Tag: You’re Book is It!

Good day, blogger friends! Hope this finds each of you well and ready to learn!

Last week I introduced you to one of my newest online friends, Young Adult fiction author C.R. Wills. His original post included the art of tagging books at Amazon.com. Being as quick as I tend to be I wound up confused and wound up with a wonderful offer from Chris to demystify the technique. So… here’s Chris! 😀

       

Tagging on Amazon – how it can help you sell more books

What is a tag?

On Amazon, a tag is a category label for a book. A tag can be a genre, for example, Crime or Romance. It can be more detailed, like True Crime or Historical Romance. A tag can be any label that could be associated with a book; it could be the author’s name; it could be a word like Amnesia; it could be a phrase like 18th Century Vampire Romance inLondon.

You can find tags for a book below that book’s reviews. On Amazon pick a favourite book you have read, go to the page for that book and find the tags. You will notice the tags are in blue type, underlined and they have a number in brackets beside them. The number refers to the number of people who have tagged that book with that word or phrase. As this is a book you have read, do you agree with the tags? There may be more hidden under the title ‘See all xx tags’ Click this to reveal all the tags people have attached to the book.

Click on the tag with the highest number. You should be taken to an Amazon Community page for that tag. In theory all the books displayed on that page are of the same type because they have been tagged with the same tag. Hover your cursor over the book in the number one spot. In theory, this book is in the number one spot of that tag category because it has been tagged with that word or phrase by the most number of people. Is your book on that page, or the next?

To sum up what we have learnt so far. All books can be tagged. They can be tagged with almost any word or phrase (no profanities and nasty words) Tags can be used to search for similar books – great for readers who want to read books similar to one they have just read.

Search for all books tagged Sweet Romance

Let’s find books in the category of Sweet Romance. There is no use typing Sweet Romance in the search box of Amazon because it will search for books with Sweet Romance in the title. Go to a book page on Amazon of a book you would categorize as Sweet Romance. On the page for that book, scroll down to the tags. If there is a tag called Sweet Romance click on it.

If there is no tag called Sweet Romance, type Sweet Romance into the box next to ‘your tags’ then click ‘add’. You have created a tag called Sweet Romance for that book. It should be in blue type and underlined. Click on the tag.

You will be taken to the Sweet Romance Community page. On the day I looked there were 319 books on Amazon.com tagged with Sweet Romance. Note these are not in bestseller order. In theory, they are in order by the number of times they are tagged with Sweet Romance.

Hover the cursor over the top book (don’t click). You will see a balloon revealing information about the book, on the day I looked it was ‘Listen to Your Heart ‘ byMargaretLake. I saw that it has been tagged 161 times with Sweet Romance. This is why it is number 1 on the list.

Who has tagged this book?

Readers, family, friends and others. Every person with an account at Amazon can tag any  book with up to 14 different tags. So 161 people, not necessarily buyers of the book, have tagged ‘Listen to Your Heart’ with the phrase Sweet Romance.

Remember I said ‘in theory’. For some reason, there are books with a higher number of Sweet Romance tags, like number 5, ‘Not What She Seems,’ which has 319 Sweet Romance tags. This anomaly only seems to apply to the top few and one or two on the second page. All the Amazon instructions clearly state, the more tags, the higher up that list.

How can tags help an author?

I did an experiment. Entirely at random, I chose a book tagged Sweet Romance; No Matter Why by Joanna Aislinn. It had one tag of Sweet Romance and was on page 4 at number 111 on the list of 375 Sweet Romance tagged books. I added one tag of Sweet Romance and ‘No Matter Why’ jumped to number 65 on the list and now appears on page 3.

Why is this useful?

A reader looking for books tagged Sweet Romance might look at the first three pages of books and not go to the fourth page. The more Sweet Romance tags No Matter Why has, the higher it will appear on the Sweet Romance tagged list, so the more likely a customer is to see it and maybe buy it.

Every Amazon account holder can add 14 different tags to as many books as they want. Authors can tag their own book. Think about it; every tag adds that book to a tag community; if you are an author, make sure you use all 14 tags and choose your tags carefully.

How should an author use and choose tags?

If a reader wants romance and they use tags to get to the Romance Community they will see 54,203 books. Top left of the page they will also see ‘Narrow by popular tags’. If the reader decides to narrow by Historical Romance tag, they will reduce the list to 7,138 books. Then if they narrow using Medieval Romance they reduce to 519 books.

So when choosing tags think of how a reader might find your book. Make sure you include the bigger genre tags and some that could be used by readers to narrow down.

When encouraging family and friends to tag your books give them the list you want them to use because that way, you will get a higher number of the specific tags you want and your book will jump higher up the lists.

Summary

A tag is a category label. Tags can be used by readers to search for books of the same category that they want to read. Tags can also be used by authors to move their books higher up the category lists so they can be found easier.

Tagging is similar to what authors used to do. They would go into a book shop and rearrange their own books to an eye level shelf so customers can find them easier; and they would encourage friends in other towns to do the same. It’s not going to make you a bestseller unless your book is excellent, but it might get you more noticed. Happy tagging.

