AUTHOR GUIDE

The complete details of our publishing process can be found in this guide. The full text is available here. You can browse the chapters and sections using the menu on your right (or below, for mobile devices).

KEYWORDS

The Keywords section is situated on your Marketing page under Advertising. When your manuscript goes into production and the publicist is allocated to your book, you will get a notification asking you to add some keywords/phrases to this box. In the meantime, feel free to add some initial ideas to the Market Position box when completing your proposal.

Keywords/phrases are crucial to “discoverability.” They are the search terms that a customer might type in to an online bookstore such as Amazon when looking for something new to read. We will circulate the information, through all the trade databases worldwide, Google, Amazon, Apple, across the internet. But you know your book better than we do, and can help by providing some words to describe it. 

  • A keyword/phrase that describes the content or theme of a book. It supplements the title, subtitle, author name and ISBN and helps readers find books on internet search engines such as Google, Amazon, Apple and LibraryThing.
  • Put yourself in a reader's position – who might your book appeal to? Keywords could be "Barbary Corsairs" "Eastern Mediterranean" "sixteenth century" for a serious history book, or alternatively, "racy" "adventure" "pirates" for historical fiction set in the same era/place.
  • Amazon assigns keywords to every sub-category, so choose keywords for categories other than the three categories you choose on your Book Details page. Your book will be in these three categories in any case. 
  • Other good keywords are those which readers would use to search for your book, but which would result in your book being listed with fewer than 20 other books. Too general and your book will be swamped, too obscure and no reader will use them. Keywords can be jargon, synonyms, special terms, famous people, popular cultural references, or variant spellings of words or names in your book's title. They must be relevant and specific. They must not reference other authors or their books, or sales rank, or promotions, or anything unrelated to your book. Avoid inflammatory or “adult” words. The wrong keywords will confuse readers or cause retailers to categorize your book incorrectly or even remove it completely.
  • Each keyword/phrase usually contains one or two words, never more than five. We are allowed to submit up to 15 keyword/phrases for your book. These go to Amazon, Apple and other online retailers selling print and digital editions of your book. 
  • Another way you can use keywords to make your book more discoverable is to include them in your book’s description blurb. Describe your book using as many keywords as you can, but they must be in context and read well.

Example

James Fenimore Cooper: A Life, Nick Louras  

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) was America’s first novelist, celebrated for his masterpiece, "The Last of the Mohicans." Over a prolific career he created a national mythology that endures to this day. According to Daniel Webster, “we may read the nation’s history in his life.” Yet Cooper was also a provocative figure, ultimately disillusioned with American democracy. He spent his boyhood in the wilds of the frontier, served as a merchant sailor and naval officer, traveled the courts of Europe in an age of upheaval and returned home to scandal and controversy. He conquered the literary world only to fall victim to his own fame. In the first popular biography of Cooper in a generation, historian Nick Louras brings the man and his age vividly to life.

Tools

  • Search Engine Auto-complete: Most search engines such as Google or Amazon can be used to generate ideas for keywords by using the search engine’s built-in auto-complete feature (known as Google Suggest within the Google search engine) to display popular search terms. To use auto-complete, begin typing in the search box; the most commonly entered user queries based on that search engine’s algorithms will appear in a drop-down list in the search box. Please be aware that the results are based on your search history. To avoid this possible bias, clear your search history first.
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner: This source for new keywords provides the search volume or traffic estimates for a list of keywords. The “multiply keyword list” feature produces more keywords by generating combinations of keywords from multiple lists: www.google.com/AdWords.
  • Yasiv: This is a visual recommendation service that maps related items and helps filter keywords. It finds categories that do well in a niche, and identifies which keywords successful authors have used. It doesn’t tell you what the keywords are as such, you have to type in a keyword to find other books using that keyword, whether your book is swamped or whether your keyword is too obscure and unpopular: http://www.yasiv.com/.

Here are some links to resources where you can learn more about keywords:

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,205816.0.html
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1702257-choosing-keywords-on-amazon
http://www.verticalmeasures.com/resources/seo-tutorial-videos/choosing-the-best-keywords/
http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2016/topic-keyword-research-analysis-insights-publishers/
http://marketingland.com/keyword-research-amazon-172127
http://keywordtool.io/

©2016 John Hunt Publishing Ltd.