Most readers will search online for books they’re interested in. Because there are so many books available, you have to make it as easy as possible for that reader to find YOUR book. So, how do you do this? Simple. You need to have clear-cut and effective information. I’ll use two of my books as examples: “Walking Through Walls” and “How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book.” The details are in the metadata.
1. The book title. While “Walking Through Walls” doesn’t clearly convey what the story is about, it’s grabbing. It’s not always possible to have your title convey exactly what the story is about. Otherwise, I would have had a title like: Ancient Chinese Tale of Boy Seeking Riches. But because of the lack of clarity in some titles, everything else needs to hit home. It should anyway, but especially if the title lacks clarity. In the opposite direction, “How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book” couldn’t be much clearer.
2. The subtitle. The subtitle should elaborate on the title. It should have keywords that will help the reader get a better understanding of what the book is about. As not all books have a subtitle, again, make the rest of the metadata make up for it.
3. The genre. The genre is like a filing cabinet. “Walking Through Walls” is a ‘children’s book’ (the filing cabinet). This is the main category – the genre. Within that genre are the drawers to the filing cabinet. Opening one of the drawers, it’s a chapter book. Opening another, it’s a middle grade. Opening another, it’s a fantasy. Opening another, it’s based on an ancient Chinese tale. There are other keywords for the book, but you get the idea. The genre for “How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book” is self-help / study guide book. The title itself notes that it’s a book on writing for children, and writing fiction.
4. The categories. Categories are critical. This is how readers looking for a specific type of book will find yours. “Walking Through Walls” categories are: -Children's Mulitcultural Literature -Children's Chapter Books -Children's Fantasy & Magic Books To illustrate the importance of the power of categories for ranking, Walking Through Walls isn't even near the ball park in Amazon's overall "Books" category. As of the day I wrote this article, the ranking in the very general BOOKS category was 7,052,426. Keep in mind that this is the category for every book for sale on Amazon. BUT it was: #5,048 in Children's Multicultural Literature #20,902 in Children's Chapter Books #70,983 in Children's Fantasy and Magic Books But, wait. On the same day, “How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book” ranked #144,974 in the general BOOKS category. But it ranked: #2,336 in Study Guides & Workbooks #11,283 in Literary Fiction (Books) #21,454 in Self-Help (Books) I hadn’t look at these statistics before – I was surprised! Let’s think about this for a minute. Amazon’s largest product category is books, and according to ScrapHero, Amazon had 52.7M for sale in 2021. So, it’s not bad to be 70,983 in any category. But to be #5,048 in a category is good in terms of the entire BOOKS category. And to be #2,336 in a generalized category as Study Guides & Workbooks and #21,454 in Self-Help, I’m feeling good about it. Categories influence ranking. Again, this is how readers search for books they want to read or buy for someone else. A Side Note: According to Self-Publishing Advice Amazon’s sales rank algorithm is relatively simple: 1. Each sale or download of a product counts as one point toward a hypothetical “rank score”. 2. Each day, the preceding day’s score decreases by half, and is added to today’s points. 3. For each category on Amazon, books are ranked based on their current scores. I’m not sure #2 seems simple, but bottom line, ranking is associated with sales.
5. The book description. Usually, the first thing that grabs a reader is a book’s cover and title. Once grabbed, the reader goes to the back cover. It's the back cover copy (the description) that can close the deal. While online buyers won’t actually see your physical book, they will see the description of your book. They may know it’s the genre they want, but it’s the description that will give them the information—the details—they’ll need to say ‘yea or nay’. The description needs to have keywords and needs to grab the reader, entice the reader to want to find out more. This is what the publisher used as a description for “Walking Through Walls:” Twelve-year-old Wang longed to be an Eternal. He craved wealth … and power, not slaving on a farm. Wang had higher goals. His father said the Eternals were a myth, but Wang knew they existed, and would search for the truth, with the dream of a dragon to help him. "Walking Through Walls" is a fantasy chapter book based on an ancient Chinese tale, providing a magical adventure. Pay attention to the keywords that give information and will spark the readers imagination: -twelve-year-old (the reader will know it’s for the 8-12 age group) -the Eternals (leans toward fantasy) -myth (leans toward a fantasy) -dragon (adventure, fantasy, magical) -fantasy -chapter book -ancient Chinese tale -magical adventure
“How to Write a Children’s Fiction Book” has a very long description on Amazon. It actually breaks down the eight sections in the book, so it gives a lot of details and keywords. The readers will have no doubt what the book is about and whether it will be helpful to them.
For a book series, you need to make other information easily findable also. This includes the author name and the publisher. If they don’t know the title of the next book in a series, they can easily find it if they know the author name. Searching through the publisher can also be helpful to the reader. You want have as much metadata out there as you can.
Whether you need help with ghostwriting, rewriting, or coaching, let me take a look at your children’s story. Just send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put “Children’s Writing” in the Subject box. Or, give me a call at 347---834---6700. Let’s get your idea off the launch pad or your outline into a publishable and marketable story today! Or, if you'd rather give it a shot and do-it-yourself, check out my book, HOW TO WRITE A CHILDREN'S FICTION BOOK.