Excellent information you’ve provided here, Chris. (Love when I get a mini-education out of a post!) Thanks so much for sharing your time and knowledge with us today. Best wishes and best of luck in all your endeavors and hope to see you here again!

As always, I thank all of you who stopped in today. Hope your day is great and looking ahead to a fun Friday post,

Joanna

Back It Up Some More!

On this Monday during which we honor the late and very great Doctor Martin Luther King:

Good day, all! (Practicing my Aussie greeting in honor of my down-under cousins and the Australian Tennis Open Championships already at least 15 hours underway. Go Rafa!)

Special thanks to my recent guest , western romance author Anna Kathryn Lanier , for spurring this short post out of me. (And for getting me to seriously consider WHY this is a very necessary step EVERYONE—myself first in line—who sees that computer, I-pod, Android or other device as the daily lifeline should be taking pronto. Make sure to read Anna’s excellent post.)

The reference for this information is directly from an article I read in Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, July 2009. (Don’t ask. I bought a subscription thinking I’d actually do something with $$$ I don’t have, but at least I’ve learned a few things should I ever hit as big as Nora or Stephanie…you know ;))

As of this past Friday I checked all the links below and found each to be functional. Available to those who want it: lots of great virtual/cloud back-up for free (or a nominal fee–please check  each website for more details).

Windows Live Sky Drive (25 GB free): Sign up for a Windows Live account; your MS Hotmail account or X-box Live works, too. Sounds simple enough to use: drag files from you Windows desktop to online folders. (Sorry. No additional storage options and no Mac support—but you can view documents saved on a Mac.) I’m learning as I go here, but just from the website I’m seeing you can also share stored documents via e-mail and/or with groups.

ADrive (50 GB free): Signature and Premium paid storage is beyond reasonable (max $140/year). Compare their plans here—great detail in chart form. (I may be looking at this one myself. Looks like Mac and Linus users can get their needs met  along with the PC crowd.)

Apple’s MobileMe works for Mac and PC aficionados. Price: $99/year for 20 GB (after a 60-day free trial). Seems a bit pricey, especially compared to ADrive, but MobileMe offers the ability to sync your contacts no matter where they’re stored, among other services.

I’m sure if I actually searched, I’d find a lot more to add. Use this as a springboard if none of these float your virtual boat.

FYI: The Kiplinger’s Personal Finance article I referred to had a second section on backing up your cell phone. (As Verizon Wireless user I love that Backup Assistant.) Maybe we’ll make that a post for another time—unless a yet-to-be-named guest-blogger wants to take that one on—I’m open to the idea. Interested parties please e-mail me via my website. Thanks, Joy, for your current inquiry. Looking forward to having you here!)

Until next time,

Joanna

Back It Up!

Happy Thursday friends! Yesterday’s east-coast snowstorm doused us with enough of the white stuff to cancel school, but not paralyze us temporarily as the last dump. (Photos are on a previous post.) As I stated on one of my last posts, one of the coolest things about this author-gig/blog thing are the people I get to know in cyberspace. I’m always in the market for guest-bloggers: each brings something unique to my little corner of the web and very often exposes me to a topic I might not have considered otherwise. (BTW, I’m not necessarily looking only for writers. If someone is interested in posting an article about any topic, as long as it’s family friendly I’d love to take a look and consider it. E-mail me via my website!)

On to our guest!

Anna Kathryn Lanier started writing while still in high school. Her first novel was a futuristic Armageddon tale with romantic elements. She wrote her first romances in her early twenties, but her only submission was rejected. After putting her writing on hold for nearly two decades to raise two daughters and play housewife, Anna Kathryn picked up the pen again, so to speak—this is the computer age—seven years ago. She has completed three romance novels to date. She also enjoys writing short stories. Her first short story, Happily Ever After was published in 2005. She has since published five more short stories. The Priceless Gift, a contemporary western, was released in November, 2007, is a #1 best seller at The Wild Rose Press.

A Cowboy’s Dream, is also contemporary western, (Nov. 2008) and is a mega rewrite of Happily Ever After.  Salvation Bride, a historical western is the Preditors and Editors Reader’s Poll 2009 Best Short Romance Story. Gift Beyond All Measure (Dec. 2010) is a sequel to The Priceless Gift.  Anna Kathryn lives in Texas with her husband and three cats. She has two grown daughters and three grandchildren. She is pursuing a bachelor degree in history at a local college.

Visit Anna at her website or blog. (I stopped by the latter. Can’t wait to try the Italian Vegetable Soup recipe she posted yesterday. Sounds like exactly what one needs on an east coast snowy day :).) Her stories may be purchased at The Wild Rose Press.

And with that I turn over to you author Anna Kathryn Lanier, with sage advice for every one of us who sees a computer as a lifeline should heed…

Good morning, everyone!

The other day someone posted a question about ‘cloud’ storage sites.  I didn’t know what ‘cloud’ meant, but I understood her question: what can you tell me about the online computer backup sites?  Later that day, I came across a post on AOL Discover about that very subject. It spawned the idea about the importance of saving data and the different types available for doing that.

