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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday, in another thread, someone mentioned forgetting about Google. I'd like to state how wrong that is. Google doesn't just own Google. It also owns Youtube, and it looks like they're set to pay 1 billion dollars in 2014 to remain the default search engine for Apple. This is huge.
http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/12/google-to-pay-apple-1-billion-next-year-to-be-default-search-engine-on-ios/

Amazon searches seem to be going down a path of title, subtitles, and keywords giving a clear advantage to traditional publishers as they can bundle searchability under the different houses, products, and I'm sure they have more keywords available, too.

Since Google stacks the deck towards those who are the first to provide original content, self publishers can use this to their advantage to get our books to the top of Google searches. We must think like the readers of our books. What terms would they put in to find our book(s)?

Readers can't read your book if they don't know it exists. They can't find out your book exists unless they stumble across it somewhere, somehow.

Anyway, since the other thread was derailed so badly, maybe we can keep this one on target.
 

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LisaGraceBooks said:
Yesterday, in another thread, someone mentioned forgetting about Google. I'd like to state how wrong that is. Google doesn't just own Google. It also owns Youtube, and it looks like they're set to pay 1 billion dollars in 2014 to remain the default search engine for Apple. This is huge.
http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/12/google-to-pay-apple-1-billion-next-year-to-be-default-search-engine-on-ios/

Amazon searches seem to be going down a path of title, subtitles, and keywords giving a clear advantage to traditional publishers as they can bundle searchability under the different houses, products, and I'm sure they have more keywords available, too.

Since Google stacks the deck towards those who are the first to provide original content, self publishers can use this to their advantage to get our books to the top of Google searches. We must think like the readers of our books. What terms would they put in to find our book(s)?

Readers can't read your book if they don't know it exists. They can't find out your book exists unless they stumble across it somewhere, somehow.

Anyway, since the other thread was derailed so badly, maybe we can keep this one on target.
This is very interesting. What I'd like to know is how this will affect the iTunes in-store search facility. At the moment, it's rubbish.

I do agree, though, about the importance of making your books easier to find on Google. It looks like Google still pulls keywords from the old tags on Amazon, but the actual titles are ranking higher. It also appears that if a book is on google.books it will rank on the first page for the lower competition keywords. Might be worth looking into for those who do permafree stuff.
 

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LisaGraceBooks said:
They can't find out your book exists unless they stumble across it somewhere, somehow
They can find out about it by word of mouth. Write a great story, one that gets readers excited to read even more. Build your brand name as well as branded stories, and the fans will follow.

Fifty shades did the same. Personally I hate the books, but she wrote them for a specific audience who wanted it, and spread the word far and wide.
 

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Google search engine is one thing. Google Books is another. It's almost as impossible to use as Smashwords.
 

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I am not sure how to utilize google. I have metatags on my site, but my title is generic. I am going to add more of those metatags into the bodytext to improve seo, but I'm not sure how to boost visibility beyond that. Even Kings & Queens at Amazon requires my name to come up in the list.
 

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LisaGraceBooks said:
Amazon searches seem to be going down a path of title, subtitles, and keywords giving a clear advantage to traditional publishers as they can bundle searchability under the different houses, products, and I'm sure they have more keywords available, too.
I'm not sure why Amazon's approach to search gives an advantage to traditional publishers. Could you explain that? (I don't think they get more keywords. Categories, yes. Keywords, don't think so.)

LisaGraceBooks said:
Since Google stacks the deck towards those who are the first to provide original content, self publishers can use this to their advantage to get our books to the top of Google searches. We must think like the readers of our books. What terms would they put in to find our book(s)?
I'm skeptical as to how much this will help. Yes, Google gets an insane amount of traffic, but how many people use Google to find new books to read? (As opposed to Amazon, Goodreads etc.) I'm guessing the amount is close to zero - for fiction at least, I can see certain sub-categories of non-fiction being a little different.

Appearing high in the search results can be great for driving people to your blog or website, and you have a possibility to sell them something, or get them to sign-up to your mailing list, at that point, but I don't think focusing on trying to get your book to appear as high as possible on Google is a worthwhile strategy.

If you think about it, buying an AdWords ad is like having the most amazing SEO because you are right there at the top of the search results.

I used to work for Google - in their AdWords division. I can quite definitively tell you that while their ads can be very powerful tools, there are certain products that they don't really work for. Books (esp. fiction) are one of those that underperform.

Which makes sense if you consider what people use Google for, and what they don't.

LisaGraceBooks said:
Readers can't read your book if they don't know it exists. They can't find out your book exists unless they stumble across it somewhere, somehow.
This I agree with 100%. It's all about visibility.

While the virtual shelves are endless, and while e-books are never returned to the publisher by the retailer, and while stuff can stay on sale forever, that doesn't mean all the old choke points in publishing have vanished.

