Friday, January 11, 2013

Tags, Likes and Selling Books

Every where I turn, writers are talking about LIKES and TAGS on Amazon. I have to admit, a few weeks ago I didn’t have a clue what they were all about.
They were just there. I’d click the LIKE  button when I wanted to encourage the author (I figured it couldn’t hurt)—but I’ve never added tags to anyone’s page. I’m still pretty fuzzy about both.

Author Vonnie Davis writes the Honky Tonk Heart series. I met her on The Wild Rose Press Promo loop. She explains TAGS this way:

Tags are shopping tools for readers. Kinda like walking into a massive shoe store. You don't have the time to look at every pair, so you tell the cashier you want a pair of red stilettos with a black bow in a size 8. The cashier brings you 6 pair that meets your list of criteria. Your shopping experience is now streamlined and saves you time. This is what book tags do.

Let's say I want a historical romance with a cowboy who has a dog, because I'm a big dog lover. When I go to Amazon to find a couple book suggestions out of the millions offered, I'll type in "romance, historical, cowboy, dog." Then a list of books with those tags pops up.

What you want to do is list tags—or shopping tools—to help direct readers to your book. Always include your name and the publisher's name, romance, then sub-genre of romance like historical or paranormal or time-travel, and also list anything that readers might be drawn to.

Now, go to your book's listing...where a customer would go to order your e-book.   Scroll down till you see:

You'll find a little box to enter your tags. Click on "save tags." Or move your curser off the box after you've listed them and hit your "t" key twice in rapid succession. Another little box comes up, asking if you agree to the tags. Click your answer and this saves them.

Vonnie made it pretty clear, didn't she?
There’s a group on FaceBook called Amazon Tags Author Assist. They’re a group of writers committed to helping each other by going to the product links of other authors and agreeing  with the tags by clicking on them. Groups like this are forming like crazy!

Do they help?
One post I read on another site suggested that Likes and Tags “keep your book from dying in obscurity.”

Is it true?
The best post I’ve read on this subject is from M. Louisa Locke. Locke gives a very thorough study on how to tag and why you should. She also discusses how self-published authors, by their choice of categories, keywords, and tags, can increase the chances that readers will find their books in an ebook store. She offers strategies: You can’t afford to ignore this post. Locke has an updated post too.

Since becoming a TWRP author, and being privy to their promotional tips, I’ve become frantically aware of what’s ahead of me. It’s frightening how hard authors have to work on promotion.

One thing that has definitely hit home: we’re promoting our books, yes, but we’re promoting ourselves first. Our books and titles will change—we’ll write more and more and more (I hope). Our names should be recognizable.

Lesson learned: We have to FB, tweet, blog, visit other blogs, leave comments and form relationships. We have to be friendly and TALK to people. (Sigh) I’m tired and my novella isn’t even fully edited yet! We have to get our names out there, and the sales will follow—we hope.
One thing  Vonnie Davis suggests is that authors should participate in blog tours and schedule a spot at 4-5 places a week for 2-4 weeks. This generates buzz and yes, this is for each release! People get to hear about our new book AND they'll get to know us better. Sound fun?

It has always been said and I believe it’s true: relationships sell books.  Now go get on all those social sites and make some new friends!

How do you feel about tags, likes, and promotion in general?

Do you have any tips you’d like to share?
For more info on Vonnie Davis, see the Vonnie Davis Website and check out those Vonnie Davis Books.


LD Masterson said...

I'm keeping this post in my reference folder. The whole tag thing has always confused me.

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

Sadly, I deleted this comment by accident. I've been forced to approve all my comments because of a spammer. when I touch 'publish' on my iPhone, sometimes I hit 'reject' by mistake. I always appreciate Lexa Cain's comments:

Lexa Cain has left a new comment on your post "Tags, Likes and Selling Books":

The whole promotion thing kinda freaks me out, so I really appreciate the info and advice you have here. Maybe by the time I have a book to promote, it won't seem so scary! :-)

Charles Gramlich said...

I haven't been doing tags and still don't quite understand them. I'll study your post and the others. I guess I better learn. I do likes for others books. Promotion does make me pretty tired.

Lynn said...

Great advice, that I'll use at some point :-) - the whole promoting thing can be quite exhausting especially for introverts!