea if it affected my other three books. I´ll take it on faith that I am doing it right.
So that´s it for today. I hope this is of some benefit to someone. At the very least, it will make your author page and your book description pages look professional.
Ah, that´s another thing. In the name of all that is HOLY, make sure that you have a head shot on both your Amazon and Goodreads Author pages. Have all your books updated to those pages as well. If you run a blog, your blog-feed can go directly to both these pages via RSS. Figure it out, I did.
Got knows, if I get to an Amazon author page and it doesn´t look slightly professional and well organized, I´m NOT BUYING YOUR DAMN BOOK! I´ll figure you spent as much effort in the writing and editing as you did in setting up your promo page …. NONE AT ALL!
End of Rant.
David Gordon Burke
Find my Books here.