Marketing For Authors: How To Select And Bid On Keywords (Step-By-Step Guide)

An author's cup of coffee and laptop computer.

As an author living in this digital age, Search Engines and Amazon can be a few of your best friends. Digital advertising for indie authors can seem especially daunting, but today, I'm going to share some awesome tips with you that will hopefully remove that shroud of intimidation, and arm you with the confidence you need to build your very own search engine or amazon marketing services campaign.

Successful keyword marketing is multi-faceted, and I'd be lying if I told you there was a quick and easy fix. Building a comprehensive keyword-driven ad campaign on Google, Bing & Yahoo, or Amazon, can take dozens of hours. But since your campaign can launch now, and be improved upon later, you can work on it in your spare time while still driving qualified traffic to your web site or Amazon product page.

I won't cover technical basics, because there are already 1,001 articles and videos out there that can teach you the basics of search engine marketing, the different keyword match types, etc. Rather, I'll share with you what sets the awesome campaigns apart from the crummy ones, and I'll get straight to the meat of it all, with suggestions for an angle of attack. Here's the first thing you should do before launching your keyword advertising campaign: Create a list of your 10 favorite books that are like yours, and your 10 favorite authors that are like you. See how easy that was? You already have your first 20 keywords! Next: Use Google's Keyword Planning Tools to find variations of these keywords. Not everyone searches for things the way you do. One person's "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep In Paperback" query might be another person's "Best Sci Fi Electric Android Sheep Book". Use the free tools available to you to determine not only what people are searching for, but which searches are more prevalent so that you can priotitize your campaign build, adding only the best and most popular keywords first.

Make sure you have shotgun keywords, sniper rifle keywords, and everything in between. I'm not referring to the marketing of firearms here. I'm talking about the broadest keywords you can imagine. "Books, Novels, Fiction, Fiction Books, Fiction Novels, etc." These are your afforementioned shotgun keywords. Leverage these super broad keywords properly, and you'll be surprised how many of your book sales come from people browsing broad keywords like these.

A.C. Hachem's Dawn of Legaia

On the other end of the spectrum, you can have keywords like, "Debut Science Fiction Authors Los Angeles", or "Best New Cyberpunk Novels 2017". Too often, I see campaigns that have way too many of one type or another. More often than not, it's the shotgun terms that are far too prevalent, so make sure the keywords in your account have a healthy balance between broad, focused, and in between.

By now, you should have somewhere between 50 and 150 keywords in your new ad campaign. This is a great starting point. Add ad copy, budgetary caps, etc. and let it rip! Make sure you analyze the results as often as your schedule permits. This will quickly curb over-spending, wasteful spending, and any other mistakes that may have slipped through the cracks.

Keyword marketing will never be a "set it and forget it" form of advertising. The more time and attention you give it, the better it will perform.

Make sure either you or the platform you're using are tracking your sales. If you can't quantify your results, you have no way of making intelligent changes to improve your campaign performance. I'm no fan of guessing games, and hopefully, you aren't either.

And lastly, don't worry about having vast variation in your bids. Some clicks might cost you $0.36, while others cost you $4.17. It's perfectly acceptable for a healthy AdWords or AMS campaign to have such variation in its bid structure. What's far more important is what you're getting out of those clicks, or how often they're "converting". Because at the end of the day, your goal is to sell as many copies of your book as you can, given your marketing budget.

Hope this helps or at least steers you in the right direction. And if you're looking for a more hands-on consultation, don't hesiate to drop me a line at info at achachem dot com to learn more about my author marketing services.



Sci-fi author A.C. Hachem in a suit.

A.C. Hachem is a science fiction author and digital marketing professional in Los Angeles, CA. To learn more about his literary work, please visit To learn more about his search engine and social media marketing expertise, please email info at achachem dot com.

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