The What, Why and How of Tagging Books on Amazon

Tagging can be fun!

Lest you think I’ve changed my ways and am ready to hit the local overpasses or old buildings with a can of spray paint, let me assure you this version of tagging is totally legal. All you need is your computer, a desire to help your writer friends, and a minute or two.

In my post 12 Ways to Help Your Friends’ Pre-Release Promotion Efforts, I included tagging books on Amazon as one of the items.

The What of Tagging Books on Amazon

For those unfamiliar with tagging, it involves listing some keywords on a book or other product’s Amazon page. The keywords are terms those browsing Amazon use when searching for a particular product, in this case a book. Amazon offers a tagging primer. I’m going to add to the information found there.

The Why of Tagging Books on Amazon

By adding tags to a book’s page, we increase the likelihood that the book will appear when a potential buyer performs a search of tagged books using one of the keywords, or tags. To perform such a search, a site user clicks a tag while on a product’s page and is taken to that tag’s page. From there, the user can search other tags.

Let me be clear: tagging a book doesn’t mean it will appear higher on an Amazon product list when a buyer types the keyword in the main search bar. Placement on those lists is based on sales–not on keywords, number of likes, or number of tags.

The How of Tagging Books on Amazon

I used Wish You Were Here, a debut novel written by my friend and agency mate Beth Vogt, due to be released on May 1st, as an example of how to go about choosing tags. In order to help Beth promote her book, I added fifteen tags to the book’s page.

Because Wish You Were Here is a contemporary Christian romance, I started with four sets of keywords.

  • Christian fiction
  • Christian romance
  • Contemporary romance
  • Contemporary Christian romance

Since many readers are used to the use of the broader term “inspirational” for books with a Christian worldview, I added two tags using that keyword.

  • Inspirational romance
  • Contemporary inspirational romance

Those tags are general. Because I want potential buyers to get a good feel for Beth’s story if they scan the tags, I added four that are more specific to Wish You Were Here.

  • Colorado
  • Rockies
  • Humorous romance
  • Runaway bride story

Eager to do all I can to help Beth, I took tagging a step further. Since Beth is a friend, I emailed her and asked for insider info. I wanted to find out what other elements of the book I could highlight in the tags. Being a generous person, she got right back to me. Based on our correspondence, I came up with five more tags.

  • Colorado Springs
  • Estes Park
  • Llamas
  • Llama rescue
  • Thomas Mangelsen

At this point, I reached the maximum number of tags Amazon allows one user.  Here’s what the tag section of the page for Wish You Were Here looked like when I’d finished.

As you can see, all a person has to do to agree with a tag is click the box in front of it or click “Agree with these tags?” to agree with all those listed. To add additional tags, look for a little box just below this section on a product/book’s page.

By adding tags, I’ve helped Beth’s book appear on fifteen different lists. If I did a good job choosing my tags, I also piqued your interest in Beth’s book. Even without seeing the back cover copy, I have a hunch you’re getting a feel for Beth’s story, which is my goal when I tag an author’s book.

So that I don’t leave you hanging, I’ll add the blurb from the Wish You Were Here Amazon page, where you’ll also find some awesome endorsements and reviews.

Kissing the wrong guy days before her wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to happily ever after?Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong: the huge wedding, the frothy dress, and the groom.

Still, kissing the groom’s brother in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. And pulling a “Runaway Bride,” complete with “borrowing” her best friend’s car, doesn’t seem to solve her problems.

Can Allison find her way out of this mess? She prefers to be the one in control, and giving it up is not going to be easy. But to find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her and find the strength to let Him lead.

Wish You Were Here is fun and full of humor—sure to be a pleasure to inspirational romance readers.

• • •

I’d envisioned ending this post with an invitation to a tagging party, with visitors leaving the names of their books so other visitors and I could tag them. However, in doing my research for this post, I learned that Amazon frowns on such endeavors. Tagging isn’t intended to be undertaken in a reciprocal manner.

I will continue to tag books as I visit their pages on Amazon and suggest doing so yourself as a way to help your friends promote their books. I hope this post has shown you the value of tagging books on Amazon and provided some useful tips on how to go about it.

• • •

Have you ever added a tag a book on Amazon or agreed with those already there?

Do you think adding tags to a book on Amazon can help promote sales, or do you think tagging books is a waste time? Why do you hold that view?

