...And How to Improve It in Under an Hour

By Leslie D. Davis

Perhaps you’ve noticed… Your local bookstores have been closed. And yet, more people are turning to books now than perhaps ever before. CNBC reported that during the first month of widespread stay-at-home orders as the COVID-19 pandemic swept in, there was a whopping 777% increase in book sales! And if these sales are going up and up (and up!) while everyone is quarantined in their homes, you know what that means… It’s happening online.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re a published author already, how does that over-all 777% increase compare with changes in your own books’ sales during that same period of time? Are you benefiting from the boom in sales, or is your book lost in the static somehow? And if you aren’t yet published, how can you prepare yourself to benefit the most from the changing landscape of bookselling, which has steadily transitioned more and more to online sales over the past decade?

The books that are selling most are the ones that are found most easily on search engines (like, say, Amazon). And the books that are found most easily are invariably the ones with the strongest metadata. Ergo, improved metadata means improved sales. And in an environment where sales are already going up exponentially, this is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

How do you catch this wave?

First, educate yourself on the basics of SEO and metadata. Second, research your book’s competition to see what keywords they’re using that might be helping them to appear in more search results. Then, steal a page from their books. (See what I did there?) Draft a list of keywords and key phrases that shoppers are likely to be typing into a search bar when they’re looking for a book like yours. And lastly, write or revise your book’s metadata, such as the book description and off-screen keywords, to include as many of those keywords as you can.

It takes a search engine’s algorithm some time to pick up on new data, but over the course of a couple weeks, you should see some growth in your page views and sales. Good luck!

Leslie D. Davis

is a book marketing consultant, editor, and writer specializing in metadata and Amazon marketing to drive online book sales. In her column on the IWC blog, she aims to help Indiana authors to market and publicize books better and to better understand the industry in general. Find her at lesliedavis.com.

Written by Indiana Writers Center — June 01, 2020

© Indiana Writers Center 2012