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This lesson is continued from Lesson 10 Part 1: Where Kindle Books Fit Into A Business Marketing Strategy.
Using Keywords To Rank Instantly On Kindle
While getting your book in front of audience in the Kindle market place is a lot easier then getting your product found in Google, you still have to do things to make this possible. One of the things you can do to make this happen, is by using keywords. Yes, like most other search engines, keywords play a part in getting your book found by your audience.
On occasions, and if you pick a generally uncompetitive keyword, it’s possible to upload your book and have it appear in the top 5 positions for that keyword the same day. I’ve done it many times before, and it still works as I write this.
The good thing about this is that some keywords which would usually be competitive in Google, really aren’t competitive at all in Amazon. It’s because of this that you can try out a few keywords you usually wouldn’t go for, and see if you can rank for them.
While getting ranked for some keywords probably won’t bring you as many sales as it would if you were ranked top 10 in your category, it often does bring steady sales every month if the keyword is one that is searched for. Be warned though, in the same way that Google changes up who ranks for what keyword every now and then, the same happens with Amazon and how they rank books. So even if you manage to rank for a good keyword and start making sales, remember that your ranking can fluctuate and the amount you make will vary from month to month.
So, where should we be putting our keywords? Well, the main places are in the book’s title, the book’s description’ box (Beginning, end and somewhere in the middle) and also in the tags area (You get to put up to 7 tags. Make these all keywords relating to your book). Some people also advice to put keywords in your book as well while making it look natural, but I haven’t personally seen whether this helps or not. It might be worth doing if you’re in the process of writing a book; as long as you’re not making it sound unnatural, there’s no harm in trying. A final place you can add keywords is in the ‘Series’ box you’ll see when filling out the description of your book for the Amazon sales page.
We’ll look more into these things next lesson as we take you step by step through creating your book sales page.
One important thing to note, is that other people can also add tags to your book. They can do this from inside their Kindle device after they have read the book, and also by going to your product page and scrolling down to the relevant section. If you have people buying your book, ask them to add some relevant tags. You can even give them a list of tags that they could possibly add to take the guess work out of it for them. Getting more relevant tags from people will help with your rankings for certain keywords, so if you could call in any favors to get some tags added to your book, this is a good idea.
How To Find These Keywords
Now let’s look at how to actually find which keywords you can use. The first method, which I always suggest, is to just guess them. If you was searching for a book on a specific subject, what would you search for? You can use these ideas as keywords for your tags. I’d advise that each keyword is at least 3 words long, as there will usually be less competition the more words your keyword includes. The lesson competition, the better chance you have of ranking. Unfortunately, that also means that there’s potentially less people searching for that keyword string. Not always, but often the case.
Another good way to find a keyword or two to put in your book title, is to start typing a keyword in the Amazon Kindle search engine. Like Google, Amazon also has a predictive text feature. As you start to type in a descriptive keyword, you will see suggestions come up based on what are already popular searches.
So say for example you have written a book with soup recipes. You could begin typing in ‘soup’, and you’ll notice that some other suggestions come up underneath. Two that stick out to me are ‘soup recipes’ which is the third result, the fourth results ‘soup cookbook’, and the sixth result ‘soup cookbooks on kindle’. These are all keywords you can use in your title and / or your tags.
So for example, you could call your book:
‘Soup Cookbooks On Kindle – 50 Delicious Soup Recipes In 30 Minutes.’
Notice how I added a mixture of keywords and also specific outcomes that the reader will achieve if they buy this book. This will keep both the search engine and the readers happy, and that is exactly what you want.
You could also include other keywords such as ‘soup for the soul’ and ‘soup bible’ in your tags. While these are probably brand keywords, as in these are the title of other books, you could potentially rank just below them for their name if there isn’t much competition and get on people’s raider like that. Please note though, I have looked at the ‘soup for the soul’ keyword, and due to the large series of books they have, I think it would be hard to rank for this keyword. Therefore I would rather go for a different one that could be easier to rank for.
