This past weekend Bob Mayer and I were at a conference in Denver where we gave a workshop together on The Future of Publishing for the Writer. After he dazzled them with his wit about how to be a successful author, I put them to sleep with talk of html, coding, and other finer aspects of using InDesign, file conversions and photoshop…
It is important for the writer to understand some basics when it comes to the tech side of the business, regardless of the path of publication. Education is power. As I’ve said before, you don’t need to know how to do it, just understand the basics so you know exactly what you are getting into. However, as we discussed in the workshop there are a few things every author needs to know in order to maximize what I call “under the radar marketing”.
Metadata, Keywords and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are three things an Author must know and use to help create Discoverability. These are UNDER THE RADAR MARKETING and they are much more important than social media. I can hear the screams…Let me explain. Social media will help you develop a community, but social media really doesn’t sell books. The way to sell books is to get in front of readers and the way to get in front of readers is to get your information, your book, at their fingertips.
In the beginning, your name means nothing. Your title means nothing. Oh, the screams are getting louder. Here is why, people don’t know they are searching for you–they are searching for a keyword, phrase, place, question, food…not you. Most of the time we stumble upon things when we do searches. We stumble on new authors when looking at other authors, or searching for other authors, or titles we know about. 95% of the published authors out there are not known. I’m not saying that to be discouraging, but if we don’t look at the realities, we can’t beging to change ours and move up in discoverabilty.
Metadata, if you are traditionally published you don’t have that much control over…except you can go into your Amazon Author Page and change your metadata…yep, you can. You can also look at what the publisher is putting out there for your book (cover copy) and use some of the KEYWORDS found there in other places. When I work with authors I use techniques found in the book titled Primalbranding by Patrick Hanlon. The first part is creating a creation story. This is a great place to find keywords to brand your name. Pick a couple keywords from that, but make sure they are keywords that make sense. You can use things like Google to check out keywords, or go to Amazon and just start plugging in keywords and see what you get. And of course, there is an App for that. I downloaded and SEO app on my iMac and I use that to look at Keywords.
Every Google yourself? Of course you have. I do it all the time–but more to see if there are any mentions of me. I also use Google Alerts for that. But here is something else that is going to make you scream…Commanding your page isn’t as important as commanding keyword searches. One thing I do on the Write It Forward Blog and now Bob’s new Blog for Readers is I look at the keywords searches that people did that had them end up on our blog. I use the analytics to show me where people clicked in and out of and what pages they visited. This is key information because I can tell if I’m on the right track for our metadata and keywords.
Start Googling your Keywords and specific phrases of your Metadata and see what shows up. The best way to develop discoverabiltiy is to be featured on a homepage, or bestseller list or targeted email from something like Barnes and Noble, but the next best thing is to make sure your using the right keywords.
How do you know? Google the keywords you want to use and look at who comes up. Study their metadata. Go to their websites and blogs and see what common phrases they use. Connect the dots, then apply it to your Under The Radar Marketing Plan.
Next week I’m heading to the Marketing and Discoverabilty Conference in NYC. I will have more to report on all this later.