Sunday, April 08, 2012

Boost Your Book's Amazon Ranking

How are your book sales? What proportion are made through Amazon and does your book's Amazon ranking concern you? If your book is not selling in significant quantity, it may not be re-printed when the present stocks are cleared. Hmmm.

How do people find your book? What do they search for in Amazon to be offered your book? Is it the title or your name? Or is it the topic? What can be done to boost your book's ranking?

Now, if you are expecting me to provide clear answers, you are going to be disappointed, but one thing that may just help a little is 'checking the tags'.

Let me give you an example.

Rachelle Burk, a network and SCBWI buddy from the US, has written an excellent book titled 'Tree House in a Storm' that has 8 five star reviews. Like all good picture books for ages 5+, it tells one story but the theme is universal - children build a tree house, but unfortunately it's in New Orleans and in the path of Hurricane Katrina and the tree gets uprooted ...but there's a happy ending - the theme is really about recovery from loss, generally. And it also fits in well with curriculum topics on hurricanes and natural disasters.

Though it was published in 2009, recent sales have not been as high as Rachelle would have liked - no certainty of a re-print. With an increase in hurricanes in the US over the last couple of years, sales might have been expected to improve, but if you put 'hurricane' into a children's book search it has been way down on page 5 of suggestions, or worse. What's it doing down there?

One answer could be that it didn't have the tags added or ticked.

So, this week, as friends of Rachelle, a number of us have been trying to give her book a help along. You could try the same technique:

Log into your Amazon account and go to your book's page.

Scroll down beneath 'Customer Reveiws' (you may have to go even further down, close to the bottom of the page beneath 'Inside this Book' and 'What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item') and you'll find 'Tags Customers Associate with This Product'.

If someone was doing a Google or Amazon search, what keywords might they use and be delighted to find your book as a result? Add 10 such keywords as Amazon Tags (include your name and the book's title as separate keywords). Be sneaky - find the tags that are being used on any high-ranking competing titles, and consider including them, too, presuming they are appropriate. But it's good to have some that are different..

Ask your friends to log into their accounts, find your book and the Tag area and tick the tags they think are appropriate. There's also the opportunity to add others you may not have considered.

Hopefully, some keyword tags are in the book's title, but use a significant number each and every time you have a chance to promote your book - your blog, website, blurb, article, press release, synopsis, on Jacketflap, Goodreads, SCBWI page...

There are no guarantees this will help, but it may be worth a try!

Ticking tags could be something that you should do as a habit whenever you visit the Amazon page of a book belonging to a friend, though they'll probably be doubly pleased if you also make a purchase.

If you know of other techniques for boosting Amazon sales, please share them.

Peter Taylor

PS You may find Rachelle's 'Resources for Children's Writers' useful, too:
It's in the Writer's Digest list of "101 Best Websites for Writers".

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