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Rank on Amazon – Keywords, Categories

Over the holiday season, I was researching how to rank on Amazon for clients’ books and my own books. I have discovered things you can do with keywords, categories, and even the annual program Amazon Advantage to improve rankings. That said, Amazon isn’t everything and every avenue. In fact, it’s just a start.

I found this very useful but long excerpt, How to Use Categories to Drive Book Sales. Basically, we can elect to choose the two most specific, in demand yet less competitive categories — books with similar content to ours. Here is a little more about why you want the Kindle Best-Seller ranking and how to get it.

Choosing Keywords

Self-Publishers can also select 7 Keywords that relate to their book’s content. When you are considering keywords, think about novices to the field and how they search. Tools like Google keyword tool and just doing many searches on Amazon in your topic field can help you choose better keywords… Even using your affiliate (Associates) account to search top-ranking books can help you to identify titles which are current sales winners.
Firstly, understand that people are not going to usually type in your exact book title (unless they are your cousin), so this is why keywords help readers find your book. I write money books. But if I choose “personal finance” as my keyword/category, I’m up against the likes of Dave Ramsay, Suze Orman, etc… in a very competitive arena.

Next, realise that you cannot jam lots of keywords in your book description and title, and suddenly rank way up there. Actually, putting the keyword in the title is against Amazon’s terms, as is inserting statements like “best”, “on sale”, “new” or “limited offer”.

Lesser-Used Categories

Your first two keywords will be the doorway to your chosen categories (the ones you have researched as low competition but relevant). Imagine you’re writing a book “Prosperity Consciousness” and so the keywords of ‘prosperity’ and ‘success’ naturally befit that title, however Amazon says you cannot choose ‘prosperity’ because it’s in the title. So go ahead and choose ‘success’, ‘abundance’ or another well-used synonym.

You can then categorise your book under “self-help : spiritual” and “kindle store: non-fiction: business and money: personal finance” because keywords open up related categories. (You can see the categories in this top-of-the-listing book here)

Kindlepreneur teaches a three step way to unlock rare, ‘secret’ Kindle categories. He also teaches you how to combine your Amazon internal keywords with SEO-style keywords, which are not restricted on Amazon. This can help your book rise to the top of a less populated search or topic, although you still need book sales (-;

You need to be a Jedi Knight with keywords if you want to use them well for marketing your books, so listen to Kindlepreneur and other Jedi masters.

It seems I’ve gone on long enough on keywords and categories, so next time we’ll unplug Amazon Advantage and the drawcards of that program.

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New Ideas to Promote a Service via Ebooks

Do you want to promote a coaching or consulting service? Do you do guest talks, hold workshops, etc?  Then there is no better way to broaden your service awareness and extend your intellectual property than with an eBook.

An eBook, when done in a strategic way, can cement your authority in a niche. For instance, I have a client who is an Organisational Development consultant and her topic of interest is “followership”. Not many people are looking for that topic, however the related topic “Leadership” is pretty hot. So in branding her book, it would have to clearly explain the USP (unique selling proposition) of this book and solve a problem.  Something like “Get Your Team to Lead”, Subtitle: “Relax, Reduce Conflicts, and Smile More with Followership Principles”.

The book description is incredibly important in clearly articulating what the book covers and who it is for. Did you see how I made sure that browsers know that this (imaginary) book is for Managers & Leaders? There is no point trying to address “everyone in a workplace” on your first go. It will get lost amongst the rest of the tomes. Don’t go on about yourself, instead make the book seem irresistible to those “insert target market here” who want to solve a problem.

At no point would her amazing consultation services get mentioned, except under “About the Author” or as an offer at the back of the ebook. Promoting services directly would be best through giving the LEAD GEN eBook free in a landing page… Follow up with a phone call or email series… ensure people receive invites to events, notable news, etc.

eBook Formats & Distribution

For a first attempt, create your ebook with a clear PDF (1.2 line spacing), a $25 cover image, and then list on your website in exchange for email address. Once you have got some feedback on it and ironed out the kinks with editing, then possibly upgrade your cover and format it better.

Next level up is ePub. Righto, with stripped Word .doc or already created ePub format, you can load onto Amazon Kindle Direct and also onto Apple via Smashwords and use their ISBN. However, you might like to hold back on this until you see some sales through Kindle.

When you have it in Word, and you have a cover designed, it is not that much more work to format it for print, right?  Well, actually it takes a lot more thought. There is a minimum number of pages for perfect bound; your high resolution cover has to be front/back/spine the exact size, there is the margins, footer/header, page numbering starting at 1 on the first page; there is the typeface to choose, you will put glossary, index, references, about page towards the back, there is the CIP, ISBN and Copyright matter, the dedication, title sheet, preface, and perhaps some black and white illustrations.

eBook Costs

It costs fairly little to create an ebook of a PDF nature. You can do that for free and then get a little web designer help to load it on your website. (Or use Instapage landing pages).

But if you want to distribute it globally, you will have to get a cover designed (about $25 on PeoplePerHour or Fiverr), format it to specifications (about $100 for the service or else spend days working it out), but the distribution part is usually free. (IngramSpark charges US$25 or $49 for both ebook and book but it saves messing about with various platforms).

The editing is important though. I would say allow $500 – $750 for editing an eBook of about 20,000 words.  I would charge $600 for this copy editing, including some advice on order of chapters and lengths of sentences and paragraphs. Many writers have sentences that are far too long.

Who Will Want to Read My eBook?

Do you think people will buy your eBook right off the bat?  Perhaps they will need a little warming up with your trusted blog and Facebook posts first. Don’t pounce on new followers!

Make your eBook an attractive price, ensure you have a great cover that visualises your theme, and work on your title till it hurts.

If you don’t fancy doing this, then simply stick with a cleverly designed PDF, available at your website. You can easily offer it with use of Mailchimp forms and/or Picreel lead capture software.

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