What is a tag?
Well, when we are referring to our novels, a tag is a descriptive word or phrase that can help describe the book. This tag can refer to topic, genre, sub-genre, type of character, etc… Think of it as SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your novel.
So what tags should we use?
Amazon.com allows each person to use up to 15 tags on any given product. Use every one of them for your book.
Here are the basics:
Book Name – If people are looking for your book, they might just type that into the search bar. Having this as a tag means it should be the #1 thing to come up under this search.
Author Name – Same reason as book name. Let’s say they remember you wrote a book, but can’t remember the title. If they search by your name this will be one of the first things to come up.
Genre – People often search for things by genre. Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Modern Gothic, etc... These are the search terms a reader might put in while looking for a book. Make sure you’ve covered all of your book’s genres.
As a side note… On amazon.com tags are associated not only with products but with discussion boards too. Appropriately tagging your book to the genre or genre’s it belongs to will also help link it to the right discussion board. Go ahead and take a look at your book’s product page, scroll all the way down and you will see suggested discussions. This is more for you than for readers, it points you to the people you want to talk to. The people in these discussion boards are the potential audience for your book. Go say hi. But beware, amazon forums are strict about advertising. Don’t do it unless the forum specifically asks. Just go in and be friendly, get to know the readers.
Theme – are there any interesting themes to your book? Coping with depression, Overcoming adversity, Quitting smoking, Fighting for survival, Alien invasions. These can be keywords as well. Once you have the genre covered and your title and name tagged, move on to the themes that describe your book. Remember, you get 15 tags, use every single one of them.
Creative but Obscure references – Sometimes the genre tags and theme tags are so full up of books or products associated with them that even if you had hundreds of votes, your book would not appear on the front. This is where creativity can come into play. Does your book have sex? Well doesn’t that take place in the bedroom (sometimes)? Did you know there are only 79 books tagged with Bed Sheets? If people are searching with that as a keyword then your books stands a better chance of being seen among 79 vs. the some 6k books tagged with Urban Fantasy.I'm not saying you should tag your book with bed sheets (unless you're writing erotica) but consider some of the more creative tags you could use.
Ok, so I tagged my book, now what?
As I said before, tagging is kind of like SEO. It will help people find your books if they search but to make your book more visible, you have to make sure your book shows up at the top of the search.
Let’s say I have my book Hunters & Prey tagged as Urban Fantasy. Well, currently, there are about 6,269 results that come up on Urban Fantasy, I need to get my book to show up within the first few pages for it to be effective.
The more votes you have on a specific tag, the higher it shows up in ranking on Amazon.com. So if you want your book and its tags to get recognition, you will have to do a few things.
Join a tagging community. No not one of those street gangs out painting graffiti on the wall. A group of authors who help each other out by tagging each others books. (This means you have to participate, don’t just expect to get tags for nothing.)
http://tagmybookonamazon.wordpress.com/tag-me/ - Tag My Book on Amazon (A great place to start your search for tag assistance)
Kindleboards – Join the community and visit the tagging thread in the Writer’s Café.
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amazon-Tags-Author-Assist/10150118359785515?ref=ts Facebook Tagging group.
You can also ask your friends and family to help tag your books. It’s as simple as logging into their amazon account and clicking the check box next to the tags you’ve already set up.
So there you have it, tags are important for your book’s visibility. Now go out and get your tags done.
And while your at it… Want to tag mine?
Post your link and I'll tag you back.