Use More Categories on Amazon to Boost Book Sales in 3 Simple Steps

Posted on Dec 12, 2023

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Written by Scott Allan

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When it comes to self-publishing your upcoming book, do not make light of selecting your Amazon book categories. Using more categories on Amazon, and using them well, can make all the difference in your book sales.

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. And the more categories on Amazon you use, the better your chance of being found is.

Therefore, selecting the best book categories for your upcoming bestseller is a critical decision.

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 bestsellers, Amazon can also tag your book with an orange badge that says “#1 Bestseller”. And with more and more categories on Amazon to compete and rank for, there’s plenty of opportunity for you to become an Amazon bestseller!
  • You can gain more exposure on Amazon. By appearing in more categories on Amazon, 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 in its “Recommendations Engine”  which will generate more publicity!

But with plenty of book categories on Amazon KDP (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 more categories on Amazon (and the right ones) that will increase your sales rank and obtain maximum exposure through Amazon’s search engine.

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How many categories can my book be in on Amazon?

Amazon will allow you to apply for three book categories.

Editor’s Note: It used to be the case that you chose two categories when you uploaded your book, then you could email Amazon to request up to ten more categories on Amazon. That policy was updated in late May 2023 and three categories is now the maximum.
You cannot request more categories on Amazon.

June 2, 2023

How often should you update categories and keywords?

In order to keep your book in the right categories, we recommend our authors update their book’s categories on Amazon once a year, and also update in the UK and DE stores using Publisher Rocket.

For your keywords for Amazon KDP (separate, but also related to Amazon book categories), check these every 3 months. You may find that you’ll often replace some of these several times a year as the Amazon algorithm changes.

Where can I find the best Amazon categories for my book?

If you want to find more categories on Amazon that will set you up for success with your book, we recommend using Publisher Rocket, and our students even get a discount code to purchase the software.

When it comes to keywords, what works best is actually looking at the keywords other books like yours (that are ranking well) are using, and refreshing those when needed, as stated above.

3 Steps to Find More Categories on Amazon

If you want your book to be more visible, the trick is getting it into more categories on Amazon so it can rank in them. Not just any categories, though.

They have to be categories that will put your book in front of your unique target audience. Here are the three steps we recommend taking to find more categories on Amazon that will work for you.

1. 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 more categories on Amazon, you should start by scanning the bestselling books on every first page results of your target category.

Finding More Categories On Amazon

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.

Next, go through each of the books on the first page results and study its category string links. For example, here are the category links for Taylor Pearson’s book, The End of Jobs:

Book Categories On Amazon

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 a handful of categories of your choosing. Take note of any unique categories your competitors rank in, and choose the top three to apply them to your upcoming book.

2. Strategically Select More Categories on Amazon

Because 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 category 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 Amazon 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 categories you’ve researched, take the time to review your competitors’ rankings 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 to increase your ranking. If you really want to go deep into this, learn how to use Helium 10 – Cerebro.

3. Acquire Additional Categories on Amazon

When you use the Amazon self-publishing platform, you will be given a select list of categories to choose from. At 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 are thousands of sub-categories you can rank for. Do some digging to find more categories on Amazon that you can excel in.

Here is how you can acquire these categories:

  1. 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.
  2. Place your categories in strategic places. To convince Amazon that your book should be placed in a specific category, strategically work the words of the category onto the title, subtitle, or even the summary of your book page.
  3. 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 also customize the eight additional keywords to help 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 categories, your first book will have maximum exposure and the best chance to appear in the Amazon bestseller list.

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