Game of Tags: Using Keywords for Amazon Erotica

(A special song to listen to while you read this article)

It’s time for another article about learning how to write/self-publish erotica alongside yours truly. Because friends, I am trying to figure all of this out as well.

Unlike a certain book I raged about a while back, I did try downloading another erotica self-pub “tutorial” this week. I read “The Six-Figure Erotica Author: How I Make Six Figures Self-Publishing Erotica” by Jade K. Scott. This book was actually very helpful, and at a mere $2.99, I recommend it. It’s not necessarily focused on making a crazy amount of money right out of the gate, but rather a collection of best practices and Jade’s own personal experience. Maybe the most valuable two things I got out of the book relate to what will be pulled from Amazon as “too wicked,” and how to use keywords properly.

The word “keywords” and the word “flossing” have a lot in common for me. I know that I am supposed to floss my teeth at least once a day, but I would rather not fuss with all of that messy string. Likewise, I knew about keyword optimization, but didn’t know where to start. It just seems so stressful, like learning how to code or taking a high level French course.

Jade (because we are on a first name basis)  made it seem like no big deal, but simply a matter of typing in related keywords and seeing what already exists on Amazon. So I put on my Big Girl Panties and did it.

What my keywords used to look like…

Bad. Awful. Terrible. These are all words that describe how my keywords for each of my short stories used to be. Jade suggests that you align your keywords with search terms that have <1,000 other hits on Amazon. I was tagging my stories under the most broad categories possible.

Here’s an example. For my short story about a vampire orgy, I would use terms like “short erotica” “vampire erotica” and “vampire orgy.” After checking on Amazon right now, the term “vampire erotica” has 7,964 other titles tagged with that keyword. And “short erotica?” 49,660 other titles! My work was getting lost in a whole galaxy of other work with more reviews and more reputable authors.

What my keywords look like now…

For the same vampire short, here are the keywords I’m using: “vampire erotica for adults, vampire menage, vampire erotica menage, vampire erotica group, erotica vampire menage, vampire rough, vampire group rough.” The difference is not only the specificity, but also the fact that many of these keywords have low search term competition. There’s a much better chance of people finding my work if they are really looking for a rough vampire orgy. I am a happy woman.

Oh yes: and this is really fun to do.

Updating my keywords felt like a game. I tried to think of all kinds of search term combinations in order to sneak around the masses and get more specific. The term “vampire erotica menage” only has 1,520 other titles in that category, which makes me feel like I’ll have a better chance to stand out if someone comes a-searching, or just loves to use that tag.

Even if you don’t write erotica, I hope you go back and update your keywords accordingly. It’s also a nice exercise to see what else is out there in the market. Even I was tempted to buy some alien/tentacle stuff using similar tags as my work. I love tentacles, people.