Friday, July 15, 2011
How Do We Effectively Promote? Or...Let's Talk About Tags on Amazon
I believe I have all the steps memorized. Yet, I find myself turning into a lackadaisical author who loves to write, sign contracts, edit (yes, I like the editing process—if I have a nice editor who doesn't scold me), see a book cover for the first time, but then….the difficult part stares me in the face.
How do I promote this book? As of this month, I now have eleven releases scattered among six publishers. Some have done fairly well; others seem to sit there. I admit, like most of us, that I have my favorites, those I wish more and more readers would find.
In addition to the usual website, blog, FB, Twitter, LinkdIn, various Yahoo loops, and a few .ning loops, there are numerous tricks to the trade that I vaguely understand, but I don't have the energy to implement them.
For example, Tagging on Amazon: Theoretically, "tags" help sell our books. I've read explanations by other authors, and always wonder…"exactly how does this work?" Here is Amazon's explanation about tags:
TAGS: Find other items with similar qualities: Are you a photography enthusiast? Find a photography book that you love and tag it with the category "photography book." Click on the "photography book" tag you created and see other items that were tagged similarly. Because people's tags are (by default) visible to others, a great effect of tagging is that you can navigate among items through other people's tags. Add a tag and check out what other items people have tagged as "robot" or "gardening" or "chocolate." Also, you can assign as many tags as you wish to each product, so tag away!
I was under the impression that the more your friends tag your books, the higher your book rises in the "ranking,"--do they mean "numbering?"-- thereby making it easier to find. Hmmm. I'm not sure about that. The process seems nebulous and bewildering. And this explanation from Amazon does not mention repeating one tag many times.
With my scientific background put to use, I tested this phenomenon the best I could, and this is what I learned:
Suppose I was a customer looking for Western Historical Romances. Using Books/Kindle Store, I would type in "Western Historical Romances." Up pops a list of hundreds of WHR novels in numerical order. How does a book get a number? By the number of times WHR has been clicked on the tags? No, I don't think so.
First, there are Rankings on your Buy page for each book as to where it stands among the millions of books on Amazon. I usually just look at the Kindle books because for romance books, more are sold for the Kindle than the prints. This ranking will appear as something like #1000 in the Kindle store.
Then there are numbered lists for every category imaginable. Examples: (I left out the author's name)
Category: Western Historical Romances:
1. Wild Montana Sky Series-Ranked #315 in Kindle Store (on this buy page, WHR was clicked 9 times)
2. Her Montana Man-Ranked #22,004 in Kindle Store (on this Buy page, WHR was clicked 0 times—in fact, this book had no tags at all)
3. Widow Woman-Ranked #7,548 in Kindle Store (on this Buy page, WHR was clicked hundred over a hundred times.)
(This list contained about 500+ WHR.)
So for this category, the numbers tell a story: Her Montana Man, had No Tags At All, not even for WHR, yet it is numbered one above Widow Woman that had WHR clicked over a hundred times. If tagging helps, then shouldn't Widow Woman be above Her Montana Man? In fact, shouldn't Widow Woman be in the Number 1 position under Western Historical Romances?
Why am I bringing this up? For the simple reason that I feel somewhat amiss because I don't tag books unless I'm on that Buy page for some other reason and I think of it. The practice seems time-consuming, and unless someone tells me otherwise, I just don't believe it's so necessary.
If anyone sees a flaw in my logic, please point it out.
If anyone understands how a novel is assigned a number under a category, please point it out.
What is your position or belief about Tags on Amazon?
Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas