Monday, May 10, 2010

Marketing Your Book on Amazon

There are several techniques, built into Amazon's site, that you can use to market your book. Today I'll discuss one of them.

For today’s post, I’d like to begin with an experiment. First, I’d like you to pull up the website. I’d like you to conduct three searches the term “chick lit.” On the drop-down menu next to the search box, I’d like you to use “All Departments”, “Books”, and “Kindle.” Then review only the first page of books on each of those searches. See anything familiar?

Yes, that’s my book The Bum Magnet on the first page of each of those searches. The position may change from day to day, but it typically stays on the first page.

One reason we love Amazon is that it really helps level the playing field for indie authors and publishers. They have a number of tools that can help you get more visibility for your book.
Let’s face, we human beings are a pretty impatient lot. When we are shopping online, we don’t want to have to look through 237 pages of products to find the one that we want. Typically, we give up looking somewhere between 5-10 pages in unless we don’t have anything better to do. Then we go on and search another term we hope will get us there faster. Your goal on Amazon is to ensure that your book shows up within the first 5 to 10 pages of a general search term (i.e., cozy mystery, chick lit, romantic comedy). Any further back and it’s likely that a potential reader looking for something new and different may never find your book.

So, how did I do it?

One thing you really want to ensure that you leverage to the fullest extent that you can is the “Tags” function. The more tags you get in a particular category, the higher your book will place in that category. The key is ensuring that your tags accurately describe or define the type of book you’ve written. For example, if you tag your book as action thriller but people click on it to find it’s a romance, you’re not going to help your cause. No, you want someone looking for a romance read to find your book.

Where are the “tags” on Amazon?

If you look at any book product page, you can find the “Tags” section somewhere between the Product Detail section and the Customer Reviews.

If you don’t have tags yet, then you should get your tags started by listing the terms that accurately identify your book. Now, each time someone clicks a tag on your book, your book will move up higher and higher in that category. Of course, it’s not tags alone that will help your book move up, but they definitely help. Your sales and rankings will also factor into it as well. For example, on my paperback book, I have a very high tag count in chick lit. However, if my sales ranking creeps up too high, my search ranking in the category usually drops. I don’t know what kind of crazy algorithm they use, but I do know that if you keep consistent sales and you have a lot of tags, that helps move you up.

Within the tag section, just to the right of the tags that you select, you can select the “See Most Popular Tags” option and it will show you a “Tag Cloud.” This will tell you which tags are most frequently used among books on Amazon. Although you may be tempted to list the popular tags, don’t! I tend to stay away from the most popular tags because for my book to show up high in those categories, a million readers will have to click the tags to move my books over more popular books. However, if you find a few popular tags that apply to your book, it’s okay to use them. The best strategy is to use those tags that apply to your book.

How do I get people to tag my book?

Well, one way is to ask your friends and family members with Amazon accounts (they must have Amazon accounts) to take a minute to tag your book when they make a purchase.

Another way is to use the services of “Tag My Book on Amazon.” It’s a site for indie authors who want to get their books tagged. It works on a quid pro quo basis, meaning you have to tag other people’s books and they’ll tag yours. The address to the website is . Createspace and some of the Amazon discussion boards that cater to authors also have Tag My Book discussion threads in them. You’ll have to search for them, but they’re out there.

Make sure you list both your paperback version and your Kindle version on the same post, and they’ll tag them at the same time.

This is a great marketing technique that won’t cost you anything but time!

That’s all for now.

Keep it real…and keep it real cheap!


  1. Thanks, Karla. Helpful information as always.

  2. How interesting! Very informative. Thanks for sharing.


  3. Excellent advice, Karla. And I'll make sure to tag others' books in return.

  4. I am loving your tips ... I bookmarked your page it will now be one of the top places I send writers from here on out....Thank you so much!

  5. It's great of you to give people tips like this. I run an on-line store, so I am well aware fo the importance of tags in helping people find products for sale, so it makes sense that it's just as important in selling books.