It's never been easier to self-publish with Jeff Bezos's Amazon platform. In a previous article, I wrote about the reasons why you can write a book. I'd like to now discuss the marketing aspects of book publishing. What many people don’t realise is that marketing actually starts before you even begin writing your book or, at least, while you’re writing the book.

How buyers find your book on Amazon

Here are two ways people find books on Amazon.

1. Keywords

The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey is a perfect example of this. If you were to type in “productivity” or “productive” into the search engine in Amazon, The Productivity Project would come up, somewhere on the home page (normally #2-6).

That’s one way to find your book on Amazon when you’re searching for specific keywords.

2. Categories

There are categories like “Business & Investing”, “Self-help” for example. Some people are searching in particular categories to find books. It’s important that you have a clear mindset on what categories that you’d like to be in on Amazon and also you want to cross-categorise. If you can become an Amazon bestseller, or in the top three, then obviously when people search for books in that category, your book will be the first book they see.


For example, The Productivity Project is in Amazon's "Business and Investing" category as well as in the "Self-help" category. That’s what most authors fail to do, and it literally cuts their reach in half is they’ll only put their book in two subcategories.

You’re only allowed to pick two when you put your book on KDP (Kindle Direct Publish), and that cuts the reach in half. Many authors put their book in two categories under "Business and Investing", but it’s better to split that up to get a much bigger reach. This is all marketing, and that’s why it’s so important to keep this in mind before you even start writing your book in the first place.

Finding keywords

Research for both of these gives your title, subtitle, and direction of your book. How to find good keywords? You can use Google Keyword Tool to test out some keywords. Google and Amazon’s search engine are not the same, obviously, but by using the Google Keyword Tool, you can get some good indicators if a keyword is a worthwhile target or not.

Of course, this is a trial and error process. When you upload your book, you’re allowed seven keywords. You should put your keywords in your titles and/or in the subtitles. This will help your book rank high.

The Google Keyword Tool also shows you the competition level you would have for a particular keyword. If you were to write about productivity, a keyword you could consider would be “time management”, but this would be more competitive than "productivity". There are many time management books already on the market like "Getting Things Done" by David Allen, however, by doing careful research and figuring out the competition level you can better choose where to place your book so your readers will find you.