Amazon offers authors up to five categories per book. If you have a book published in paper and in eBook then you can possibly have up to ten categories for one title!!!
So, why do you need to put your book under so many categories?
The answer is discoverability!!! You want your book to appear in as many search results as possible. The goal in choosing the right category for your book is to become the #1 best seller of that category.
You want to see the orange #1 Best Seller tag by your name! This gets your books discovered by more potential consumers! More consumers equal more opportunity to sell your work.
Step #1: Before you choose a category, you need to do some research.
- Create a table (use paper or excel-whichever is easiest for you)
- Go to Amazon and type in keywords to search for your book. For my book (Forbidden) I used Science Fiction Kindle Book, Fantasy and Science Fiction Kindle, Epic Fantasy Kindle Book, Sword and Sorcery Kindle Book, and Alien Wars in Kindle Books.
- Click on the # 1 book that comes up after you search for your keywords. Let’s take “Science Fiction Kindle Book” for example.
Typing in Science Fiction Kindle Book brought me to the screen above. There are over 80,000 results listed for this keyword string (as indicated by the red arrow). Click on the first book in the result list (Children of Time). Scroll down the page until you see the product details.
For this book, there is only one category stream we are going to look at. Since I am particularly starting with Kindle only I only want to look at the middle category stream
Kindle Store>Kindle eBooks>ScienceFiction&Fantasy>ScienceFiction>Colonization
If you are looking for a category for your paperback book then you would do the following steps for the two category streams for Books.
Once you click on the category stream that you want to follow you will see a page like this (remember to only click on the last word in the stream):
You will see books listed from #1 to #20. All the research I have done has said to look at the 1st book but I find it is more important to look at the 20th book. When you are searching for a book on Amazon you don’t typically click the first book on the screen (unless it has a really kick-ass cover!) If your book is selling well, then shoot for the #1 slot at the get-go. But if your book is slowly making sales and your brand is not well established you may want to choose a more obtainable goal.
Get your book on the first page of results for the category you choose. This means you will be in the top 20 for that category. Start small and work your way up. It is always admirable to shoot for the stars, but be realistic. If you are an unknown author with no background in marketing or with very few readers, shoot small and work your way up.
Scroll down to the 20th book. Select it.
Scroll down until you see the Amazon Best Sellers Rank (ABSR).
Step #2: Create an information table
- You will need three columns.
- Column 1: Category Stream
- Column 2: ABSR Ranking
- Column 3: # of Books to Sell
Fill out the information in your table for each keyword search. When you finish you should have a list of categories and the ABSR rank of the #20 book in each category.
Now that you have your list, we are going to use the Kindle Best Seller Calculator. The calculator will tell you how many books per day you will need to sell in order to make the top 20 in each category.
Note that the calculator has a separate calculation for EBooks and Paper Books.
When you finish your sheet, it should look something like this:
Notice the higher the ABSR the fewer books you will need to sell in order to make the top 20 results in that category.
Now that you have the information you need, choose the categories (up to five) for your book. Next, you will need to contact Amazon and ask that they place your book in these categories.
I have read that many requests get refused if you ask for multiple categories at one time. My suggestion is to send an email or call Amazon and request one category change at a time. This will save you time and energy (as well as unnecessary frustration).
Categories are updated on Amazon every two hours and results can easily change overnight. This is not a one and done process. This needs continual monitoring. If your book is not doing well in one category, you may need to consider changing to a different one. The more specific the category the higher the chances of hitting the top 20.
If you have other tips and tricks to choosing the right category for your book, please share. Writers should always help other writers.
Visit my website to find out other ways Amazon can help you to market your book.
Happy writing my friends!