{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Maggie December 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm


Once your book is ‘live’ on Amazon, you get to choose 15 words or phrases they call ‘tags’. Others can also add tags, or they can agree with some (or all) of yours. Tags appear beneath the reviews section. Before creating your own, check out a few books of the same genre to yours and see what tags have been added to them.


adan lerma December 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm

maggie, ah, i know where you mean now, thanks so much ;-)


Kristen Eckstein December 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Joel – great post! Discoverability is key, and part of that is a decent book cover (which as you know is just as important in a thumbnail on a search as the physical bookstore shelf) and good formatting of the interior. Unfortunately I’ve seen many Kindle books get poor reviews due to crappy formatting of the interior and coding issues. The content might be great, but if it’s not readable it’s not worth discovering. Keep up the great posts!


adan lerma December 9, 2011 at 4:36 am

hi joel, did want to say i saw your email alert for this article yesterday, but couldn’t get to my mail then, but i saved it, cause it definitely caught my interest ;-)

i’ve spent the past week taking a break from digitizing and ebooking a ton of content (from the past 30+ years) and been concentrating on just these things, updating keywords, cleaning up press releases (some allow you to tweak them) etc

it’s fun, but it does make me more “ready” to get back to my content work ;-)

anyway, thanks so much, your articles are great!


Joel Friedlander December 9, 2011 at 10:41 am

adan, it’s a tremendous advantage to be able to go into e-publishing with a big backlist, and well worth your time to get it right. Good luck with the project.


adan lerma December 9, 2011 at 4:33 am

maggie, i’m familiar with the 7 uploading keywords, but not sure about the 15 allowed tags? on the product page?

can you tell me a bit more about that, i’m checking my listings out meanwhile of course, thanks for the heads up ;-)


maggie Dana December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm

One more thing … remind me to tell you about the hilarious back and forth I had with Amazon about a book’s categories. Would you believe they don’t even offer YA or even age-groups for childrens’ books when filling out their forms?


Joel Friedlander December 8, 2011 at 6:39 pm

I have a lot of problems with their categories also, and I’m trying to get an idea of what’s behind some of their decisions regarding categories, given how strongly they emphasize discoverability themselves. Mysteries, mysteries. . .


Maggie Dana December 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

I’ve read, in many places, that Amazon’s algorithms for searchability are opaque and constantly moving.

The best thing authors can do is to think long and hard about the 7 keywords they choose when filling out their book’s uploading form; then to choose, with equal care, the 15 allowed tags on their book’s product page.


Roh Morgon December 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Very timely post, and extremely helpful.

I checked my Amazon listing for my latest book, and lo and behold – no tags.

Fixed that in a hurry, and am now off to see what else I need to do to bump it a little more into spotlight.



Roger C. Parker December 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

Dear Joel:
I don’t understand–is it me, but it often seems like the best blog posts receive the fewest comments.

Your one-word concept of “discoverable” is great, but I am puzzled by the lack of reader rapture.

btw, I thought Andy’s comment and question were great. The plot of his book sounds like something that would happen to me–if I had a job, of course.

Great posts, lately, Joel!


Joel Friedlander December 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Roger, I had exactly the same thought today. I posted this while in Seattle last night, and I was very excited about the concepts in this short article. To be honest, I thought it was one of the most important posts I’ve done recently. Just the unending mysteries of blogging. Thanks for your pertinent feedback.


Andy December 8, 2011 at 5:03 am

More info! How do we ensure that a book getts bumped to the top of the results list. Fiction is even more of conundrum. I have written a lightly humorous book called “Oh What a Lucky Man” about a man who loses his job, wins a $216 millinon lottery jackpot, but misplaces the ticket—all in the same day. What kind of Meta data would you include to zip my book to the top of the heap?


Roger C. Parker December 8, 2011 at 10:40 am

Dear Andy and Joel:
I wonder if it would help to draw parallels between your book and other “Oh what a day” books, i.e., “similar to Thurber,” or Jean Shepherd, Seinfeld, or etc.?

Sort of like the Dortmunder series by Donald Westlake. Perhaps add a comment to the Wikipedia page on the Dortmunder character?

Best wishes…Roger


Joel Friedlander December 8, 2011 at 2:00 pm

That’s a great strategy, Roger, to point to similar books in your product description or reviews or elsewhere, and it can be used by any fiction author.


Andy December 9, 2011 at 5:26 am


Brilliant idea. I’ll give that a try. Thanks for the suggestion.


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