How to Select Keywords for Your eBook

On 28 February 2013 I read an article on Joanna Penn’s blog about choosing Categories and Keywords for eBooks. I followed the process and my sales began to take off. I blogged about that here.

Yesterday, I read a new article by Jordan Smith about the use of keywords. Following Jordan’s process I went into, keyed in the 7 keywords that I had chosen for my WW2 book, The Black Orchestra, and jotted down the number of hits. Here’s what I found:

WW2 13,818 hits: mostly history books and historical memoirs

WW2 historical 4,518 hits: History

WW2 Germany 1,752 hits: Poor rankings

Spy story 3,771 hits: History, some erotica. Poor rankings

Thriller 17,878 hits

Series 341,000 hits!

All of these figures are too high. My book is buried under enormous piles of (mostly irrelevant, non-fiction books or books about erotica). Spy story is the only one of my keywords doing any real work!

Searching for better keywords (or key phrases) I found these:

WW2 Historical fiction 2,051 hits

Spy thriller 6,918

WW2 spy story 373

WW2 spy thriller 139

WW2 action 859

WW2 action adventure 717

WW2 German resistance 63

WW2 Coming of age 105

WW2 fiction series 543

WWII historical fiction 1,319

WWII fiction 2,084

WW ii historical fiction 2,238

WW ii fiction 3,618

I held onto WW2, but replaced all of my other keywords with 6 selected from the above list.


Houdini's HandcuffsFor my Irish detective novel, Houdini’s Handcuffs, the keywords I had in place were these:

Crime 166,205

Crime thriller 123,220

Irish 36,278

Organized crime 6,540

Irish crime 1,433

Ben Jordan 29

Series 341,000

These figures are hopeless. After some research I reset my keywords as follows:

Organized crime fiction 4,052

Irish crime fiction 1,144

Irish detective 1,090

Irish detective mystery 1,032

Irish crime thriller 968

Irish detective series 385

Irish crime novel 162

It will be a while before I know if these new keywords are more effective than the old ones, but my hopes are high.

Read Jordan Smith’s article and try it for yourself.