• • •

Top image from iStockphoto.
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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
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23 Responses to The What, Why and How of Tagging Books on Amazon

  1. Donna Pyle says:

    Keli, these step-by-step guidelines are gold! Thanks for making it so easy to support our writer friends’ releases by tagging on Amazon. Well done!! Can’t wait to do this for yours now…

  2. Keli, I’m wondering if the reason so many Christian fiction books don’t make it on the Kindle lists for “religious fiction” is because so many don’t think to use that tag. Or does Amazon decide who fits on that list? I’ve seen lots of Christian fiction on the top 100 kindle books for example that don’t show up on the “religious fiction” list. Thanks for reminding me that I need to do this for my March release!

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Sandra, the tag lists are different than the bestseller lists. If we search for a title in the regular Amazon search bar, we’ll see books ranked by sales. Only when we click on a tag on a book’s page will we see a tag list. From there we can view other tag lists. Amazon will even offer suggested tag lists in the sidebar.

      • Had a small problem leaving my comment, so I squeezed in here. Keli, there is always something to learn on your blog. I never knew about tagging and will now be able to do this for books I really enjoy and for writers I want to support. Thanks for another great idea !!

  3. Cindy R. Wilson says:

    Thanks for this post, Keli. I’ve tagged books before and agreed with tags, but sadly and honestly wasn’t sure how it would help out the reader, the book, or the author. Thanks for spelling it out so clearly in this post.

  4. I know who to go to when it’s time to tag. 😉 You are such a wealth of knowledge. I admire the way you just get in there and learn. It’s such a noble trait–so useful in this ever-changing publishing climate!

    Oh WISE one!
    ~ Wendy

  5. Although I used tags for my book, I just recently figured out how to tag others’ books. It seems like a good thing to do. Thanks for the info, Keli!

  6. Llama rescue. I cannot wait for this book! Ha!

    Awesome information. I will come back to it when I get a chance to tag some books! Thanks, as always, Keli.

  7. bethkvogt says:

    Keli,
    Thanks so much for all the information about tagging an author’s book. I now know how to do it in a way that benefits another author.
    And I can’t thank you enough for highlighting Wish You Were Here. You are such a model of “consider others more important than yourself.”
    It was fun thinking of what tags applied to my novel.
    Llama-rescue.
    Yep. Stay tuned to meet some bad-boy llamas in WYWH.

    😉

  8. Jeannie Campbell, LMFT says:

    I love these tutorials Keli. I’ve always just seconded the tags already provided. But now I can be more purposeful. Thanks lady!!

  9. Susan Mason says:

    Great information, Keli! Yes, I’ve tagged fellow authors’ books on Amazon, but to be honest, I didn’t really know what it was for! Now I have a better understanding!

    Beth’s book sounds wonderful. Will put it on my wish list!

    Cheers,
    Sue

  10. Loree Huebner says:

    Awesome information, Keli! Thanks for posting this! It’s something we need to know.

  11. I want you on my marketing team, Keli. You are awesome! BTW still waiting on pins and needles for the email from Apple.

  12. Melissa Tagg says:

    First of all, yay for Beth Vogt! I can’t wait for her novel.

    And, wow, this is so informative. I knew tagging could be done on Amazon, but didn’t really know the ins and outs OR why it’s useful. Thanks for the info!

  13. Stacy Henrie says:

    Love the picture! Thanks for sharing this – it’s great information to know.

  14. Thanks for the total explanation! I knew tagging helped, but didn’t realize how, or why!

  15. Thanks so much for the detailed explanation…I’m bookmarking this blog so I can come back to it and digest it. And Congrats on the debut book for both you and Beth! I’m so excited for you both.

  16. ginger says:

    Ditto PT’s remark 🙂

  17. Must tweet this! Great info!

    Random Q….how do you take a picture of your screen and put it on your blog??

    • Keli Gwyn says:

      Katie, I tried to use the “grab” feature on my MacBook Pro, but I got an error message, saying the information couldn’t be captured. Not being one to give up easily, I pulled out my digital camera and snapped a picture. Low tech, but it works. =)

      • Anonymous says:

        Keli,

        Thanks for sharing all of this, and highlighting Beth’s novel! I’m so excited to read about llama rescue and a runaway bride!

  18. Sherrinda says:

    Wow! I had no idea how important tagging was! Thank you, Keli, for point it out and explaining it so thoroughly!

  19. danica says:

    Thanks for sharing, Keli! This is really awesome

Comments are closed.