You can usually tell which keyword gets searched for more on the Kindle search engine, as it’s usually the search string that appears higher up when the predictive text comes up. If you want to get more analytical and decide between two different keywords however, you can also load up the trusty Google Keywords Tool. Simply type your keywords into this, and see which keyword gets more searches per month. Make sure you do a ‘exact’ match keyword search, so you will have a good idea of which one really gets more searches.
You’ll see exactly where to place these keywords next lesson, as we walk you through putting your book on Kindle.
Getting In The Best Sellers List
Another way to get your book selling other then through the use of keywords, is to get it in the top sellers list for your chosen category. There are a lot of Kindle users that only browse the top sellers list in their area of interest to find potential books to buy. If you can therefore get your book in the top 20 or so in your category (The higher the better of course) then you have a good chance of making even more sales.
You can see all the Kindle best seller lists here. By clicking on the links on the left hand side, you can drill things down and look at more specific categories which often have less competition.
So how do you get your book in the top 20 in your category? Well, before I look at that, let me make one thing clear:
This won’t always be possible!
If you’re in a niche and the category you choose is very competitive, there’s not much you’ll be able to do to get in the top 20 other then to sell a load of books. Unfortunately, as you’ve probably already picked your niche via the website you’re basing your books around, if you’re in a tough niche you’re in a tough niche. It is what it is.
Having said that, you get to pick two categories for your Kindle book to appear in. Because of this, you may want to have one category as your broader tougher niche, and the other one as a less competitive category that is also relevant.
So with that said, how do you know if a category is competitive? Well, you can tell by the sales rank of the top 20 books in that category.
You can see the sales rank of a book by going on the sales page of the book in question, and looking under the ‘Product details’ section. Near the bottom of this section you should see something like:
Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #*,*** Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
*,*** will be replaced by a number. This number is the sales rank. If you go to the top two books in your category of choice and see that it’s in the 5,000 – 7,000 range, this is a good number. These books are selling a decent amount, but possibly not so much that it’ll be impossible to break into your category. Remember though, you want to be able to break into the top 20 ranking in that category. So check the sales rank of the 20th book as well. If the rank is 25,000 – 50,000, you can probably break into this rank with around 5 – 7 or so sales in quick succession.
So now you know this, you need to make those sales. A easy way to do this is to call in favors from your friends. Got 7 friends that can buy your book and a few that will also leave positive reviews? Then call in those favors! You’ll have to give your friends the money to buy your book of course, as you can’t expect them to be out of pocket just because they’re your friend…
Get them all to buy your book on the same day. Also have a couple leave reviews on the same day, and one or two leave a review a week or two down the link to make it look more genuine.
Tip: Make your book only 99c initially, so it’s cheap for your friends to buy. Send the $1 via Paypal or in person so it’s no cost to them, and they even make a profit. Heck, send them $2 if it gets them on board. Hopefully this will get your sales moving and you will make that $7 – $14 back anyway. And once your book is ranking and making organic sales, you can up the price of your book to something more suitable and profitable.
Tip 2: If you can afford to pay more friends to buy your book, do so.
This will break you into the top 20 category, and give your book a chance of making sales naturally. While there is always the chance your book will drop out of the top 20 if people don’t buy, it will give your book a good head start and give it a chance of making sales.
If your category is too competitive for this to work, you’ll have to either work on making those sales through genuine marketing, or rely on the keywords strategy mentioned above.
Making Sure The Work Is Original
Now, here’s one thing that you should always bare in mind when creating Kindle books:
Make sure your work is 100% original and never published anywhere else in any other form! It’s fine if you publish it as the exact same book for a price, but if it’s already available as a free blog post, then don’t even think about publishing it as a Kindle book!
There have been people that take articles and blog posts from the internet, package it as a Kindle book, and sell it as their own work. While this method may have worked well for some in the past, it is something you should avoid doing now. Not only have Amazon become wise to this and now do a lot more to stop this happening, but you should also want to give more to your community.
The Amazon Kindle community is often wise to these tricks. Many of them will go as far as to copying parts of your book, and searching for it on Google before they go on to buy your book. If they find that your work is available online already and for free, they will usually leave you a bad review stating that the book is simply full of copied material. This poor review will of course effect future sales, and sometimes also effect your rankings in the Amazon Kindle search engine.
The thing is, Amazon is pretty relaxed about a lot of things that go in their Kindle store. Having said that, going from past experience, things will eventually clamp down. It happens with all the big sites that people try to game and make a quick buck from. They change a load of their rules to stop the people that abuse their system, and they often also lock off a load of accounts to scare people away from doing things they shouldn’t be.
Now I’m not saying this is definitely going to happen with Kindle, but I seriously wouldn’t be surprised if it does. And if it does, do you want to be one of those people that has all their low quality books taken out of the Kindle library?
The answer isn’t to back up your books or even to create multiple account (P.S. Having multiple Kindle accounts is against Amazon’s TOS by the way and can get you banned, so don’t do it). The answer is to create good quality books that people will enjoy reading and recommend to their friends. If your account is full of books that get regular refunds, you can be sure that Amazon will take this into consideration if it ever comes to them getting rid of a load of people’s books.
So make sure all your paid Kindle books have original material, and aren’t just copied and pasted from information people can find for free on the internet. Even if it was you who originally wrote the information. The only time you can use content that people can find for free on the internet already, is when you style it out in a way that is more convenient for readers, and then give it away as a free Kindle book. You can’t initially price your book for lower then 99c on Kindle, but I’ll show you a way to make your ebook permanently free in the next lesson.
Playing The Numbers Game
Now let’s talk about numbers. How many Kindle book do you need to drive traffic back to your site? And how many do you need to make a good amount of money from Kindle? Well, it’s not really possible to effectively answer the second question. I’ve seen some people make a full time living from one book, while I personally make money on Kindle via multiple books. In other words, it can vary greatly. Having said that, I can answer the first question.
For this strategy, it’s a good idea to have a few books under your belt. Remember, we want it so that people are buying our Kindle books or downloading them for free, then are following the links in our books back to our website. We make money from the books we sell, and we also get eyes in front of our brand.
If we spend ages creating one book though, what will happen if that book doesn’t do well? What if it doesn’t make many sales, or if it doesn’t get many free downloads? You will have wasted a whole lot of time, that’s what.
What you should do instead, is create multiple shorter books. Books that are long enough to keep the reader happy if they paid 99c or $2.99, but not so short that it just represents a longish blog post.
You should give these books different titles, as well as different subjects. If you can, you should also put them in different categories in the Kindle market place. Make sure they’re still relevant categories however, as there’s no point your cookery book showing up under the animals category. Do you think many people would buy it when seeing it there? No, me neither.
The reason we want your books in multiple categories though is so they have more chances of getting found by different people. By having different books with different keywords and different categories, you’re giving your brand a better chance of being seen by more people. This will in turn lead to more book sales and more people going back to your site.
Bare in mind though, that sometimes one of your books may really take off and sell a lot of units. It can be tempting to then not do any more Kindle books and rely on that one book, but remember that books sales often do die down sooner or later. Because of this, it’s best to have more then one under your belt.
If it gets to the stage where you are doing well with Kindle books and want to write a longer book, you can of course do that too. This leads us onto the next point:
How Long Does Each Kindle Book Have To Be
So if we’re creating multiple books for Kindle, how long should each book be?
If you’re doing a ‘how to’ type book, as a general rule of thumb it should be between 15,000 and 25,000 words long. If you are going to get much longer then 25,000 words, you should consider splitting it up into two separate books.
There are a few reasons you don’t want it to be much longer then 25,000 words. Firstly, the time it’ll take to write. Kindle books are only a part of the strategy we’re using for traffic and to make money online. If therefore you’re spending a load of time putting these Kindle books together, you’re in effect losing time which could be spent else where.
Secondly, by shortening longer books down into between 15,000 and 25,000 words each, you’ll have more then one book which you can use to target different categories and keywords. This will give your books more chances of getting found, and hopefully make you more money as well.
The thing is, many Kindle books are often around this length. People are getting accustomed to shorter books that have the most up to date information in them. I mean, that’ll often be a lot more useful then an out of date book that has a mammoth load of information to get through right?
