How to Use Keywords to Increase Readership and Sales on Book Country

Posted by March 7th, 2014

In the Book Country newsletter this month*, I started to talk about creating a digital footprint for your book, and just how important it is to make your book “findable.” For the same reasons, I wanted to write today about the importance of the keywords you enter into your Book Details page when you upload your book for peer review or to publish on Book Country.

Nowadays, many readers find books via searching online. You want to make sure that your book will pop up for any reader who might be looking for books like it online. Keywords help make a book findable to potential readers in specific ways that the title, subtitle, the author name, the About the Book, and genre categorization might miss.

For example, if a visitor to the Book Country Bookstore wants to learn more about Poland, they won’t necessarily know which members are writing about Poland, and they won’t know the titles of the books about Poland on the site. However, a simple search for “Poland” will yield results for all the books about Poland so long as “Poland” has been entered as a keyword by the author.

Member Eryka Martin‘s memoir SIGNATURE OF THE IMMIGRANT takes place in Poland, so she made sure to have “Poland” as a keyword. For that reason, I can find SIGNATURE OF THE IMMIGRANT when I’m looking for books about Poland even though it doesn’t have “Poland” in the title.Signature of the Immigrant screenshot

So what should you put as keywords for your book?

Let’s say I was writing a Space Opera here on Book Country. As I am filling out my Book Details page, I would think carefully about what Book Country members who would perhaps like my book would enter into the search field. While my book is Science Fiction, I want to make sure to reach folks who specifically like to read about aliens, space travel, and other Space Opera tropes. So I add “aliens,” space travel,” and “space battle.” Then I add terms that are idiosyncratic to my book: the name of the main character (“Daybreak St. Clair”), the planet she is traveling to (“Erdor”), and other proper nouns specific to the novel. The reason I put those proper nouns in is because let’s say someone does see my Space Opera while they are browsing on Book Country, but they don’t buy, review, or follow the book right away. Later, they might not remember my name or my title, but they do recall “Daybreak” or “Erdor.” I’m trying to make it easy for them to find my book right away if they search for it again later. I end up with this list of keywords: aliens; space travel; space battle; Daybreak St. Clair, Erdor; Vellos; Earthling Intergalactic Forces. Separate keywords with a semi-colon.

(Click on the image below to expand the example.)Keyword Example for Space Opera

It is possible to have too many keywords. We recommend having at least three but no more than ten. Try to avoid vague terms or terms that could work for a lot of books, such as “love,” “Science Fiction” or “war.” Use terms that are specific to your book, like setting and the names of characters. This is particularly important if those terms are not mentioned elsewhere in the Book Details. For example, I didn’t write anything about “aliens” in my About the Book, but I have it as a keyword because there are indeed aliens in my (hypothetical) Space Opera.

Keywords are so important that they are a required input field for Book Country books. Should you choose to publish your book, keywords are also a required part of the metadata that goes along with your book when it is distributed to online retailers.

If you have questions about what your book or eBook’s keywords should be, please don’t hesitate to ask! You can always email us at support at bookcountry dot com, or connect with me and send me a private message.

Want to learn more about how to use Book Country? Join the discussion to get tips from the community, or browse blog posts on the topic.

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