Ebooks, publishing, writers and keywords?




Remember the theme song from the classic TV show Cheers?  “I want to go where everybody knows my name.”

For most readers and writers an averaged-sized broom closet would accommodate the people who know their names with some room left over for a vacuum cleaner.

How do you determine the popularity of certain words in Internet searches? It’s all about  keywords, those little buggers that show the most popular terms people search for on Google.

If you haven’t  looked at the popularity of certain words and phrases, you might be surprised to find what is hot and what is not.

Google AdWords has a keyword tool that can tell you in a heartbeat how many times per  month people search for specific words.  All you have to do is sign up for the program (it’s free) and begin plugging in words.

Since there is a lot of talk among writers about the status of indie authors in the marketplace, I decided I would search “indie authors.”  According to Google AdWords, that term receives 4,400 Global Monthly searches.

Is that good?  Well, let’s compare that to the word “authors” without the modifier “indie.”  Drum roll.  The word “author” receives a mere 2,740,000 such searches. “Writers” comes in at 5,000,000.

I’m not kidding.

How about the term “digital publishing“? 74,000.  If we drop “digital” and search “publishing,” we see only 6,120,000 searches.

I’m not kidding.

What about “ebooks“?  Get ready for this one. 13,600,000. What if we drop the “e” off “ebooks”?  According to the keyword tool, people search for “books151,000,000 times per  month.

I’m not making this up.

Okay.  I started talking about names, so let’s go there. If you plug in “John Grisham,” you will see 201,000 monthly searches.  Stephen King gets 1,500,000.  Sue Grafton (you knew I had to include her) comes in at 33,100.  Of the indie authors that I entered by name, none had as many as 2,000 global monthly searches.

The reason I am going through this exercise is to make the point that if writers want people to find their books in an  Internet search, they need to use popular keywords in their book titles, subtitles and product descriptions.  People aren’t going to search for most authors by name, because they have never heard of them.

I know I am coming late to the party on this.  Many of you are well aware of the importance of keywords. Until I did some of these searches, I didn’t realize how big a difference in search results existed between common terms.

So, here’s what I plan to do. For one of my books, I will change its title and subtitle, spruce up the cover and add a lot of high visibility keywords to its product description on Amazon. For my other books, I will modify the prodcut descriptions to incorporate popular terms that apply to the subject matter.  For future books, I will search a lot of terms before I settle on a title.

That’s a start anyway.

What is your  experience with the use of keywords?  This ebook writer would love to know.


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