How I used #KDPRocket and learned to love keyword analysis

By Greg Turnquist

Greg L. Turnquist worked on the Spring team for over thirteen years and is a senior staff technical content engineer at Cockroach Labs. He was the lead for Spring Data JPA and Spring Web Services. He wrote Packt's best-selling title, Learning Spring Boot 2.0 2nd Edition, and its 3rd Edition follow-up along many others.

March 7, 2018

A big event is coming. The release of my debut novel, DARKLIGHT, is planned for later this month. And do you know what I dread? A lackluster launch. I have helped launch several indie titles in the past for other authors, but something I finally knuckled down and did this morning was what EVERY author must do: keyword analysis.

When you publish a book on Amazon, there is one section toward the bottom. Past the title, the author, and the description of your book is a section called “keywords” with seven blank spots. Until the past year, I never paid much attention to those. I thought it was a little extra stuff to help out. What I didn’t know is how important this tiny bit of information is. This could be the difference between getting ranked as the 50,000th Science Fiction title to be released this month. Or showing up in the top 100 of Teens & Young Adult / Coming of Age novel.

So what IS a keyword? Basically, it’s what a user types into either Amazon or Google’s search box. (HINT: A keyword isn’t confined to a single word.) Imagine a reader being interested in something about “coming of age fiction” so they type that, and a list of books are shown. By putting “coming of age fiction” into ONE of your keyword slots, you are adding your book to that listing, and upping your chances of a sale.

Keyword analysis is when you try LOTS of keywords in Amazon’s search box and gather notes, answering these questions:

  • Are many people searching for this keyword? (No good using a keyword no one types.)
  • Are there too many titles that respond to this keyword? (No good picking something so generic that you instantly have 100,000 competitors.)
  • Do the titles under this keyword actually make money? (I think you get the idea here.)

Those three questions answer the critical question “Is this a good keyword?” Additionally, is this keyword good enough, or is there a similar one that would be better?

Try to imagine going to Amazon and typing combo after combo and trying to gather these details. Sounds hard if not impossible, ehh?

That’s why you need the right application. An application that do these searches for you and give you instant feedback.

Introducing KDP Rocket.

KDP Rocket is an app created by Dave Chesson, an author that likes to brag at averaging over $9000/month in book revenue. And watching his videos about KDP Rocket shows the power of having the right tools at your fingertips.

With KDP Rocket, you kick things off by starting with an “idea”, i.e. your first keyword. Now I had learned last year that Amazon has these “super secret” genres that require picking one genre + a special keyword. Since my title is Young Adult, I had learned that there are parallel genres that focus on that subset of readers.

Having already heard that it’s best to dominate a niche rather than languish in a broad genre, I dug in to discover WHICH YA genre DARKLIGHT would best fit. Seeing “Coming of Age” and “Action & Adventure”, I focused on that. Typing “coming of age” into KDP Rocket, I discovered that there are 693 searches for that keyword every month on Amazon. Clicking on the “Analyze” button I saw a competition rating of 99. That means that it’s VERY competitive, and probably not a good keyword for a first launch.

So trying some different options, I uncovered “coming of age fantasy fiction”. That keyword revealed 884 searches/month on Amazon with a competition rating of 68. That means MORE people are searching for this keyword, and (drum roll) there are fewer titles flagged with that keyword. BOOM! I wrote that one down. This keyword would potentially rank well and also put my title into the YA Coming of Age genre.

  • coming of age fantasy fiction (competitor rank 68)
  • coming of age adventure (competitor rank 45)
  • coming of age book (competitor rank 35)
  • science fantasy action and adventure (competitor rank 80)
  • medieval future earth (competitor rank 25)
  • medieval coming of age (competitor rank 25)
  • medieval science fantasy (competitor rank 45)

So for my coming of age, sciency fantasy, action & adventure story set in the Earth’s distant future, in the midst of a medieval existence, I feel that I’ve found seven valuable keywords to help my story reach the readers that would most connect with it and hence are most likely to buy it.

And that’s what keyword analysis is all about. Connecting your novel with readers. Using KDP Rocket, I was able to research probably 50 keyword combinations in the span of one hour. Imagine doing this all by your lonesome.

So I’m crossing my fingers hoping this will feed my book launch that’s right around the corner.

By the way, if you sign up for my newsletter below, you can get a FREE E-BOOK prequel to DARKLIGHT:

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