There's only room for a certain amount of books in the Top 100. There's only room for a certain amount of book on Hot New Releases.

The prizes will go to those who can figure out how to achieve visibility and how to maximize it.

I think you identified the problem correctly, but I don't agree with the solution.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Soothesayer said:
They can find out about it by word of mouth. Write a great story, one that gets readers excited to read even more. Build your brand name as well as branded stories, and the fans will follow.

Fifty shades did the same. Personally I hate the books, but she wrote them for a specific audience who wanted it, and spread the word far and wide.
Good point. I write good stories. Good enough I managed to get a movie option which has been exercised, the project now being in development. I've also managed to get a high powered agent working on a paperback deal with large publisher most people have heard of. However as Hugh Howey can attest, even if one series hits it big, your other books may languish.

Word of mouth can be slow going. Have you read the Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? You need to have mavens and connectors reading your books for this to work on a large scale. Plenty of books sell steady, like mine, but breaking out is another matter.

Fifty Shades ended up getting a traditional deal (with a small Australian publisher) before it broke out in large numbers. I believe Hugh Howey's books started hitting it big enough to get on the major lists once he had his agent involved.

Again, there are great books in every genre that will not sell tens of thousands of copies each unless the "right" people read them i. e. the ones who will talk about them and spread the word.

Visibility is important for the 99% (the majority) of great books that won't necessarily break out without major marketing dollars behind them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
dgaughran said:
I'm not sure why Amazon's approach to search gives an advantage to traditional publishers. Could you explain that? (I don't think they get more keywords. Categories, yes. Keywords, don't think so.)

I'm skeptical as to how much this will help. Yes, Google gets an insane amount of traffic, but how many people use Google to find new books to read? (As opposed to Amazon, Goodreads etc.) I'm guessing the amount is close to zero - for fiction at least, I can see certain sub-categories of non-fiction being a little different.

Appearing high in the search results can be great for driving people to your blog or website, and you have a possibility to sell them something, or get them to sign-up to your mailing list, at that point, but I don't think focusing on trying to get your book to appear as high as possible on Google is a worthwhile strategy.

If you think about it, buying an AdWords ad is like having the most amazing SEO because you are right there at the top of the search results.

I used to work for Google - in their AdWords division. I can quite definitively tell you that while their ads can be very powerful tools, there are certain products that they don't really work for. Books (esp. fiction) are one of those that underperform.

Which makes sense if you consider what people use Google for, and what they don't.

This I agree with 100%. It's all about visibility.

While the virtual shelves are endless, and while e-books are never returned to the publisher by the retailer, and while stuff can stay on sale forever, that doesn't mean all the old choke points in publishing have vanished.

There's only room for a certain amount of books in the Top 100. There's only room for a certain amount of book on Hot New Releases.

The prizes will go to those who can figure out how to achieve visibility and how to maximize it.

I think you identified the problem correctly, but I don't agree with the solution.
Categories also work as keywords, good point. Books come up by publisher, too.

Jason Matthews ran some experiments and it's amazing how much more the traditionals are weighted to come up in keyword searches above self published books (in Amazon's search engine), even when their sales and ranking are much worse, in the Kindle store. Even their paper books show up in the Kindle store (and may not even have an ebook available), which rumor has it, are hard to read on a Kindle.
You're welcome to type in various keywords that pertain to your books, and you'll quickly see what I'm talking about.

I've used Google to find books, and to find information on authors all the time. I use Google to find information on topics quite a bit, and if someone's book shows up on the first two pages, I generally click on it and check it out. I've also clicked on articles people have written, and then clicked on the link to their books from there.

I know my Eye on the Paranormal series: Plasma, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Other Dimensions, & How They May Explain The Supernatural http://eyeontheparanormal.blogspot.com/2013/01/plasma-dark-matter-dark-energy-other.html has gotten me sales, (because I've received reader emails telling me so) so I'd have to say Google and keywords for original content is extremely important.

Google does not discriminate between a book, a blog article, a news feature, etc. all it cares is is it original content and keyworded correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
bmcox just posted a thread with a link to this article where a publisher is talking about the importance of discoverability:
http://www.futurebook.net/content/if-youre-marketing-kill-yourself-now

Favorite quote from the article:
(Posted by avatar 4fifty1: It's taken this long to get to the point where publishers are finally beginning to take discoverability seriously. As an industry we genuinely can't afford to slide backwards.

Other players are about to enter the market, players who don't operate in abstracts but operate with huge data sets and an eye for making a buck.

Publishers who aren't prepared, who haven't built themselves strategies based around discovering their audiences will be swept away.

If you don't take steps to discover your audience, someone else will.
 
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