At the start of January I began reading up on the Amazon algorithms and how they are supposed to work. In an attempt to gain an understanding and maybe even increase sales a little. I read a few conflicting stories, but the basics were all the same. Make use to tags, the Amazon search functionality works on the principle as those on Google, trying to predetermine what it is you are looking for and thereby offer multiple suggestions based on this attempted precognition.
So, the first step was to tweak the keywords, right. I read up and they said avoid using the same keyword as your genre, that is already covered, but rather try to go a little off-piste with the words you use. Not so much as to lie, but to be creative, thinking outside the box and into the mind of what people would search for.
I came up with a list of 7 new keywords, using a combination of things that I hoped people might search for.
- British Horror
- British Fiction
- Angels and Demons
- Life After Death
- End of Days
I know they probably aren’t the strongest , but they were better than what I had, or so I thought.
Sales in January failed to make it even half way towards double figures across all my works. The final two weeks were with the new keywords, which leads me to think that either, what I read was a load of nonsense, or my keywords need some serious readjustment.
I will give these keywords another week or so, just to ensure they are not working, and then I will revisit them again. Tweaking them here and there, keeping them active.
The other thing I remember reading was that the book description carries a lot more weight than I ever realized. A few blogs I read all agreed that you should use at least 500 words, maybe even the full 800 capacity for your description. It should be written from an SEO perspective, using your primary keywords at around 3-5% density. I had never really thought of writing my description from this perspective, but surely it is worth a try.
Not that think I could write a 500 word description for my short story collections, but I am game. When sales are so low, every extra is a big plus, so what do I have to lose. If that doesn’t work then you have to wonder what is going wrong.
I follow the rules, I promote on Social Media, and link groups and pages on Tuesday and Friday / Saturday basis, I engage with people and sites, share and play along with the games that some seem intent on playing. Where other see success, or at least improvement I see stasis. Are my books really the sort of novel that you pick up in the store, read the blurb, consider buying and then replace, picking instead the title next-door?
Maybe my writing isn’t mainstream enough, covering topics people dislike or feel uncomfortable reading? Those are questions for another time. Until then, we shall keep blaming Amazon and their strange system.