Amazon Marketing Strategies – Tags and Lists

Once my novels became available on Amazon.com I ramped up the viral marketing on those Amazon pages in the hope of getting them to show up more often in book searches and hopefully sell more copies. If you want people to know your books are out there, you have to work hard to get them noticed. Probably the two most powerful tools on Amazon for making a book stand out are Tags and Listmania lists.

Tags As you probably know, tagging is the practice of adding keywords to a book that then get caught by searches, like metatags on web pages. Book tags on Amazon can be pretty much anything, but the more often a tag is added to a book, the more likely that book is to show near the top of a keyword search. The real rub is that the tags added by Joe Public get more weight than the tags added by the author or publisher. After all, if tagging is supposed to reflect community impressions, there’s no point in letting the writer or publisher try to sway that opinion.

It’s a good idea to start off by adding all the tags you can think of to your own work, then ask family, friends, your blog readers and so on to go in and add their tags. They can repeat the tags you’ve made, raising the chances of your book being shown in a search for those words, or add new tags of their own. By hitting the ‘T’ key twice on your Amazon page, a quick tag box will appear making it easy for people to add their tags to your book. It only takes a few seconds. An example of the tags section of an Amazon page (after double tapping the ‘T’ key)

Try to encourage people to build up the numbers of existing tags rather than just adding loads more. The more times a book is hit with a particular tag, the more relevant it will appear to Amazon searches.

Listmania This is something for those people with a bit more time to devote to you, which is a big ask. Listmania is like a refined search on Amazon where someone has already gone to the trouble of doing a search and listing the top results. Naturally, they’ve searched with their own bias (and in their own minds) and their tastes shine through any given list, but it’s altogether possible that their tastes and yours will be similar.

Hence, if you search Listmania for “urban fantasy” today you get:

1. Urban and new-age fantasy for chicks

2. Upcoming Urban Fantasy 2008 – Part I

3. Hot Urban Fantasy with Vampires, Shapeshifters, Paranormal & More

4. Urban Fantasy Romance Series

5. Private Investigators and Crime Solvers in Urban Fantasy …and so on.

This is a method that puts similar books with each other and helps to raise any given book’s profile by comparing it to others that people may know. For example, there were a couple of Listmania lists for the original edition of RealmShift that included books like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. Aside from being very high praise, it gives people the idea that if they enjoyed American Gods, they’ll probably enjoy RealmShift too. It can put your books on a similar standing to something people already know.

If you get your readers to make Listmania lists using this method then your book will crop up in all kinds of searches and be indistinguishable from the other books on that list. If the lists are carefully constructed to appeal to fans of your genre or subject matter, then random sales can occur to people that would never have known your book existed otherwise.

Listmania, like Tags, are far more effective when they’re made by readers rather than by writers or publishers. So try to convince some friends and/or fans to put aside a few minutes and knock up a Listmania or two for your books. They should include your work on a list with a variety of other similar (well known) books. You can learn about Listmania and make a new list by clicking here. These are two very simple tools on Amazon that anyone can use and that can greatly increase the profile of your books.

Alan is an indie author and publisher with two dark fantasy novels in print – RealmShift and MageSign. You can learn all about him at his website.

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