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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Mess Up, You Get the Benefit -- or, Now I Know

Well, I've figured something out. It's just a little too late for me to use that knowledge, this time around. But at least you all can learn from my mistake.

Whenever I've considered a possible book title, I've searched for it on Amazon. I assumed, for some reason, that the first results to come up in such a search would be books with that exact title. If the title consisted of only one word, I assumed that every book with that word and no other in its title would be listed first. So if, for example, I did not find many books, and hardly any novels, with the simple title of Reach, I figured there weren't many out there. I also assumed, without even thinking about it, that any reader trying to find my book would be able to find it fairly easily.

Through dumb luck, I decided to add a subtitle to my latest novel, the sequel to Twin-Bred -- because there was a video game called Reach, and I preferred to avoid any confusion. But I figured that if anyone searched Amazon or B&N with the main title by itself, there it would be.

Well, guess what? Whatever algorithms govern search results on these sites, they don't favor an exact match -- or not enough to prevent many, many other titles with overlapping words, or even sound-alike words, from coming first, based on popularity or some other factor(s).

I had reasons for choosing Reach as my primary title. Both its meanings -- to attempt to grasp, and to arrive -- suited the book nicely. But if I'd known how hard it would be for would-be buyers to track down the book, I'd have tried harder to find an utterly unique title. Ironically, I would not have known how well I'd succeeded until the book was published with a particular title -- because only then could I examine the search results and see how far down in the list the book appeared.

So maybe you won't gain all that much from my frustrating experience . . . except the knowledge that if you want to find any of my books, and you can't, try searching for my name. Use my full name, Karen A. Wyle. That works like a charm.

Well, on Amazon, searching for Reach: a Twin-Bred novel works just fine. I just have to hope my would-be readers aren't lazy.

And to give credit where credit is due: Reach by itself works on Smashwords! Nook readers, head there!

1 comment:

Karen A. Wyle said...

BTW, I've since discovered (as has at least one helpful reader) that if you search for Twin-Bred on Amazon or on B&N, you find Reach: a Twin-Bred novel as well. (B&N still doesn't have the paperback page working, but it does have the Nook.)