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Make it Easy for People to Discover your Book

Make it Easy for People to Discover your Book

Findability is how easy it is to find a book or ebook if a customer knows what they’re looking for.

Discoverability is how easy it is to find a book or ebook when a customer isn’t looking for yours in particular.

Don’t neglect findability.

Do not ignore findability. It might seem simple but it’s really easy to get this bit wrong. In order for a book to be findable, there are a number of basic prerequisites:

You have to provide accurate metadata. This is vital. Your book title, subtitle, author name and publishing imprint all need to be provided accurately to retailers via your metadata feed or a manual upload form. These terms should be readily available so that when potential customers search for your ebook, they can find it using those terms. Usually, retailers will incorporate metadata into the search terms for a title, which is why it’s so important to ensure this information is correct. Providing accurate metadata when setting up your ISBN record is equally as important as when you manually submit the data on retailers’ sites. Clive Herbert, Head of Publishers Services at Nielsen Book, said that they saw a 178% increase in sales for those who supply all enhanced data when setting up an ISBN, such as a short description, long description, an author biography and reviews, when compared to those who provide minimal information.

Provide this information when you tell people about your book or ebook. Whether you’re giving out postcards, business cards, balloons or t-shirts, include all of the key information on them, to make your ebook easy to find. It’s all well and good just providing your book title, but if a customer searches for The Lost Puppy, yours probably won’t be the first book or ebook of that name to pop up; it might not even show in the first few pages of results. Provide potential customers with your author name and the ISBNs for the different formats as well; these could be useful search terms.

Let potential customers know how they can get hold of a copy. Tell people when they can buy it or place a preorder. If your title is available in alternative formats, link the records to one another on product pages; this is a quick way of letting the customer know that different formats can be purchased. Someone may have been interested in your hardback book but decided not to buy it because they didn’t want to haul it all the way to Crete this summer. If they can easily see that they can download it to their iPad, it may then gain you a sale that you wouldn’t have had.

Essentially, you need to make your ebook as easy to find as possible and help customers in any way you can. This isn’t even about marketing your ebook. It’s about supplying information as clearly and concisely as possible. They won’t expect to have to work to find something they’re searching for by title or author name! If they can’t find it readily, they might give up. This goes for additional resources like author websites, too – link to your product pages from the webpage if you can. If not, ensure you’re giving readers clear information about where they can buy it.

What about discoverability?

Discoverability – a term you may be familiar with – is how quickly your text appears when a customer isn’t looking for a particular title but is interested in a specific genre or theme that is relevant to your publication.

Categorise your book or ebook correctly. It is important to choose appropriate categories. You are not going to have happy customers if you’ve categorised it as a psychological thriller but in reality, it’s a juvenile fantasy novel. You do not want to mislead a customer just because you think customers will be more likely to search for a different genre over that of your own. You should subcategorise as much as you can. The smaller the subcategory your book or ebook is included in, the smaller the amount of others in that category to compete with. This means there’s an increased chance of becoming the bestseller in that particular category.

Choose appropriate keywords, and make use of all of them. The category options on retailers’ sites can be somewhat vague and that could be why some retailers, such as Amazon, give you the opportunity to choose additional search terms, or keywords, for your ebook. Don’t pick terms that are obscure. Think carefully about the terms that you would type in if you were looking for a similar book. The advice on most sites is to use words that are in your book’s blurb or description already – this makes search terms stronger.

The smaller the subcategory your book or ebook is included in, the smaller the amount of others in that category to compete with. This means there’s an increased chance of becoming the bestseller in that particular category.

Sometimes, keywords allow you to subcategorise your ebook even further. The category choices available to you through retailers are a reduced list formed from the industry standard categories that the book trade uses. Looking at the extended list of categories used by the trade may help you discover a subcategory relevant to your book. You can use these to come up with keywords for your ebook. You can look at BISAC and BIC codes when deciding your categories and keywords. Referring to this list will give you an idea of how the trade categorises books. This list is a lot more in depth than the options given to you on retailer’s sites but gives you an idea of smaller subcategories that you can aim to get your ebook into, using keywords. Click here for a list of the BISAC categories.

The more time you put in to making your ebook discoverable, the less time customers will take to discover it! The main aim to is do the hard work so that the customer doesn’t have to.

About The Author

Various staff work on the Self-Publishing Magazine, contributing articles and features.

Video Update!

From the editor…

As we move into February, literary events season looms. You can expect lots of articles explaining how indie authors can really make the most of the events that are on offer.

You may have noticed our recent piece about DIY self-publishing. As the name suggests, this is for authors who are considering what it might take to ‘go it alone’. It’s the first in our mini series looking at the very basics of self-publishing – ideal for those who are new to this or repeat authors considering a fresh approach.


It’s been great to hear from so many of you already in 2017. If you think of anything you’d like to see featured on the site, or would like to contribute, get in touch. That’s how the Back to Basics series came about!

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Indie Pick


This limited edition book is a love note to Canada by its creator, and Zelpha Comics founder, Luanga Nuwame.

The book is currently being crowdfunded on Kickstarter… help make this one-of-a-kind collectible item a reality.

On July 1st 2017, Canada turns 150 – and the entire country is celebrating all year long. To mark this grand anniversary, Zelpha Comics is launching a unique, collectible hybrid book to showcase the people, landmarks, wildlife, inventions, international relationships and interesting factoids that Canada is famous for.

150 Years of Awesome Canada is an innovative combination of a multiple set trading card series and large format coffee table book. Each glossy page contains 8 to 12 cards, which readers can cut out. 150 Years of Awesome Canada also contains trading cards that tackle intriguing subjects such as the growth of gay rights, free trade, universal healthcare, G8 Power, women of distinction, Canada at war and Canadian comic book legends. There is even a comedic ‘President Trump meets PM Trudeau’ card – to our knowledge, the first one to be made.

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