Keyword strategies for authors running Amazon Ads

28 November 2022 | By Bryan Cohen, CEO, Best Page Forward

Understanding the keywords that are related to your books can make a huge difference in connecting with the right readers. But what is a keyword, and why does it matter so much? I’m Bryan Cohen, author, Amazon Ads user, and the creator of the free 5-Day Author Ad Profit Challenge*. Today, I’ll explain why a few words here and there can make all the difference.

First of all, let’s discuss what a keyword is. Keywords are single words and/or phrases that readers on use when they’re looking for a book to read. For example, a reader looking for their next epic fantasy series may discover a great read by using the keywords “epic fantasy series” to find a relevant book.

As a reader is browsing, they may see Sponsored Products ads that have used the term “epic fantasy series” as one of the keywords in their Sponsored Products campaign. If the reader is interested in the book being advertised, then they may click on it and become a buyer.

This scenario happened because the author had used a relevant keyword phrase in their ad campaign that fit the reader’s interest in epic fantasy books. Once the reader saw it, they took action and purchased the book.

Sponsored Products campaigns allow you to insert up to 1,000 keywords, which I like to group into three main types: book titles, author names, and descriptive terms. Let’s talk about how we figure out what are the most relevant keywords for our books and ad campaigns.

1. Know your genre

Relevancy is another word for similarity. If a keyword is relevant to your book, it is usually the book title of a similar book or a term a reader may use when trying to find your book. How do you know which keywords are the most relevant to your book? One of the best ways is to know and study your own genre or sub-genre.

You can learn about book titles that are similar to your book by studying the Best Sellers list for your book’s categories. You can enhance your learning by reading some of the customer reviews of those books and seeing what readers think about the title. You can also dive even deeper by reading the books in your category. Yes – all of this effort and education will take time, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure you know what keywords give you the best chance of relevancy with your ads.

2. Know your options

As I mentioned earlier, I use three main types of keywords in my Sponsored Products campaigns: book titles, author names and descriptive terms. Using the above research method, you’ll be able to get a pretty good idea of book titles and author names that are similar to yours, and you can populate your initial keyword list. But how do you know what keywords readers are using when they’re trying to find a book like yours?

One method is to visit the Amazon store from the reader perspective. First, open up an incognito browser window and select Kindle Store from the drop-down menu at the top of the site. Next, start typing in words that you think might be a good fit with your book into the discovery bar. For example, you might type in “mystery” for your cozy mystery series. Even after typing a single word, you’ll be able to see an interesting phenomenon. The discovery bar will actually fill in additional words that come up related to the word you used. Typing in “mystery” yields “mystery thriller suspense”, “mystery books best sellers”, “mystery romance” and multiple other terms. Each one of these terms is a potential keyword you could use in your ad.

But remember the importance of relevancy. If you do in fact type “cozy mystery”, then “mystery romance” might not be similar enough to your book. You’ll want to keep narrowing down potential keywords using the discovery bar to see which would be the most relevant. This research will be much easier if you complete the suggestions to study your genre from the first section of this post.

3. Know what’s possible

Once you’ve learned your genre and discovered the relevant keywords, you’re ready to create some ads. But how many ads do you actually create?

Through our experience with 50,000 authors taking our 5-Day Author Ad Profit Challenge, we’ve found that most genre fiction authors are able to find 500 to 1,000 relevant keywords per week. While you can fit all of those words into a single ad, we’ve found that putting 100 to 150 keywords in each ad tends to make the ads easier to sort and the keywords easier to keep track of. This means that 500 to 1,000 relevant keywords could fit in five to 10 new Sponsored Product campaigns per week.

In our initial research, we don’t know which book titles, author names and browse terms are the best fit for our book. By casting a wider net through running ads with new keywords each and every week, we’re able to see what works best. Once we know the most relevant terms, we can try to leverage this insight by looking for keywords related to our most successful targets and ads.

All research and ad creation tasks take time, but if it takes weeks, months, and potentially even years to write a book, then it’s worth putting in the effort to help readers discover your books on We hope that learning more about your genre also pays off in the long run as you better understand what readers want.

Thank you for reading this post. You can learn more about keyword research and advertising in general at our quarterly 5-Day Author Ad Profit Challenge. These free learning events feature dozens of support team members, live and pre-recorded video training and a whole lot more.

Bryan Cohen’s head shot

Bryan Cohen is the founder of the 5-Day Author Ad Profit Challenge, which is a quarterly event for authors. He’s also the CEO of Best Page Forward, an author copywriting agency that’s written over 4,000 book descriptions for authors. His books have sold over 140,000 copies. Find out more about his free challenges at

*The free 5-Day Author Ad Profit Challenge is not in any way affiliated with, sponsored by, or otherwise endorsed by, Inc., Amazon Ads, or any of its owners, officers, employees, affiliates or subsidiaries.