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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, thank you KBoards, for recommending Nick Stephenson's video series to me. I don't recall who specifically gave me the link, but THANK YOU. (Edited to add link: http://www.yourfirst10kreaders.com/ )

The one aspect of self pub that I've really been struggling with is keywords and categories (and, honestly, I'm still struggling with categories). But Nick's second video on keywords really helped me to understand better what to look for.

So this morning, I made a list. My book, The Body Electric (link below) is a YA science fiction. So I started with four broad categories:

  • Young Adult (also YA)
  • Teen (also teens, which resulted in almost exactly the same results)
  • Science Fiction (also sci fi and sf)
  • Dystopain

Then, I went to Amazon. I typed in young adult a and waited for the results in the dropdown menu of the autocomplete on the search bar, clicking on each one that was relevant to my book. I noted two things: the number of books in each list and the types of book in each list. If there were around 1000 books in the list (or less) and the titles in the list were good comps to mine (or at least not all free books), I wrote down the term and bolded it. If it was okay but not great in either category, I just italicized it. If it was flipping fantastic, I bolded and italicized. I also wrote down other applicable search terms with a note of the numbers and why I thought that search term was bad (either too high of numbers or bad comp titles in the list--for example, "teen books for boys" had decent numbers and good comp titles, but my cover wouldn't market well in this lot. "YA interracial romance" was applicable, but all the sample books looked to be far more sexy than my novel was.)

I did this for each of my four major search terms, going alphabetically down the dropdown menu, finding the terms that would best suit my novel. After awhile, I was able to skip some and go faster, but it still took me about two and half hours to get this all done.

In the end, I had 96 search terms listed, along with how many results each search term gave, plus whether or not I felt the comps were good comparisons to my title.

From there, I just pulled out the terms I already bolded and italicized. I had 20 bold terms and eight more italicized.

Now, armed with 28 search terms, I needed to narrow it down to seven for my keywords. I wanted to do six terms that were specific to the searches, and save one term to stuff in anything applicable I could think of (via Evenstar's method outlined on these boards).

I'm also going to take the top terms in the key word search I just did and find a way to add them to my book description.

After fiddling with my keywords before, I noticed a drop in sales that I don't seem to be bouncing back from--and a significant drop in rank that I definitely don't like. I've got a BookBub ad coming in early March, so I want to get these keywords in correctly before that happens. Here's hoping the terms will help boost exposure--and put me into some better categories--by then.

(Edited to add:

I don't know how much of a difference it'll make, but I added some keyword-based changes to my description. Namely, I changed "author of the NY Times bestselling Across the Universe books" to "author of The Across the universe books, NY Times Besellers" because "bestsellers" was a good keyword term search hit.

I also added this line at the bottom of my description: "This YA SF action and adventure book is suitable for all readers teens and up who love mysteries, thrillers, and futuristic novels." This sentence has a lot of keyword search terms in it: YA, SF (I use Sci Fi earlier, and noticed that sci fi and SF gave different results), book, action, adventure, teens, mysteries, thrillers, futuristic, novels. All those words were a part of keyword search terms I saw a lot, so I figured it couldn't hurt to add them to the description, too.
 

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Beth, I've pretty much done the same as what you outline above and found that I also got sort of screwed out of sales and the categories got wonky the more I fiddle (so I resist tinkering even though I really want to tinker!). I *should* be in more categories and I think I'm technically in some that aren't showing. That said, when I do keyword searches, my books do come up fairly high in the targeted searches, so that part seems to work. For example, if I search for "Teen Horse Romance" my permafree is #1, similarly "YA [or] Young Adult boarding school" gets many of my books on the first page. I've also noticed that newer books are closer to the top, AND my new KU experiment (a series prequel that is the only of my books in KU) seems to rank higher in the searches than the other books.

Long story short - a lot at play here. But I hope your promo goes well for you and keep us posted on what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Howietzer said:
I'm curious of this Nick Stephenson video series you speak of... care to share the link?
Whoops--meant to include it in the OP. Here it is: http://www.yourfirst10kreaders.com/

You do have to sign up for the newsletter to get the videos, but I found it worth it, especially the second video.
 

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I did something similar, but my results haven't been great. I try and tinker with it from time to time. His video series was great, but there has to be more to it IMO. I even added the search keywords in my description the same way Nick does. I don't know what else to try really at this point.
 
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