Keywords are words or short phrases that describe your book. When you browse books on a retail site like Amazon or Barnes & Noble, any words you type into the search bar are examples of keywords.

Retailers use keywords to categorize and help readers find books, so your keywords should be terms that real readers would search for.

Consider choosing keywords that reference:

  • Topic (how to grow tomatoes, history of the Olympics, etc.)
  • Theme (first love, fear of failure, etc.)
  • Setting (World War II, wine country, etc.)
  • Characters (female protagonist, firefighter, etc.)
  • Tone and mood (romantic, inspirational, etc.)
  • Genre (thriller, memoir, etc.)
  • Audience (teen, middle grade, etc.)

You can often combine these to come up with targeted keywords like “female protagonist thriller,” “World War II memoir,” “inspirational teen romance,” etc.

We suggest avoiding the following kinds of keywords:

  • Title, author, and other info already in your metadata
  • Very general terms that describe millions of books (fantasy, poetry, etc.)
  • Very specific terms readers wouldn’t search for (purple daffodils, Mr. MadeUpName, etc.)
  • Terms that don’t accurately describe your book