Tuesday, August 21, 2012

TUESDAY TIP Using #Shelfari to Update #Amazon Categories, Not Tags #pubtip #howto #indie #selfpub

Welcome back to my little miniseries on Amazon/Shelfari's "Book Extras" feature for Kindle books. These little enhancements are only available for Kindle books (not other formats) but anyone can create them--you, your readers, your fans, your enemies (haha, scratch that last one). As the Shelfari Author account owner, you have final control over the content.

Click here if you need to review how to create your Amazon Author Central account (a prerequisite to setting up a Shelfari Author account) or check out my earlier discussion on how to log into your Shelfari Author account and edit a field. Once you're all caught up on establishing your book's existence in Shelfari, click through the jump-break to see how to control the categories and tagging for your book using the Shelfari web site.

Categories, a Subject by Any Other Name
Or by Shelfari names, anyway. Since Amazon owns Shelfari, I'm not sure why they suddenly renamed categories "subjects" but they did. If you go to your Book Extras page and scroll down a bit, you'll see the "Subjects" area. If your book has been added to more than a few categories, you'll have to click to see them all. I've added Dicky's Story to 7 as shown below.

Just because you set up Shelfari Book Extra Categories for your book, does not mean all of the data will propagate through to your Amazon Kindle Book's page; however, some of it will. For instance, when I set up my book in KDP, I did not add it to the "Kindle eBooks > Fiction > World Literature > Jewish" category, yet there it is on my book's Amazon Kindle page:

I'm delighted that it got there but then, why didn't all of the others?  I'm thinking this part of Shelfari is either broken or still in process. To edit your categories (add or remove them) you can just click the edit button () then select them from a pull down list, just like you would on Amazon's KDP platform. It should take no more than 24 hours (and probably less!) for the data to propagate through--if it's ever going to--no clue how to tell or how to force it. On the KDP platform, as you know, you are only allowed to select two (2) categories. The others are "assigned" by Amazon with their algorithms. The additional categories you set up via Shelfari, however, might "help" those algorithms assign your page the way you want it. 

Tags - The Keys to the Amazon Kingdom
In all fairness, I have not been tracking all of my tags for the entire year and a half that Dicky's Story has been on sale. It's totally possible that people have been adding or removing or liking or disagreeing with the original tags I attached to the book. In fact, it's pretty likely that others have modified my tags because there are 20 tags on Amazon and only 11 on Shelfari. I don't recall all 20 of the tags on the Amazon page and they have wildly varying numbers of clicks (in the following screen shot of the book's page on the Amazon Kindle Store, the numbers in parenthesis indicate how many people agreed with each tag).

I do notice that on Shelfari, the tag "sweet" is the largest in the tag cloud and it's definitely one of the strongest attributes of the book so I'm delighted it seems to be dominating the tag cloud. The curious thing is that I never entered the term "sweet" as a tag on Amazon. Neither did anyone else if the following screen shot of all 20 tags on Amazon is to be believed.

So how did "sweet" show up on my Shelfari Book Extras tag cloud? It was added to someone's personal Shelfari for this book. I'm not sure whose since I appear to be the only one who's got Dicky's Story on their Shelfari shelf :-( You can add it here if you'd like: http://www.shelfari.com/books/22692179/Coming-Home-%28Dickys-Story%29

As all Indie Authors know, the more your book gets tagged, the better, since some readers browse books by tag (just as some browse books by category). It's not how many tags but how many times a single tag has been clicked/agreed with that matters. For instance, "inspirational romance" was clicked 15 times where as "romance" only 4 so it'll be more likely that Dicky's Story will show up when someone cruises the Kindle Store looking for "inspirational romance" than it will be likely to show up in a list of all "romance" in the Kindle Store.

But if tags from Shelfari do not match or propagate through to Amazon, why use them on Shelfari? The answer is you probably shouldn't bother. Sorry but 1-1 isn't too bad of a score on this week's Book Extras adventure, is it?

If I hear of a good way to get extra tags added to a book (or existing tags "liked" and "agreed" upon through some external method, I'll be sure to share. I hope you'll do the same! I'd love to see some new tips for making Amazon worth all the hassle.

What's Next....
This ends the mini-series on Shelfari Book Extras but for next week's Tuesday Tip, I'll try to give you some tips on LibraryThing :)

Next week's Monday Marketing on branding shall cover Immutable Law of Branding 16 (for Indie Authors): Law of Shape. It's the first half of a 2-part discussion on how branding and your book cover are related. Yes! At last, book covers are discussed as an element of branding. Hope to see you then.

No comments: