Marketing your book is a tricky business. Here at Lulu, we appreciate that many of our authors are not marketing experts, but still would like to amplify their sales. The Internet makes it easy to list your book and for readers to perform searches among the many books out there. The trick for authors is to make their book stand out from all the noise, to distinguish itself so that readers can find your book when they search. To get noticed online, you need to become a master of keywords.
How do potential readers find content?
We find almost all content online through searches. Authors must align their book with the common search terms a reader might use. To do this, you must use ‘Keywords.’
Keywords are search terms users will type into a search engine (like Google) to find something. A reader might want a book about healthy eating for women over forty so they would search for something like:
books, healthy diet, women over forty
The resulting search will be thousands of books that have used these keywords.
Now you’ll have to decide which keywords to use for your book. This can be a challenge, but we can recommend a three-part strategy to help narrow down the keyword options. First, sit down and write out as many words as you can think of associated with your book. At this stage, anything that comes to mind is fine.
Using your keyword list
With this list completed, the second step will to go on some retail sites and book review sites (like Goodreads) and search reviews for books similar to yours. Look at the words readers are using to describe these books and make a list.
In the third step, ask your beta readers (or if your book is already published any reader) for their list of words they would use to describe your book, and/or any terms they might have searched if they were in the market for a book similar to yours.
Any words that fall on all of these lists will, of course, be good to use. Create a refined list with all the words that span the three lists, and any other words you think might be valued for your readers. This last part will take a bit of guesswork and intuition on your part. It’s not an exact science but aims for quantity over quality.
integrating those keywords naturally
With your keyword list in hand, what you’ll want to do is integrate the keywords into your blurb/synopsis. Readers will perform searches, and because your keywords were thoughtfully chosen and added to your book description, they’ll find your listing coming up in the search results, ultimately leading to a sale. Apart from using the right keywords to draw in readers, you also must craft a compelling blurb. Weave in the keywords as they make sense, and if need be, write new material to incorporate keywords you deem too valuable to exclude.
Conscientious and careful application of keywords can do wonders to boost the discoverability of your book. Help your readers, grow your sales, and enjoy the success a little bit of market research and keyword application can bring!
Paul is the Senior Copywriter at Lulu, writing weekly blog posts and helping guide content for the company’s marketing. When he’s not deeply entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person, but considers himself cat tolerant.