If you’re an indie/self-published author, keeping track of your Categories on Amazon is a useful tool to help boost visibility for your books–and it likely won’t cost you anything either. I’m going to show you some tips on your categories and also walk through why they’re important.
When you publish through Amazon’s KDP, they allow you to select two categories. But after your book is released, you can actually add up to eight more–for a total of ten categories. When browsing the product page on Amazon, they will only display up to three categories, but you can still be in ten.
Why do categories matter?
When you sell a book, your book moves up in the ranking of each category it’s in–the more you sell, the higher your ranking and the higher the chances of people seeing it. This doesn’t cost you anything. And if you sell enough books, maybe you’ll get one of those little orange flags that says #1 Bestseller in (Category Name). Which is exciting, and also fun to share on social media. So, the more categories you’re in, the more chances of a reader seeing your book.
Now, each category is different as far as how many books you need to sell in a certain amount of time in order to reach top ten or even number one. Getting in under 100 is also great, because when a person clicks on the link for the category, they can browse the top 100 books.
For example, if I were to list a hypothetical fantasy book about King Arthur in this category:
Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Epic
It would take 1800 sales in one day to get to the #1 spot, because it’s a very large and competitive category. If I narrow it down to:
Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Arthurian
It would take 84 sales per day.
Now, the above data is something I did get from software called Publisher Rocket, which is a paid software. (At the stage I’m at in my publishing career, I find it very useful, so I made the investment. Publisher Rocket also provides keywords, categories, and ASINS/book titles that are useful for Amazon Advertising, which is the main reason I have it. But I have a free tool in the next section to recommend as well.)
Going back to the Epic Fantasy vs. Arthurian categories–since you have the option of having ten categories, you might want your book in both of them anyway, but it’s best to try for some more niche categories as well.
Another way to research ideal categories is with a website called BKLNK.com. They offer a free search tool to help you find categories for your book. All you need is your ASIN.
Put in the ASIN and BKLNK will show you all the categories you are currently in:
This is helpful to see if you are in any categories that don’t seem to be working. Perhaps you’re in a category that isn’t right, or seems too vague. Make a list of the ones you want to get rid of–and later in this post I’ll explain how to get rid of them.
You’ll see in the above graphic a big green “Catalize” button. This is where BKLNK can help you discover new categories. Click that for one of your current categories, and it will show you all the other categories that people in said category are in as well. Confusing? Let me give you an example:
Above, I clicked Catalize on the Holiday Fiction Category. BKLBK then gave me this list of categories that 25 other books in Holiday Fiction were also in:
Now make a list of categories you want to add your book to.
You can also find categories manually–by searching on Amazon or even Goodreads for books you know are similar to yours, and noting which category they’re in. (And you can look up your comp titles on BKLNK too.)
Adding and Removing Categories
To add and remove your book from various categories on Amazon, you’ll need to go to your Amazon KDP Account. Once logged in, scroll all the way to the very bottom of the page and click “Contact Us”. From there, select the option “Amazon Store & Product Detail Page” and next: “Update Amazon Categories”
They will ask for your ASIN and you will be able to list categories to remove and to add in the contact box.
They are usually pretty quick about emailing a response when they’ve completed it, or if there are any issues to be resolved.
Good luck with your categories!
Liz Delton is the CAPA Publicity Director, author of the Realm of Camellia Series, the Arcera Trilogy, several Writer’s Notebooks, and more. Find her books on Amazon, or learn more at LizDelton.com