Even if you’re not an author, you should have a need to back up your computer files.  I know that in addition to my stories, I have photographs on my computer that I don’t want to lose.  And I have lost them.  In November 2008 my computer crashed. The hard drive didn’t self-destruct, as those tapes on the old Mission Impossible shows did. I still have the hard drive, but it’s sitting on a shelf. I’m not sure how to retrieve the information. I had a new hard drive installed, which crashed three months later. That one did self-destruct, so I lost everything I had done between November and January. Yes, the first crash should have taught me a lesson. The second definitely did.  I looked into an online storage company.

Before I get into cloud computing though, I’d like to discuss the other types of back up systems available. The one most are probably familiar with is a thumb, flash or jump drive.  According to the website Everything USB “A flash drive is a small external storage device that reads and writes to flash memory, a solid-state storage medium that’s both inexpensive and durable.”  Its small size, “portable nature and near-universal compatibility” has allowed it to replace the floppy diskette as a way to store and transfer files from one computer to another.

There are drawbacks to using a jump drive (as I call them) as your only source of backing up files. One, their compact size makes it easy to lose them.  Two, if they are broken, your files are lost.  I don’t think I’ve lost a drive, but I have had two break.  One was completely destroyed when I left it in a computer at work and someone slammed a chair into it.  It broke into several pieces. There was no way of fixing it. So, it’s a good idea to take good care of your flash drive if it’s your only source for backing up files.

Another at-home back up source is an external hard drive.  The Wise Geek website explains, “An external hard drive sits outside the main computer tower in its own enclosure…This portable encasement allows the user to store information on a hard drive that is not inside the computer.”  It goes on to explain the advantages of having an external hard drive.  It allows the user to back up important files which could be comprised by Trojan horses, viruses and spyware that a computer’s internal hard drive is exposed to on a daily basis via the Internet.  In addition to keeping files safe from online threats, an external hard drive will also free up space on a computer’s internal hard drive.  You can keep “large music files, DVD images, movies, disk images and” even backup of your computer’s internal hard drive onto it.  And like a jump drive, you can move an external hard drive from computer to computer with relative ease.

Also, like a jump drive, an external hard drive can be lost, stolen or destroyed, though I think it would be harder to destroy a hard drive than a jump drive.

So, all this brings us to cloud services (cloud refers to the Internet). IDC, a global market intelligence firm, defines cloud services as “consumer and business products, services and solutions delivered and consumed in real-time over the Internet.”  In other words, it is a business that offers computer users goods or services that are offered over the Internet in actual, current time.

I signed up for Mozy, but other companies include ElephantDrive, SugarSync, Carbonite, and DropBox.  According to the AOL article, “PC World has high praise for Mozy, describing it as a great service that ‘works in the background protecting your data.’  And SugarSync has been lauded by critics who enjoy the fact that any change they make in one of their computers will automatically appear in the others, thereby reducing the tedious need to continuously email files here and there.”

This is what happens with the Mozy account I have: I signed up for it. At first I got the free service, but later I bought a level so I could back up more information (mainly, my photos, which were too large for the free service).  Mozy then started backing up my files.  This can take, literally, days or weeks, depending on the number of files.  Just keep the computer hooked up to the internet. You don’t have to have your internet browser on during this time.  Then, twice a day (about 12 hours apart), as long as I’m hooked up to the internet, Mozy swoops in and backs up any new file I’ve created since the last back up. That’s it. That’s all I need to do.

So far, I haven’t needed to use their ‘recovery’ service at home. I did use it once at work. I couldn’t find a file, so I did a ‘search’ on the computer for it. The search program found it in Mozy’s back up. Why it wasn’t on my computer, I don’t know. I do believe the work computer has Gremlins though.

The cost for Mozy is nominal. I recently added my brand new lap top (that first back up took about 10 minutes) to the account and paid an additional fee. I think the total for the two computers is now about $15 a month. Not a high fee for peace of mind.

So, when my second, defective hard drive crashed, I lost a few chapters on a book.  On my old, obsolete, floppy diskette computer (circa 1985), I have two completed manuscripts.  Okay, they are crap, and could, in no way be published, but I can’t transfer them to another computer and are basically lost to me.

What have you lost in a missing jump drive or crashed computer?  What do you have on your computer now that you’d hate to lose?  Leave a comment and you’ll be eligible to win a copy of my newest novel A GIFT BEYOND ALL MEASURE and its companion cookbook.

References: http://daol.aol.com/articles/jump-on-the-web-storage-bandwagon/?icid=main%7Chtmlws-main-n%7Cdl8%7Csec1_lnk3%7C193656, http://www.everythingusb.com/flash-drives.htmlhttp://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-an-external-hard-drive.htm

Thanks for having me today, Joanna.

My absolute pleasure, Anna. What great topic matter: would never have considered it. Serious food for thought, too! (Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in comment form: two books for the price of one comment. We’ll draw it Sunday at 7 PM EST!)

That’s it for today, folks. Snow day or not, it’s a busy week in the bloglight. Tune in tomorrow when romance author Linda Morris stops in and shares about her journey.

Until then, I’ll occupy myself thinking about the NFL playoffs and the upcoming Australian Open Tennis Championships. Have a great day!

Joanna