SlingWords Post – Indie Authors: Better Keywords Sell More Books

I was honored to be guest poster today on a great blog called SlingWords. You can read the brief post (500 words) on learning to use keywords more wisely, especially designed for Indie authors who want to sell ebooks.

http://slingwords.blogspot.com/2011/05/indie-authors-better-keywords-sell-more.html

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Smart Keyword Research Comes First

Excerpt from the book, Get On Google Front Page

keyword researchKeywords are essential to help search engines link your sites and books to certain words, terms or phrases. Keywords can be individual words like “diet” or “weight loss,” a set of words like “healthy weight loss,” or even phrases containing many words such as “eat all you want and still lose weight.” This is also the difference between short-tail and long-tail keywords, or the difference between targeting broad markets under heavy competition with other advertisers versus niche markets with less competition. It’s best to add keywords (both short-tail and long) to every site, blog, URL, title, article and location that has boxes for them, keywords that describe the content of what your site is about. But before we get into the details of how and where to insert keywords, we’re going to discuss at length how to discover which are your very best keywords.

Your very best keywords describe your website (and book’s) content and are being searched by lots of people with relatively low competition.

Okay, that was a mouthful but true. Certain keywords will only help if people are actually searching for them, and your site is relevant to that subject, and (hopefully) there is not a ton of competition. If the competition is low, then you’re golden and the climb to the front page can be quick. If the competition is high, you can still get to the top but it will take great SEO habits and more time.

Read the free Authonomy chapter here on this subject.

Read the first several chapters of this book’s free sample.

Get On Google Front PageAmazon US paperback and ebookPDF version handy with links for your computer

Amazon UK paperbackUK ebook

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#SellEbooks Twitter Hash-Tag

twitter bird hash tagsFor writers who want to sell ebooks, it comes as no surprise that social media is a helpful, if not mandatory, tool for self-promotion. I believe Facebook to be fairly straightforward to learn by anyone while Twitter is an often misunderstood entity. In all honesty, I don’t use Twitter anywhere near its potential which is something that needs to be addressed.

In a small effort, I’ve just started a Twitter hash tag for #sellebooks or #SellEbooks. The case isn’t sensitive to search engines, but it does help people recognize the words.

For those unfamiliar with hash tags, they are used to designate a category that can easily be searched and found by others interested in updates. Reportedly, the whole revolution began in 2007 with reports of the San Diego fire by someone adding the phrase #sandiegofire to their Twitter posts. Word spread that was the way to get updates and share updates on the event, and the phenomenon grew from there.

Twitter doesn’t regulate the hash tag community. Because Twitter’s search engine sees everything as individual words (or symbols), the phrase March Madness compared to #marchmadness will result in entirely different results depending on the phrasing of the search. Because the Twitter community is now thoroughly aware of hash tags for finding specific Tweets, it’s just a wise thing to do.

Anyway, if you’re into this whole ebook business, self-publishing, Indie author thing… please use #SellEbooks to accompany any Tweets that have to do with those subjects. It could start a forum of like-minded people as well as help your own self-promotion.

Click here for the home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.
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Format Docs for E-books

Article first published as Format Docs for Ebooks on Technorati.

Amazon Kindle format ebooksThere are two main ways writers sell ebooks: one is to have a pdf for download from their site and the other is via big retailers like Amazon. Selling from your own sites is predominantly with pdfs. (You can offer epub and mobi formats, but pdfs will be the huge majority of the downloads.) Most people know how to accomplish the first task, selling from their sites, but often get stymied when it comes to formatting for the big retailers. That’s a problem because that’s where the real potential for sales exist.

Fortunately, self-publishing this way is entirely free and it’s really not hard to format an e-book. In fact, it’s loads easier than formatting a printed book’s interior. A common misconception is that you must make the conversion to epub or mobi before uploading. Not true. If you work in MS Word, for example, the retailers will make the conversion as long as your document is properly prepared.

Remember that you’re dealing with small devices that come in different sizes, from large tablets like an iPad down to cell phone screens. The rule of thumb is to keep things simple so conversions to multiple devices should be as smooth as possible. Here’s a brief list to keep in mind:

  • Page numbers are obsolete for ebooks. If you have page numbers in the footer of your document, get rid of them. In general, both headers and footers should be removed.
  • Also not needed are tabs for indents. Use global indents consistently all the way through. MS Word has a useful show-hide feature that displays these things.
  • If you have a Table of Contents, use the bookmark feature to hyperlink to each chapter for reader ease of navigation.
  • Don’t use drop caps for the first letter in a chapter. A larger font size and/or bold works better.
  • Never use multiple paragraph returns to create breaks (e.g. for different chapters). Use page breaks instead.
  • Keep the font size at 12 or within a normal range like 11 to 14. In my experience, conversions work best at 12.
  • Use common fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, Garamond, Courier. Most devices have the option to choose font anyway so let the reader decide.
  • Keep images under 4 inches. Those tiny screens can’t handle big images.
  • Amazon Kindle (kdpamazon) and Barnes&Noble (Pubit) have Preview screens that show how your upload will look before publishing. Go through it and make alterations if needed.

For those who still need more details, there’s a free Style Guide written by Mark Coker of Smashwords that thoroughly explains all of these tips and more. If you decide in the end that you’re just not the do-it-yourself type for this project, there are plenty of professionals to help at reasonable rates. Then, of course, you’ll just need a front cover image to sell ebooks, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.

Click here for the home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.
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Get On Google Front Page, 2011 SEO Tips

Get On Google Front Page has just been released for 2011. This is my 5th book, and I’m really excited as it has potential to help a lot of people.

Get On Google Front Page by Jason MatthewsIt’s been a long road learning the business of ebooks and self publishing. At first this was something that had to be done for my novels, but then the whole endeavor became something valuable to share with others. Hence the last three books have been all about learning how to make and sell ebooks, how to make your own free website, and now this topic of rising in search engine rankings with White hat, free, organic SEO methods.

What’s fantastic about the search engines is that they keep space available at the top for ordinary people with no money to spend on advertising. That means any website can make it to the first page of search results or even to the very top spot. All that matters (in Google’s eyes) is that the website is extremely relevant to the terms of a given search. By having relevance to the subject and by using smart methods of helping the spiders see that relevance, anyone can do this.

The book talks at length on how to discover the keywords that will work best for a given website. Your very best keywords are relevant to your site, are being searched by lots of people and (hopefully) don’t have high competition from other advertisers. The book discusses in-depth how to use the Keyword Tool External program to really hone in on those best choices and then how to implement.

It’s just come out as an ebook for Amazon Kindle, so new the description isn’t currently listed yet (that takes up to 4 days though I can’t understand why). It’s also available as a pdf and epub formatted ebook at http://getongooglefrontpage.webs.com/, and also at Smashwords which will get it into Apple iBookstore and many other retailers. The paperback won’t be available for a few weeks, so watch for an update if that’s what you’d prefer.

For great 2011 SEO tips on keywords, meta data, direct submissions, alternative text, social media, creating thousands of back-links, building platform and visibility plus much more… this is a great guide. Please check out Get On Google Front Page if rising in search engine rankings is something you’d like to know more about.

Click here for the home page of How to Make, Market and Sell Ebooks All for Free.
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