When it comes to self-publishing your upcoming book, do not make light of selecting your book categories! Although it may appear to be a small detail, you must realize that your readers often resort to categories when looking for books on a specific topic. Therefore, selecting the best book categories for your upcoming bestseller is a critical decision as it will impact your book sales.
Here are more notable reasons why your book should have best fitting categories:
- It can help you become a bestseller. Like the New York Times bestseller, Amazon can also tag your book with an orange badge that says “#1 Bestseller”. And with thousands of Amazon categories to compete and rank for, this means that there’s plenty of opportunity for you to become an Amazon bestseller!
- You can gain more exposure on Amazon. By appearing on different categories, your book can appeal to different audiences. And if your book ranks in the top ten of any category listings, Amazon will include your book to its “Recommendations Engine” which will generate more publicity!
But with plenty of book categories on Kindle Direct Publishing as well as the plethora of books competing for attention, how do you choose the right categories to make your book stand out to your reader?
In this post, we will share our best strategies to help you pick the right categories for your book that will increase your sales rank and obtain maximum exposure through Amazon’s search engine.
Here are the three topics we will cover:
- How to Research Your Competition
- How to Strategically Select Your Category
- How to Acquire Additional Categories
Let’s get started!
1. How to Research Your Competition
If your goal is to appear on the first page of search results on Amazon, then you must take advantage of every window of opportunity to succeed. In order to do so, you first must research your competition.
When you begin researching for book categories, you should start by scanning the bestselling books on every first page results of your target category.
The reason is simply due to the fact that the first page results are most likely what your readers are going to be looking for! Therefore, it’s important to identify the top selling books for each category you want to target.
Notice that for a book on Entrepreneurship, it’s ranked highest for “Labor & Workforce” and “Economics”. This goes to show that by placing their book into such unique categories, the author completely understood their target audience which is why The End of Jobs appears on several first page results.
So if you want to have a high ranking for your category, make it a priority to research your competitors’ categories and emulate their methods with your book.
Action Plan: Research the first page competitors in five categories of your choosing. Take note to any unique categories your competitors rank in, and apply them to your upcoming book.
2. How to Strategically Select Your Category
Because the Amazon’s Kindle Store has thousands of categories to choose from as well as an overwhelming amount of books fighting for attention, the competition can be relentless and unfair to new writers. But there is one approach that will have you stand out: Select trending categories with little competition.
What is considered a competitive rank?
We find that any categories with books ranking higher than #2000 is considered very competitive and not a recommended category for new writers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t place your book in a competitive ranking, but if you do, be sure to have a well planned book launch with a sizable audience that can provide a lot of verified reviews. For new authors with a smaller following, we recommend aiming for certain categories with books that rank between #10,000-30,000.
Once you’ve completed this research, you should have a list of thriving categories to place your book in that will outrank your competitors.
Action Plan: With the five categories you’ve researched, take the time to review your competitors’ ranking that fall between #10,000-30,000. For even better results, we also recommend using the KDP Calculator to calculate how many books you would need to sell in order increase your ranking.
3. How to Acquire Additional Categories
When you upload your book for the first time, Amazon will offer you a select list of categories to choose from. At a first glance, you will notice that the selection seems rather limited and is missing plenty of categories that you’ve seen other books rank for. Unfortunately, Amazon has done this intentionally so that they can place new books into their own kindle categories.
Don’t let Amazon determine your categories! There’s thousands of sub-categories you can rank for, and you can even include an additional eight sub-categories not found in the usual channels.
Here how you can acquire these categories:
- Use Amazon Keyword Selection. Include the name of your category as one of your “Amazon Keywords”. In order to obtain a particular category, you must include specific keywords in the Kindle submission form. For more information on Keyword requirements, visit Amazon’s browse category page to learn more.
- Place your categories in strategic places. To convince Amazon that your book should be placed in specific category, strategically work the words of the category onto the title, subtitle or even the summary of your book page.
- Contact Amazon. You can contact Amazon and request your book to be placed in a particular category. Amazon will then assess your entire book and determine if it’s an appropriate fit for the specific browse category. If approved, These categories will appear in the “Look for similar items by category” at the bottom of the book page.
Action Plan: Experiment with these strategies to acquire additional sub-categories for your book. Remember you can include eight additional keywords that can convince Amazon to place your book in the categories of your choosing.
If you want a successful book launch, you must not overlook even the tiniest of details. By following these guidelines on how to select your book category, your first book will have maximum exposure and the best chance to appear in the Amazon bestseller list.
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