MAKING LISTS OF BOOK KEYWORDS: The Key to Book Marketing and Book Promotion By Rahiem Brooks

December 21,2017

Upon writing "The End" as the last line of a novel, an author that has decided to go the self-publishing route job actually begins. The easy part of the process is over. It is that point that one phase ends and a set of new ones begin. Particularly, the book publicity, marketing, advertising, and promotion leg of the process starts. Yes, authors must wear every hat to be successful.

With a freshly completed novel, before it even reaches the editor's desk, authors should begin making lists of plot points and sub-plot points with enough content to be of interest to readers. Have you written a crime thriller with the main character in the role of a lawyer, then perhaps law/legal bloggers may be peculiar potential partners in the promotion of your fiction novel. Their followers undoubtedly like legal topics and may like fictional versions for entertainment. This is true, too, for the amateur sleuth whose day job is a salon owner or a florist. Authors can target hair and flower bloggers, also, hair salons and flower shops. As a side note, this should play a pivotal role the book cover making process. Imagine what a book looks like on the counter of a beautiful, bright flower shop. Picture only your book there, as you specifically contacted the shop owner and asked them to try out the book as a promotion. Hence, shabby homemade and template book covers won't get you very far; albeit, the possibilities are limitless with book promotion.

These book plot-points will help identify areas of the book that could to be highlighted in your lists of keywords. From the plot lists, strategic lists of keywords need to be created to help the book ultimately reach readers. Having a command of keywords can make and break your book marketing strategy. These keywords are the target words and phrases that rank your book high in search engines, like Amazon's.

Amazon KDP allows an author to add seven (7) keywords to the metadata section of their book description. Yes, only seven, so it's imperative to select the strongest words. There is one creative way to squeeze in one more phrase. Adding a subtitle to a book gives your book another shot at discoverability. Take my novel, A Butler Christmas, which I added the subtitle: A Naim Butler Romance Suspense. This subtitle has a baked in genre phrase that book lovers search. You want to strive for the same catch-all phrase in your subtitle, drawing attention to your book. On the other hand, IngramSpark allows an author to add an unlimited number of keywords and phrases, which works to an authors advantage when the book is distributed to IngramSparks' thousands of outlets.

One way to find keywords is looking up the top hashtags for any given subject. I use the site to look up a topic. My book A Butler Christmas takes place during the holiday season, has a holiday relevant book title (Christmas), and has a holiday-inspired book cover. Again, the marketing strategy of a book starts long before a book is released with the book title and cover design. The beginning packaging of a book will help with the overall book selling strategy. When searching the phrase "Christmas gifts" top-hashtags generates these words:

#winter #happyholidays #elves #lights #presents #tree #decorations #ornaments #carols #santa #santaclaus #christmas2014 #xmas #red #green #christmastree #family #jolly #snow #merrychristmaswe #travel #hydrate #skin #legit #spendsomecash #facts #13moredays #december #mrsclaus #merrychristmashappy

Hashtags website


This detailed set of hastags-or keywords-helps A Butler Christmas reach a broad range of buyers. Amazon will show the book by searching book-related terms, but this list presents the book to people and could spark an impulse buy no different than being in a brick and mortar store like Walmart. How many times have we been to a Walmart to buy toothpaste and came out with soap, deodorant, body wash, hell, a 60-inch TV? This sort of search gives your book a chance to be discovered by buyers that didn't even know that the wanted to buy a book when it pops up in their search query results. They're looking for Christmas ornaments and buys a book with a holiday-themed cover, because it popped up in their search.

With the keyword strategy covered and the book metadata-complete, an author should use the lists to plan the type of bloggers to target for a new book release campaign. Recently, I worked on a publicity campaign for Drama Free Dating by Camie Vincent. This nonfiction book centered around the author's advice for dating without drama. Because this wasn't a fiction book to target book bloggers that love YA and mystery fiction, I searched for relationship and marriage advice blogs and found success garnering free publicity for the author and book, having her book reviewed by bloggers. She was invited to be interviewed on podcasts and to write guest blogs. Working with bloggers boosted the book's publicity campaign, and ultimately added another avenue to a book be found online. Each blog post allows an author to drop in keywords from the original lists, making the blog discoverable in a Google search, which leads to the book.

To make your life of targeting bloggers, bookstores, and libraries easy, it's best to create a book sales sheet-or the oft-used tip sheet-which contains all of the book's basic data and helps buyers and bloggers make quick decisions with respect to acquiring a new book. These sales sheets provides a profession glimpse of an author's work ethic. Send this sales sheet as soon as you have the book cover and settled on a release date. Many bloggers are booked up to three months, so it's best to start your pre-publication campaign 4-6 months in advance of a release. Book industry experts, expect that. Remember that when authors present themselves to buyers in the same fashion as a mainstream publisher, the author gets attention from decision makers. Primarily, buyers want to see indie authors do well, because if the author does well, then so does the stores where the book is being sold. Many stores do not buy self-published work and many bloggers do not read self-published books, because the book's presentation is subpar and shines a light on the book's potential bad unedited content. Some think, if the book packaging is bad, then the content must be worse.

eBooks Brochure

This one-page sheet is appreciated by book buyers and bloggers because it helps them quickly make preliminary decisions about a book. A good sales sheet, sent to book buyers and bloggers from your focused book should force a book buyer to hop on their computer and look your book up in their preferred book buying wholesaler catalog. If the book discount is right-traditionally 55%-and the discount works for the buyer, book buyers will typically buy a few copies right on the spot. Be sure that the book is marked returnable, too. And note that most stores will not buy directly from authors.

This is especially easy with bookstores that have a focused genre that they cater too. If you have a good crime thriller and submit your sales sheet to mystery bookshops, putting your best foot forward is imperative. There are so many authors vying for a spot on their limited shelf space, so it behooves you to present a well-crafted sales sheet.

Your opening email to bookstores and librarians must also be expertly crafted and without grammatical errors. It's best to have the person's name that you're addressing and it helps to take a look at the store or library website for details that connect your book to their platform. Some libraries/bookstores have book clubs that are genre focused. Some have local author sections that they like to rotate with local authors material. Some have consignment programs that allow a book to be shelved by the author sending a few copies and the store pays a royalty on those books net 30/60/90 days. The good thing about this is that it allows an author to have their book displayed and a demand may come from this, sparking the store to buy copies in advance.

Upon sending the sales sheet wait about a week before calling the store or librarian asking have they received your sales sheet. If the Internet hasn't bounced back your e-mail, it's safe to assume that the recipient has gotten it. I typically ask them to confirm a purchase, because I want to add them to my social media platforms as a place to buy my book. This helps generate sales and potential new customers for the store. So your call is to assist them, not to inquire about them buying the book per se.

Everything has to be calculated and done with a purpose in publishing. This is a black and white industry that doesn't leave room for breaking traditional rules. These rules and guidelines have been in place for decades as a way to make the process seamless and smooth. There is no reason to get inventive and work overtime to reinvent the wheel. Most times it will backfire and prove that you're just another amateur; the quickest way to be written off.

Good luck on your writing journey and remember that initial keyword list is where this all begins. The list drives your book marketing, publicity, promotion, and advertising campaigns, so be all-in with creating it.