Today, I’m documenting my keywords for my first Amazon Ad, for my book “Dragon Prey” (Hannah Steenbock is my pen name.) Gathering them was quite a chore, because I was a bit picky.
You see, keywords are supposed to drive those people to your ads who have a large chance of liking your book. Basically, you’re trying to guess which keywords they put into the search bar on Amazon, so your book can be displayed to them.
I listed keywords in three different categories in my spreadsheet, to make it easier on myself once I get to tweaking ads – by changing out keywords. These categories are:
1) Author and Series Names that are similar to what my book is about.
2) Positive Keywords, identifiying general features of my book.
3) Negative Keywords, telling Amazon NOT to show the ad to people typing those specific keywords.
Now, I don’t really want to share those author names, but I will share where and how I dug them up – and this was the really hard work.
You see, my book has no also-boughts with other authors. My book page only points to other books by myself. That’s both good and bad, but it certainly doesn’t help me gather keywords for an ad. So I had to use different strategies.
First, I looked at the dragon category on Amazon COM (that’s because you can only set up ads for COM and UK). That was quite a chore because – unfortunately – there are also a lot of shifter and reverse harem books involving dragons in that list. After 79 pages of over 100, I accidentially closed that tab… and had gleaned about 20 names of authors and series that might share readers with my book. I did not go back.
Then I looked at the also-boughts of Pern books. After all, that’s one big inspiration behind my tales. That didn’t really help a lot, though, because 90% of those are other books by Anne McCaffrey. Which tells me that her name wouldn’t be a good keyword in my eyes, as it’s too general. Don’t forget, she wrote a lot of SF, as well, and those readers are not necessarily into dragons.
Finally, I looked at YA. *sigh* I really don’t think I write YA because my books have underlying themes that concern people of every age. But they don’t contain explicit bed scenes, so I thought it could be way to find a few more similar books and series. And that worked better than I expected.
So now I have 68 keywords in the author and series name category. And it was hard work to harvest those. I will keep looking and adding names, of course.
On to the next category. That’s an easy one: general keywords about my book.
Of course, I use those from my book description, as well. They include things like “fantasy, dragons, short read, novella, strong women, war, intrigue” etc. Once again, think about what people – and you! – put into the search bar. I think this is the easiest category, especially when going from general to specific.
Fun fact: When I put “intelligent dragons” into the search bar, there were only 16 results. And six of them were my books. Now that’s rather cool because it means one of my keywords for the book pulls a lot of weight.
I now have 26 general keywords for my book.
Now on to a category most people don’t think of: Negative search words.
These are words that tell Amazon specifically NOT to display your ad when these words are used in a search. They are very helpful in avoiding clicks by people who look for something different (and you pay per click).
My negative keywords include: “shifter, reverse harem, romance, and steamy paranormal romance” – because my story is not that, at all. However, there are plenty of such stories around involving dragons… which I discovered to my chagrin. Nothing against that kind of story, but those readers will be bored by my rather normal, fast-paced, feel-good fantasy adventures. So it’s better not to mislead them, and negative keywords are the way to do it.
So that’s that… next week, I’ll talk about the actual set-up. I will follow the experts in that and do it step by step, so expect a few quotes and screenshots.
Have you set up Amazon Ads?
Can you share tips about keywords?
Do you feel any resistence to working with those ads?
Share in a comment, so we can all learn.
*image source F. Moebius