On top of that, the way people consume content is also changing. Many people are happy with content that is quick to consume, but tells them all the important things they need to know to do what they want to do. I mean, why read a book that’s 300 pages long on putting together a bike when you can learn how to put one together just as effectively in say 70 pages? You don’t need to know why each part is called what it’s called, or the exact material the tire is made from and why, you simply want your bike made. And more importantly, you want to spend more time actually putting the bike together then reading the book telling you how to do so.
I know some people feel bad when I tell them to do books this length. They think that they aren’t giving the customer what they want. Well the important thing, is that you don’t confuse less words with a lower quality! You still want tell people how to do exactly what it is they want to learn how to do, but you just won’t need all the filler content.
As long as you teach the person what you say you will, most people will be happy with their book purchase. And as they’ll be getting a very reasonable price for it, you’ll be comfortable writing a book of that length too. We’ll look at how to price your book next lesson.
P.S. After you have a few books of this length under your belt, it becomes possible for you to bundle a few of them up together, and sell them at a higher priced package. The benefit of this is a more attractive package for the customer, which should hopefully lead to more sales for you. This isn’t essential, but always an option.
Setting Up Your Account With KDP
Before I go, I want to quickly give you the first steps of publishing your books on Kindle. Firstly, you’ll need to go to the KDP site. KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing, and is the site which allows you to upload your books to Kindle. It’ll also allow you to see your sales stats, a list of all your books, add your details for payment and the like.
Signing up is as easy as adding your contract details and then payment details. You have to add your payment details before you start adding your books, so get that done straight away.
You don’t get paid from KDP until you have made at least $100 / £100 / €100 in revenue if you choose to get paid by check, or $10 / £10 / €10 if you want an ETF (Direct to your bank account). You will get paid two months after the end of any month where you hit that threshold. If you don’t reach the threshold in any month, you balance will be carried over to the next month’s earnings.
Once we start adding books, it’ll take around 24 hours for Amazon to approve your book and for it to appear in the Kindle store. Pretty quick right?
That’s pretty much it for now, although don’t feel rushed to get a book up just yet. We’ll be looking at exactly how to put your books on Amazon through KDP next lesson.
Kindle books are not only great for giving us another way to drive traffic in our online business, but our Kindle books can also make money in their own rights. This is a win win situation for us, as traffic and income are both things that we will need to make a success of things.
Just having our books on Amazon will be a great thing to tell our customers, and help provide us with social proof. The books we provide them with, while not extremely long, will provide good value and get people accustomed to our brand. More importantly, they’ll also give the customer just what they they were looking for.
What To Do Now
Here is what you should do between now and next lesson. If you don’t have the time, that’s fine. Do as much as you can, and do the rest when the time is there:
- Decide What You Want To Do Your Kindle Book On.
So, what is your Kindle book going to be about? Something related to your niche is always ideal, as not only do you have knowledge in that area, but you’ll also be able to use those Kindle books to drive traffic to your site. If you create a book on a different subject, while it can still potentially make money, you won’t have anywhere to send that traffic after they’ve read your book. So decide what angle you’re going to take your book from, and start mapping it out.
- Start Writing Your First Kindle Book.
You will of course need a book to sell on Kindle, so it’s a good idea to start on writing it now. Remember; it doesn’t have to be a super long book, but it does have to be useful. Make it a good quality one, and one that people will read to the end and want to click the link to your website for more information. You don’t have to worry about book formatting just yet or creating a front cover, as we’ll look at how to do that next lesson. For now, just get your book started.
- Set Up Your KDP Account.
We’ll be using KDP to get our books in the Kindle search engine, so sign up for an account right now. This is quick and easy to do, and as you’ve managed to sign up to this course alright, it shouldn’t pose a problem for you. You may want to have a look around now as well, but if not, we’ll be walking you through exactly how to set up your first book and sell it next lesson. For now, at least add your payment details (Where they can pay you, you don’t have to pay as it’s a free service) when promoted.
What’s Happening In The Next Lesson
Next lesson we’ll book looking more into Kindle books. We’ll be looking at how to format your book, how to get covers made for you, how much you should price your books at, and some cool secrets that will help your books sell that bit more.