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Monday, April 2, 2012

Tips For Getting in the Proper Categories on Amazon

Hello fellow writers and those that read us~

Today's Tip is on getting your book in the proper category on Amazon. My two books have been up quite a while and did so-so. I believe that in a large part, this was due to them not being in the proper category.

When you publish your book to KDP on Amazon, there is a large list of possible categories to list your book in. I'm sure, if you've already published, you've picked the category that you feel fits to a T. But does it?

Let's use an example from my own work. THE STORM WITHIN & TABLE FOR TWO is an anthology of romantic suspense. Its ranking has been dismal--until I fixed the category.

Here is the main thing to consider--people have to FIND your book to buy it.

As of 6 a.m. today, THE STORM WITHIN is at #6 in Romance Anthologies and #37 in Romance Anthologies overall. (The latter list includes both print and e-book)

Below is a screen shot.

My other book, LINKED, is also in a Top 100 List--and has been every day since I targeted my categories.

How did I do this? Did I write the best books in the world? Did I spend a ton of money to promote them on every website in the world? No, I didn't spend a dime. Really.

LINKED is a paranormal romance. It's Book One in the Prophecy Series I'm writing. Now, if you've looked on Amazon KDP, you'll notice that there isn't a category for Paranormal under Romance. While LINKED is available in print and e-book--I'm marketing the e-book o KDP.

What did I do? It was actually pretty easy. I simply picked the categories that best matched my books based on their content. I emailed KDP and asked them how to get in the proper categories.

Here are the steps to do:

1. Know your category! Is it romance? Is it a thriller? Mystery? Great--but what else is it? Is there a sub-genre to your work? Does it fit in any other category? Sure it does. Every book does. The trick is to get it there.
2. Go to your Amazon page (for the book) and scroll down to the bottom. See those categories there? Look at the lists. There will be several of them. See the image below:

Does one of them fit? GREAT! Now, copy the two that fit the best (remember, you want to be found under e-books) so don't pick the 'overall' category of 'books' unless yours is a print book.

In the above instance, I picked "Anthologies" and "Contemporary". Remember, narrow down your list as much as possible. "Romance" is too general. There are thousands and thousands. Unless you're selling 1k books a day--you're not going to rank high on that list.

The key is narrowing. Pick several books from the Top 100 List in your genre. See what categories are available. Pick the ones that most closely match your work.

3. Now that you know what category you want it, you need to let Amazon get you there. Copy the exact line you want, like this:

# Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Anthologies

When you contact Amazon KDP, they will put your book in whichever categories you ask. Be sure to list your book as non-classifiable under KDP. (At least I had to do that) Amazon will not create a new category--but they will add your book to any existing category.

Give it a few days and watch your books climb the charts! Remember, once you make a bestseller list--you've a best-selling author. Granted, it's best-selling in a particular genre. That's fine. It can take up to three days for it to cycle through.

It's fine to say "Amazon Top 100 bestselling romance" or "Amazon Top 100 bestselling in its genre" or even "Amazon Top 10 bestseller in its category" when it hits the Top Ten.

As an author--we need to make every effort to get our books in the hands of readers. Many readers buy their books based on those lists. The best day LINKED had last month was the day it first made an Amazon Bestselling Top 100 list.

Readers read because writers write. But first, they have to know you're out there.

Here's to seeing your book on that Top 100 List. Maybe even #1~


  1. Great article on KDP. I'm debating on doing it pretty soon or waiting until my sequel comes out. Right now, I'm getting slightly more sales at B&N.

  2. HI

    You don't have to be in the KDP Select program for the above tips to work.

    If your book is on Amazon at all as an e-book, they can be used.

  3. Thanks. I wish I could get my book under the category Teens, the main category on the Home page. It doesn't give that as an option. The best I can do is pick Juvenile and then mystery. I will try tweaking the categories and see if I can get it to rank higher.

  4. Good luck! And, by the way, if teens is one of the categories, and your book fits--you can. Just email them via the Dashboard. :)

  5. Ok Hope...I love you tip, wonderful! And I've figured a category for me that is more narrowed, so let me double check to make sure I understand...I am to contact Amazon to do this? Just the basic contact or special place?
    Next question, I am posted in this
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fantasy > Epic
    there are 6,285 in this category. Well I then see this one
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fantasy > Series
    there are 204 in this one, thats even better!
    So there is one choice, now to the question...
    We get two choices in our KDP, So I would need to contact them with two choices right?
    One more (sorry!) Do I do the unclassifiable right now or wait until contacted?

    Thank you!

  6. ok figured out by re-reading I do two:0), sorry I'm a slow one!

    1. OH, I just missed the question. Email delay. Yes, just contact KDP through their section--not Amazon in general. Be as specific as you can for at least one of the categories. As sales increase, it will naturally go higher in the other categories it fits.

      With KDP having no options for ebooks-we have to be creative. Remember not to pick series unless it's going to be a series, though.

  7. I had read what Jim Devitt advised on Indies Unlimited and could NOT figure out how to know what categories were available. Your info clarified that for me. Thanks a million, Hope. I've reworked two of mine and am waiting for their response, so keep fingers crossed! Definitely worth a try.


Thanks for the comments! Much appreciated.