Tuesday 1 November 2016

Readers, how do you find books?

I've been thinking a lot lately about how readers discover books.

To give you some background, for readers who may not know, all e-book retailers are basically search engines. The idea is when a reader is looking for a new book to read, she'll head over to her favourite e-book retailer (Amazon or Google Play Books or Kobo, or whatever) and punch something into the search box there. She will then browse through the results that the retailer returns, and select her next read.

Besides the title and product description, there are two things that cause a book to show up in these results. The first is the book's category, and the second is a list of keywords that the author or publisher enters to describe the book.

Amazon and Smashwords are both rather restrictive, and allow self-published authors to choose up to two categories for our books. Kobo allows up to three, and Google Play allows as many as you want. Which is great, because more often than not, a given book falls into more than two or three categories.

I've been struggling to come up with which categories are the best fit for my books. I think that stems from the fact that as authors, the way we search for books is drastically different from the way readers do.

I Need Your Help

Readers, I need your help! If you were searching for a book to read, what would you put into Amazon's (or Kobo's, or Google Play's) search box?

Let's Play a Game

In fact, let's play a game: Imagine you're on the lookout for a book to read. Take the keywords you would enter into your favourite retailer's search engine, and instead, enter them into the comments below.

You don't have to explain anything - just enter your search string into the comments.

It may sound rather silly, but it will help give me and other authors valuable insights into what readers are looking for - for example, does anybody ever actually type "Juvenile Fiction" into a search box?

I really appreciate your time. Don't forget, you can get a free e-book in exchange for signing up to my e-mail newsletter. Click here for more info.

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