Kindle Keyword Strategy For Fiction Authors


As long as shoppers of fiction books continue to type phrases into Amazon’s search bar when looking for their next fiction book, Keywords will always be an important part to any book’s discoverability – especially for new authors of fiction!

Many avid shoppers know exactly how to describe the book they are looking for. However, for us authors, knowing what these words are can be extremely powerful and help get our books discovered.

So, how do we find these terms that shoppers use, and thus, get our books in front of them?

That’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article.  I’ll not only show you how to come up with the words and phrases your readers are using when shopping for their next book, I’ll even show you how to find out how many people type them in, and thus, help you to make the right decisions.

In this article you will learn:

  • How to research which words people use
  • How to select keywords for your fiction book that will help you sell more
  • Examples of successful keywords in each major fiction genre

P.S. As someone who’s been a consultant to multiple NYT bestselling fiction authors, and to major publishing companies, I assure you, this is information that even the best know is important. Even Amazon thinks so:

How to Find Fiction Keywords That Shoppers Really Use

Nonfiction keywords are easy. They are pain points, solutions, or results and you can learn more about them here. However, fiction keywords are about describing the story.

So, how do we come up with story descriptive phrases that shoppers use?

Step 1: Brainstorming Words in the 4 Fiction Descriptive Types

When I start my fiction keyword research, I take the 4 categories below and start brainstorming lists of words for each that describe my book. Let’s go over those and how to do this first. Then in the next section, I’ll show you how to use that information to find the right combination of words so as to create Keyword phrases that will help your book get discovered.

Four Fiction Descriptive Types:

  • Time Period and Settings
  • Style and/or Tone of Your Genre
  • Special Events or Catalysts
  • Character Types or Roles

Let’s look at each in detail:

Time Periods & Settings

The location of our story and the time period it takes place in says a LOT about the story and what to expect. Things like the Victorian era, Medieval Times, Jurassic, Industrial Age, bicentennial, modern, near future, etc. With each of those, you could probably see a little bit more of the story just by knowing what time period the story takes place in.

While time periods are words that describe a point in time, settings can be environmental or location and sometimes have a perceived time period associated with it. If I were to say Western, you’ll probably immediately think of the 1800’s cowboys out west, right? If I said the Caribbean, there’s a good chance you thought of the pirates in the 1660’s. So, just understand that the way you describe a setting can have a perceived time period associated with it. This could be things like Western, prairie, jungle, battlefields, encampments, prison, sanitarium, etc.

Here are some examples of this on book covers:

ACTION: Come up with a list of words that describe the setting or settings your story unfolds. Then think of ways to describe the time period. Dive deep to think about a combination of the two – is there a word for the setting that also dictates the time period?

Tones or Styles of the Genre

Every genre has a different tone or style to it. In romance, there are different levels of passion: wholesome, Christian, sweet, hardcore, erotica, etc. In Science Fiction there is real science, post-apocalyptic, space opera, sci-fi military, etc. You could call these sub-genre titles, but remember, some shoppers don’t quite know what they want or what exactly these are, so they just keep describing the style or tone of their desired genre in some way.

ACTION: Think of different ways to describe your kind of genre and the tone it holds

Plot Themes & Special Events

Special events are the description of an occurrence, action, or something in history. In history, it could be a story centered around the Civil War or your character’s adventure occur during The Great Depression. An occurrence or action could be something like a mass human extermination due to a disease or a harrowing tale of survival from a plane crash. In essence, it is the description of the catalyst that is causing the story to unfold or happening around the story as it occurs.

ACTION: Think about any events that cause your story to occur or take place around your characters.

Character Types and Roles

The type or role of a character can dictate a lot of what the story will be. Things like alpha male, mutant, zombie, survivalist, Lycan, single mother, serial killer, etc. We can even get more granular than that. A male character that has magical powers can be called a wizard, mage, magician, sorcerer, warlock, necromancer, and more. But each one of those is very different in their power, role, or background.

ACTION: So, think about your characters and the different ways in which to describe who they are that ultimately helps to tell the story within it.

—>At this point, you can just start combining words or phrases to create your 7 keywords upon uploading your book. However, you’re only guessing at this point. The next step will help you figure out what will REALLY help you sell more books.

As a Fiction Author, you could just GUESS at the best Amazon keywords...or you could KNOW exactly what your readers are looking for with 2 Simple Steps #IndieAuthorsClick To Tweet

Step 2: Find the Right Combination of Phrases

Typically, going after a single word or broad phrase keyword will be fruitless. A word or broad phrase does not adequately portray the story. Plus, you’ll find that the broader the term is, the harder it will be to rank for it.

