Self Publishing – the impact of great SEO book titles and copy
I spent some time chatting with an author today about self publishing their book – and exactly HOW to make the book stand out ‘SEO-wise’ on the various online bookstores and search engines (Google Book Search specifically).
Creating great SEO for your book starts long before the book publishing process is complete (or even started in most cases) and you are ready to create a web site. It actually starts back when you planned your book… even as far back as when you worked up the book title.
The title of your book is the first place you should start creating a great SEO strategy for your book – especially if you are self publishing. This is the primary vehicle the majority of the places you will sell your book online (Amazon, B&N, etc.) will use to locate your book.
Shouldn’t your most important key words be there? It’s a fairly straightforward process that is all too often overlooked or forgotten.
There are just four steps to ensuring your self published book’s title and cover copy work hard to promote your book:
- Identify the key word or phrase that describes your book – Let’s say your book is on self publishing – use that phrase in the primary title for your book. Often the temptation is to get too creative with your title – let’s use the self publishing company Dog Ear Publishing as an example. Their tag line is “Express Yourself in Print” … That’s a terrible title for a book – even though it sounds more creative and unique than ‘self publishing.’ It doesn’t succinctly (and in a way people search) explain what the book is about…
- Check the key phrase in Amazon, Google, B&N etc – Does a search for the phrase you want in your title actually deliver books that are similar to yours? If not, then you’ve not chosen the right set of keywords – maybe look up some books you know address your market (doesn’t matter if they are self published or not) and take a look at the keywords / tags listed down at the bottom of the page.
- Create a descriptive and supportive sub title – Write something that, if possible, lists your keyword or key phrase again. In this case for Dog Ear Publishing we need to incorporate the phrase ‘self publishing’ in something that actually tells the reader why they should purchase the book (and what they will get once they do…)
- Build key word rich back cover text – Your back cover text should contain the same key words or phrases that exist in your book title and subtitle. Our inclination as authors it too often to try and ‘hook’ the reader with random exciting text from within the book – which is fine, just make sure you find a way to incorporate your keywords. Don’t assume either the reader or search engines know what you mean when you say ‘… this topic …’ – say exactly what you mean like this ‘… self publishing …’
Let’s tie it all together – Dog Ear Publishing is publishing a book about self publishing (not surprising since they are a self publisher…). They wanted to title their book “Express Yourself In Print” … a nice, creative, fluffy title that would work well on a brick-and-mortar shelf but is terrible on the web (where most books will be sold). We’ve talked them out of it… now the book is titled:
Self Publishing Insider
Next challenge is adding a descriptive sub title that speaks both to the search engines and to the reader. The sub title chosen by Dog Ear was “The Evolution of Self Publishing” … hmm… not entirely sure what that means, though it does contain the key phrase ‘self publishing.’ However it contains another ‘high search’ word ‘evolution’ that is pretty much NEVER associated with the phrase self publishing. Let’s see if we can do better – the goal, according to Dog Ear, is to communicate that this is a comprehensive guide to the process of self publishing a book using a brand new market model. OK, that makes sense and is a good angle for a book… we did some digging and found that ‘self publishing guide’ was a great search phrase that was often used in searches on Google. Dog Ear didn’t particularly care for the term – too generic – so we spiced it up (sub titles can be pretty long…) focusing on the comprehensive nature of the book to:
The Ultimate Self Publishing Guide
Voila – a title with wonderful SEO qualities that helps the book publisher (and author) get their book found out on the web. Amazon will love it, Google will love it – and best of all? It tells everyone exactly what the book is about… Now, all that needs to be done is for the copywriters to use the words self publishing, self publishing insider, and ultimate self publishing guide in the copy on the back cover. Not too big a stretch!