Over the next number of weeks, we are posting a series on Canada Self-Published Books – Marketing.
- Part 1: Book Listings – read on
- Part 2: Author Profile & Inside the Book –coming soon
- Part 3: Book Ads – coming soon
PART 1: BOOK LISTINGS
Take advantage of listing tools
You may have seen our Infographic about Print-On-Demand (POD) and distribution. While solid distribution choices will help make your product/book readily available and easy to purchase, paying attention to your listing aspects is another important factor in helping your readers find your book.
Take the time to research, and set up and coordinate (as much as possible), the listing aspects that are there to help put your book in front of the right readers.
Book listing aspects include such as:
- BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) subject codes that help let potential buyers, retailers, distributors, and search engines know what your book is about – your book’s primary genre(s), topic(s), and theme(s) – see our article for more information on BISAC codes.
- Indexes or listing categories found on the frontend i.e., retailer sites where readers shop for books.
- Keywords – see our Infographic for a quick look at some best practice tips regarding keywords.
You may notice that the subjects/categories/listing options might not always match e.g., the backend subject codes that you might enter on distribution sites and/or used by libraries and book stores, might not be exactly available on online retailer sites. Keywords on the other hand can be entered as you like, not selected from a list so you have more latitude here but you should understand how these work when searched.
Tip #1 – start with the front-end / client view
- If you book will be listed on Amazon, search books on Amazon by typing in what you think readers might search in the ‘book’ search field. Look at what the drop-down is offering you as suggestions; these are terms that people have been searching for, which might also give you some clues to best keywords.
- Click on what might be relevant to your book and have a look at what’s coming up in the left navigation to get a sense of categories. If you are on such as Barnes&Noble, Indigo/Chapters, etc. you can try there too to get a broader sense of what people are searching and what categories are being used.
- Once you have a sense of categories, have a look at BISAC subject codes to see where there is the best match-up, and use these to guide your metadata set-up on backend via your distributor account.
Bonus tip – Categories shown in KDP are actually based on BISACs, i.e., you start by choosing from BISAC subject codes and Amazon decides what Amazon category to put you in. If you are on IngramSpark then it is BISAC codes you choose from to categorize your book in their metadata. So it’s worth getting a handle on BISAC codes!
Tip #2 – look for relevant but less-used categories
Being a best seller could be another way to help get your books in front of readers. Picking select categories can possibly assist with this. Consider: Amazon best seller listing says it is updated hourly + in certain categories with a lot of books it takes the sale of a lot of books to raise your book to the top + we understand that there are over 16,000 Amazon categories.
Have a look at Amazon categories.
How do you know where your book stands?
Amazon Best Seller Rank (ABSR) is assigned based on how many sales or downloads a book has over a certain period of time. If your book has an ABSR of say 1500; then this means that at this point in time there are 1499 books on Amazon selling better than your book.
But what does this mean in terms of sales required to move to best seller status (for the moment anyway, as mentioned best seller listing are updated hourly it appears)? As a rough example, it looks like you would need to sell approximately 1 book per day to achieve an ASBR of 100,000 as opposed to say about 72 books per day for an ASBR of 1,000. Of course, you could see much higher ASBRs for some categories and this might help you. However, overall it appears that the higher the ABSR the fewer books that have to be sold to beat that book for its spot in the best seller list.
So, what the heck does this mean? Look for a category where the best seller is ranked with a higher ABSR number, i.e., if you could find a relevant category where the #1 book had a higher ABSR number then you would need to sell fewer books to move up the best seller list than if you choose a category that has a best seller with a lower number. (We know it sounds odd but the higher the ABSR number the easier to beat.)
IMPORTANT: Make sure the category is relevant to your book! Potential readers won’t be happy if you’ve used some crazy category that isn’t at all relevant and your book does not come close to what they are looking for.
Bonus tip – You don’t have to beat the top book to be a best seller. Check the #50 or #100 spot – to get on the best seller page you just have to sell more books than that book (at a point in time).
Tip #3 – beef up your keyword strategy
- Think phrases not just individual words (but don’t put quote marks around your phrases).
- Again, start to type in search field and see what comes up for which readers have been searching.
- Think like your readers – What would they search for if they were looking for your book? This goes back to why you wrote the book in the first place, i.e., readers need this book as they are looking to read about a certain subject, because …, to learn, etc. When you search, you are usually looking for something for a specific reason, e.g., non-fiction – to help with something; fiction – to enjoy such as time with kids, stories (funny, lessons, life), mystery, etc.
Our final thought after looking at all of this is that every little bit of uniqueness, drilling down to what readers are looking for, amid what else you are doing, can be something further to help readers find your book if it is the book for them!
What has been your experience with book site listings? Please comment below!
To help in defining keywords and categories (we haven’t tested; however, several trusted authors we follow have supplied comments; please ensure you carefully check out all the details and read the fine print to make sure, if you choose to purchase, this is the right tool for you!):