Therefore, we need to combine words from our lists created above and find pairings that not only represent the specific story of our book, but are word pairings that shoppers actually type and have low enough competition so that we can get our book to show up in front of those shoppers.

To do this, I’ll be using KDP Rocket. It’s the only tool out there that will tell you the following:

  • What words people type into Amazon
  • How many people type those words into Amazon
  • How much money the books that rank for those words make
  • The level of competition to rank for that keyword phrase

You can see it in action here:

KDP Rocket has a full 30-day money back guarantee, so you are free to give it a try: look for your keyword phrases, find the best ones, and start getting your book to show up more on Amazon.

Examples of Fiction Keyword Research Results

Now that you have the process for finding legitimate fiction keyword phrases, let’s look at some results in each major genre. This will not only show how important the numbers are but also show each of the four fiction descriptive types in action.

Science Fiction Keywords – Style or Tone of Genre example

Table created using KDP Rocket

With the example above, I’ve shown that by niching down in the type of genre, we can identify areas where readers are going and have low competition. Science Fiction and Sci-Fi Military are too broad and too competitive, but as I went further down in my Space Marines story, I found that there are a significant number of readers who want a story about space marines fighting ant hive-like hordes of aliens (think Starship Troopers – or at least that’s the kind of story these Sci-Fi fans are associating with in regards to what they like) – P.S. I know this because that’s what I look for…

Fantasy Keywords – Character Role or Description Example

Table created using KDP Rocket

In this example, I wanted to show the power of a single word and its popularity vs. competitiveness. Using 6 different synonyms for a man who performs magic, you can see where some opportunities lie. As you can see “Mage” seems to offer the most optimal opportunities. Now, please understand, there are vast differences between a warlock and a magician, and this isn’t to say you should choose one when your book doesn’t cover that. But sometimes, when you have some that are very close like “Wizard” and “Mage,” you’ll have more opportunity to be seen by going with the keyword “Mage.”

Romance Keywords – Genre Tone + Time Settings

Table created using KDP Rocket

In this example, we see how adding the time period of “Victorian” to the type of Romance called “Second Chance” not only reduced the competition greatly but actually showed more money being earned in the sector. Although searches per month are lower, it’s great to see that there are still a significant number of searches with much less competition.

The example of “Second Chance Romance with baby” shows a unique but important aspect to shopper mentality. In this case, there are many shoppers who start their search by looking for the Romance genre style by typing in “Second Chance Romance” but then realize they want it to be family-related. At the last moment, they add the phrase “with baby” so as to create this. And yes, there are an estimated 795 shoppers per month typing that into Amazon. Remember, when we do searches on Amazon, we commonly neglect grammar or spelling and just let the search engine figure it out. Haha…gotta love data analysis.

Romance Keywords – Character Role Example

Table created using KDP Rocket

As you can see from above, trying to find terms representing a rich man role or a dominant role produced vastly different numbers. “Billionaire Romance” seems to be the most popular, however, “Millionaire Romance” is still highly searched for with much less competition. The other options don’t seem as realistic considering their high competition or just lack of searches (as you can see with “Rich man romance”).

The Math To Fiction Sales

So, why do the Amazon Searches Per Month numbers and Competition Score matter for our keywords? Statistically speaking, if your book ranks at the top of the Amazon search results for a keyword phrase, 27% of everyone who types it in will click on your book.

If you rank #4, only 8% will click on it.

Therefore, for your book to benefit from your keywords, you need enough searches but low enough competition.

Here’s an example to hit this point home:

Let’s say 1,000 shoppers per month type in a keyword phrase into Amazon and you rank #1. You can expect 270 shoppers per month to click on your book.

That’s 270 new shoppers finding your book each month.

However, if you rank #6, then you can expect 60 shoppers will click on your book. 60 is still pretty cool and can really help, however, 270 is a lot better…like almost 5x times better.

So, thanks to the steps above, you now know which keywords people are actually typing into Amazon, as well as how competitive they are.

And just like that, we’ve turned online book marketing into a science.

Writing is the art, but is your book marketing missing the science? #BookMarketClick To Tweet

So, Can Fiction Books Use Keywords?

After reading this, I’m sure you can now answer that question.

Again keywords are not a silver bullet that will make a bad book become a bestseller. But using keywords in the right way can be a powerful method in which to increase your book traffic and ultimately your sales.

The key is to get your book in front of the right shoppers.

Keywords for both fiction and non-fiction are an important part to online discoverability. But how well your designed book cover looks, how your book title reads, how your book description converts, how creative your story is, and how well your reviews are will impact your overall sales. The right keywords are what will help to get the right people to your book.

So, take some time, do your research, and find the best opportunities out there for your story.




Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.


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