Did you know you could put your book in additional Amazon categories? And that doing so gives your book more visibility?
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When you first upload your book, you’re only given the option of putting your book in two categories. KDP (Amazon) gives you a drop down menu of choices. What many people don’t know is that those are not your only choices. There’s a whole world of categories on Amazon and Kindle that you can access after you publish that are not part of that initial menu. Why aren’t they on the drop-down menu? Because Amazon has over 14,000 categories and subcategories. Ain’t nobody got time to scroll through that. So, choose the two best categories for your book to start.
Just so you know, Amazon will sometimes put your book in additional Amazon categories without you requesting it. And sometimes you find yourself in weird categories that are not a good fit. How does this happen?
Amazon uses your book description and keywords to see if your book might be a good match for other categories. It makes sense—they want your book to sell and if they can put it into a category that will help people find it, that’s a win/win. (This is how your book may end up in the “Short Reads” listings or some other category that ONLY Amazon can put you in.)
One way to “help” Amazon place you in additional categories is to use the category as a keyword. Another is to put the category in your description. Amazon is not relying on keywords for finding additional categories as much as they used to so it is up to you to do some of the lifting. But how do you find those categories?
What Categories is Your Book Already In?
Amazon only shows three categories on a book’s product page, but your book may actually already be in more categories. How do you find out if Amazon has placed your book in other categories? Use this cool link:
Type in your ISBN or ASIN, make sure it is set on the right store (.com for US, for example), and click the “Go Find” button. Then scroll down for your results. BKLnk will show you the categories your book is in, provide links to the Top 100 Bestsellers list and New Releases List in that category. Most helpful is the “Catalize” button that shows the categories used by the top 25 books in that category.
If you have Publisher Rocket, you can use that to search for the categories your book is in.
Finding “Hidden” Categories
There is no one list with all the categories in it (outside of Amazon, of course). But there are ways to find those hidden categories.
For Kindle, navigate to the Top 100 in Kindle Store list. Choose the Top 100 Paid books. Go over to the left-hand side menu and click on Kindle eBooks. Click on a category that matches your book and you will see it breaks down into additional subcategories. Each time you click a subcategory, you’ll see the Top 100 books in that subcategory.
Again, look at the left-hand menu. There is a list of MORE subcategories. And, depending on your topic, you may go several levels deeper. These are the categories that you won’t find on the drop down menus when you initially publish your book. You can only get into them if Amazon somehow decides your book belongs there or if you ask Amazon to put you in that category.
Do the same search in the regular Amazon store for your print books. You will end up poking around a bit—it’s not an exact science. This takes some time depending on how many books you have, but if you’re a geek like me, it will be fun, and at the very least, educational. (I mean, there are some weirdly specific categories on Amazon.)
As you’re going through, you need to write down the ENTIRE category path, not just “Legal” or “Artificial Intelligence.” So, my book, More Leads Less Work category string looks like:
Kindle Store » Kindle Store » Kindle eBooks » Business & Investing » Business Marketing & Sales » Advertising » Small Business Advertising,
If you look at the menu on the left hand side, I can actually go deeper. There are three sub-sub categories: Home Based Business, Online Advertising, and Writing Skills.
If I put my book in one or more of those categories, I have a better chance of being on the bestseller list for that category which means more visibility. More important, Amazon sends out suggestions to people searching in specific categories. If my book is selling reasonably well, if I am launching or promoting it and sales are anywhere more than one or two a day (in many categories), I am likely to have my book promoted by Amazon either as a “New Release” or “Best Seller.” Amazon puts my book in front of people who are specifically looking for certain books, i.e., the right target market.
You can also do this for the international stores if your book is distributed internationally—UK, ES, AU, etc.
Also, you can take a look at the top sellers in your current categories, go into the book’s page and either look at the categories they are in, or take the ISBN or ASIN number and put it into BKLNK or Rocket.
Send a Request
Once you have found the categories you would like your book placed in, use this direct link to sign into your Amazon Author Central account. Select “Amazon Book Page” under the “How Can We Help” section. Then select “Update Amazon Categories” from the left hand menu. Follow the instructions on the page, including which store you have the book in (Amazon or Kindle, US or another country), the ASIN or ISBN of your book, and then the EXACT category string. You can put your book in up to 10 categories (including the initial two that you chose when you first published). After that, they are less likely to add you to more categories. (You can also send a request by going through the “Help” tab on your KDP dashboard and clicking the “Contact Us” button.)
For a great video that walks you through the entire process, check out Dave (Kindlepreneur) Chesson’s video here.
One Caveat: Make sure your book is a good fit for the category. Putting your book into a totally random category just because there is little competition and you’re trying to get a bestseller ribbon may draw Amazon’s attention, and not in a good way. It’s better not to use all 10 categories than to put your book in a category that is plain wrong. Also, if you find your book in an inappropriate category, you can use this same form to ask to have it removed.
This is STUPID SIMPLE
I’m kicking myself because I have known that I could put my books in additional categories for YEARS and have been too lazy to take the hour or three to figure it out and do it. This simple process alone can increase your sales. For a couple of hours of poking around on Amazon, you can help your book find its audience. No excuses. Go do it.