As most authors are self-publishing today, it’s important for authors to know about Amazon’s book categories.
When you’re uploading your book to Amazon, you’re able to choose specific categories for your book to be list under. This is something you need to take advantage of.
Do your research and determine which categories best fit your book.
If you’re having a service upload your book, you should make sure you know what categories the service is using.
Do you know what categories your book is listed under with Amazon?
It’s a crucial element of your book marketing and book sales, and you should use as many categories as you’re allowed. With Amazon, it’s currently ten.
But, for reasons unknown, it seems a while back, Amazon made it more difficult to see the 10 categories you listed your book under – they only visibly list the first three.
According to Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur, you can now only see 3 of the categories you chose when you uploaded your book.
According to Geoff Affleck, "selecting the best Amazon book categories is one of the most important and overlooked aspects of publishing and one of the easiest to do. Most self-published authors and professional publishers give little thought to the category placement."
So, what exactly do categories do for your book?
Think of them as a step above keywords. You might think of categories as the house that holds the keywords.
Suppose you’ve written a children’s fiction picture books that focuses on a child owing a pet – the responsibility and caring involved.
The categories might be:
Books / Fiction / Children’s Book
The keywords might be:
Caring for a pet
This example should help you get the idea.
While Amazon buyers don't usually browse books by categories, if you're book is selling well, Amazon takes note of the categories your book is in. Their algorithm will give you a higher ranking for that category which means your book will be suggested to more customers.
It's kind of a popularity contest.
This is why keeping track of your book's categories is important.
It shouldn’t be a create and leave situation.
Suppose a new category opens up that's more focused on your book's subject matter. You would not doubt want to swap it out for a category that's less connected.
Or, maybe you're keeping track of other books in your subject matter and they're doing very well; you might want to use their categories.
Knowing what categories are getting traction and visibility will give you the opportunity to use the categories to bring more attention / visibility to your books.
So to address the problem of only seeing 3 of your listed categories, Chesson suggests a free service from Nerdy Book Girl that allows you to see them all. All you need is to input your ISBN or ASIN.
While this article focuses on Amazon, you should follow the same marketing strategy for any other aggregator or distributor you list your book with.