What is an Amazon Category?
Categories are Amazons way of dividing up the millions of books offered on the platform into various topics and subtopics
Why are Keyword Categories Important for a Self Published Author?
Picking good keyword categories directly relates to your ability to become an Amazon Bestseller and sell more books
Becoming an Amazon Bestseller provides social proof by adding that coveted "Best-Seller" badge to your page. (See above) People notice it, I notice it, and am more likely to buy a book because of it. Therefore, and marketing efforts (Such as Amazon Ads) made for the books will now perform better.
How do you see the Amazon Categories?
From the Amazon books store's menu, click on a category to expand the list and see applicable subcategories. You can also continue to click the subcategories until no more options appear underneath to get the full list.
How do you select the best Amazon Categories for your book?
Your goal is to either find a category that you can easily rank in or to find a popular category with readers that you can get ranked in the top 20 for. There are two ways to do this:
1. The scrappy, yet still somewhat effective traditional method
2. Using my favorite self-publishing tool
1. Without Publisher Rocket
Start of by doing a search in the Amazon Search bar using keywords that are relevant to your book
Look at their rankings to see what categories they're listed for -
You can click on Education & reference, Business & Money, or Job Hunting to then see each of those lists and the books contained within. You can then cycle through the exact same process with any books on those pages to see what other categories they're also listed for.
Through this process you can build up a significant list of categories that may be a good fit for your book. So which categories are the right categories for your book?
You can use the Kindlepreneur Best Seller Calculator to find how many sales it would take you to rank in each category. Using this you can see how many copies you would need to sell a day to get ranked in these categories.
You can get to where you want to go doing the above method, or you can use the multi-use tool, Publisher Rocket.
2. With Publisher Rocket (Kindle Category Finder)
Using publisher rocket will aggregate all of this data in one place for you, saving you time.
Pick up KDP Publisher Rocket if you haven't yet
At the top - select Book, ebook, or both.
Select any of the top level categories that you want to explore further.
Publisher rocket shows you what the best-seller ranking is, and how many sales it'll take to get to that spot.
Some notes when choosing your categories:
Be accurate - Amazon doesn't like authors who try to game the system. Over time, if your book's description, title, etc. don't match a category - Amazon will flag this. It's not a great user experience to see a knitting book under romance novels and Amazon prides themselves in user experience.
Get specific - Don't stick with top level categories, go deeper to subcategories to really identify what the book is about.
Don't be redundant - Listing the category and subcategory as two separate categories creates redundancy when you could be using that spot to list for another category.
How to actually Add or Update Categories?
1. Go to your Bookshelf and click the ellipsis button ("…") under the KINDLE EBOOK ACTIONS or PAPERBACK ACTIONS menu next to your book.
2. Choose Edit eBook Details or Edit Paperback Details.
3. Under the "Categories" section, make your changes.
4. Go to the bottom of the page and click Save and Continue.
5. On the book Pricing tab, click the publish button at the bottom of the page.
Categories you added from bookshelf won't match the website exactly. In KDP, you select BISAC categories while Amazon uses unique browse categories on the website.
You can select two BISAC categories; Amazon will then add your book to relevant Amazon categories.
This is where most authors stop, good job, time to log off. JK - time for extra credit.
Get listed for 7 extra categories in KDP
By contacting Amazon, you can actually get listed for a total of 10 categories. This is huge as it gives you extra chances to rank for various categories.
Go to the Author Central Help Page and sign into your KDP account
Under “How We Can Help” select “Amazon Book Page” , then select “Update Amazon Categories”
Then in the box, you'll see the following:
4. Include your books ASIN or ISBN number that you want to change the categories for, and the market. Now, enter in the appropriate category string that you want to be added to *Important: Make sure to copy the entire category string into this box.*
5. Hit send message and WALLAH - extra credit complete.
A note on Children's or teen and young adult categories taken from Amazon
Now that your categories are optimized, are your ads performing better? Are they making you money or are they blowing it?
Do you want to know what else you can do to improve your Book Ranking and Amazon Ads?
I also include a whole lesson by Michelle Kulp on making sure your book is set up correctly on KDP in my new 2021 Amazon Ads Author Masterclass.
So there you have it - hopefully this has been a helpful guide to help explain what Kindle Categories Are, How to Use My Favorite Kindle Category Finder, Why Kindle Category Rankings are Important, and How You Can Make Sure You're Listed for the Top Kindle Categories.