Because Amazon is always changing, there’s a good chance your Amazon keywords are already out of date, or maybe just not as effective as you might like.
The challenge with Amazon is that because so many books are uploaded each day, changes happen quickly. I used to say that Amazon keywords were “set it and forget it,” but that’s no longer true. Keyword recommendations are changing quickly and, in some cases, weekly. So how can a committed indie author keep up? Well, follow this blog for one, and two, spend some time on Amazon at least once a week, checking your current batch of keywords to see if they’re still worth using.
There are also some interesting trends happening on Amazon, too. You’ve probably read my recommendations of adding keywords to your subtitle to help with your algorithm but now subtitles are a must. Without them, your book might not gain the visibility it deserves.
Creative Subtitles for Fiction Books
You’ve probably seen this, fiction novels with descriptive subtitles that take yet another opportunity to really sell the book, what it’s about, and the reader it’s intended for. It’s also a creative way to work in more keywords when they don’t naturally fit into your description. Take a look at these:
This works well to help give the book a descriptive boost. Readers don’t spend a lot of time with book descriptions like they used to and the days of vague “guess what this book is about” book titles just don’t work.
Now the majority of time is spent with the cover, title and subtitle. And you can see how each subtitle helps to further enhance the page while also speaking to the reader’s particular goal in finding the right book.
Adding a subtitle on the cover is fine, but keep in mind that if you’re sitting in a genre where reader preferences and keywords change frequently, you may want to avoid doing that.
An example of this might be in the romance genre, where trends tend to change frequently. Sweet romance is a big thing right now, readers wanting more sweet than spicy. So mentioning that in your subtitle could be a great thing. But back when Fifty Shades of Grey was hitting every bestseller list, sweet/clean romances weren’t trending the way they are now. So, it’s important to remain aware of what’s hot in your market.
Using Keywords from your Metadata
You’ve probably read my articles on finding good keyword strings for your Amazon KDP dashboard, or to give them to your publisher to add to your book page. But these Amazon keywords can also be used in your subtitle, too. And this is why having a subtitle on a book can be good, but also not so good – as I pointed our earlier.
The trick with a good subtitle is that you don’t want something that is just stuffed with keywords; it needs to make sense as well. In other cases, you want to make sure you’re appealing to the reader and what will attract them. For example, using the term “clean romance” or “fast-paced thriller” can help to focus the book towards key readers. So, something like this works:
But this book could probably use a subtitle that was more geared to pulling in new readers. Because if you aren’t familiar with who Poppy McVie is, you may not be inclined to grab this book.
As well, this book has a great, fun cover, but no subtitle, which I think could really help enhance the page:
Current & Trending Amazon Keywords
So, aside from trends like “clean romance”, “sweet romance” and “fast-paced” what else is trending on Amazon? Well, we turned up some interesting trends as it relates to new releases, book club recommendations and thrillers and mysteries. Let’s have a look.
First up, I’ve mentioned before that to rank on Amazon you need to follow the age-old “supply and demand” – which means that there’s a lot of demand, but little supply. You can tell this by the number of books that come up under a particular keyword string as well as the sales ranks of the books within that string.
Some of the hot, new Amazon keywords I’ve found are anything with “Book club recommendations” in them. So, this can be:
- Book club recommendations 2017
- Book club recommendations
- Book club recommendations mystery
…and so on. Using “Book club” in the keywords is a hot trend right now. As well, if you have a “new release,” by all means, add that to your keywords! You can further define it by adding your genre, such as mystery, self-help, etc. The other thing that I’m seeing a lot of in terms of keywords is the use of “Christian” ahead of the keywords.
So, for example, Christian romance, Christian mystery. So what falls under this umbrella? Well, for Christian mystery think Hallmark. The Hallmark Mystery channel is all about clean stories so while mystery, intrigue and solving a murder, the stories remain true to Hallmark standards and most are rated G. And while I have no data to back it up, I’m fairly certain the surge of Hallmark movies has pushed this clean romance and Christian trend on Amazon.
Staying on top of Amazon trends, keywords and new ways to get more exposure isn’t always easy. I try to report on it as much possibly and I’m happy to do your keywords and categories for you! Head on over here to get started!
I heard in March (2017) that Amazon was pulling ebooks with genres listed in the subtitles, because it was considered keyword stuffing, which violates the KDP TOS. Have you heard the same?
So I have not – however I always email Author Central to get their OK if the title isn’t on the book. I tell our authors to do that, too. Also, keyword stuff means that the keywords don’t make sense, so if the subtitle makes sense, it should always be fine. I still see a LOT of books on Amazon with no-subtitle on the book, but well on the Amazon page. Thanks for the comment!
I guess we could always make the tweak to our book covers, too…
YES! Per your other note!
Great article Penny. Do you think if I tried this and included the word erotic in my subtitle, I’d land myself in hot water?
I don’t think so – there are already a lot of books on Amazon with “erotic” in the title or subtitle!
Klasse Page. Danke.
I had Amazon contact me and tell me to remove the subtitle because they are not allowing any that do not appear on the cover of the book. That seems to go against what you are saying here.
It does, indeed – and I guess it would depend on what the subtitle was and did you get permission from AAC to do this? I always also recommend just emailing Author Central and making sure you get it in writing that you can use the subtitle. When I do it that way I’ve had no problems. If I were you, I’d try it again, start by emailing them and asking for written permission and the add it once you get the ok! Good luck! If you can do a follow up and let me know how it goes, that would be fab!
I’ve just emailed, so we’ll see what they say. Both are short “A novel of Victoria Woodhull” and “A romantic comedy.”
Good luck! Really hoping you get this approved!
The person who responded obviously did not understand my question. They just sent me step-by-step instructions on how to change my subtitle. *sigh* It wasn’t a no, so I’m going to try it and see if I get another nasty-gram from Amazon.
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