In this new era of publishing, Amazon reigns over the world of online book sales. As an author or publisher, knowing how to navigate through Amazon’s book market to bring attention to your work is very important. One key strategy for a successful Amazon platform is understanding and selecting the right book categories.
Recently, Amazon updated their categories in June 2023, which gives authors more opportunities to boost their sales and discoverability than ever before.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the new features of Amazon categories, help you select the right one, and give you tactics on how to use Amazon’s categories to your book’s advantage.
What are Amazon Book Categories?
Think of Amazon book categories just like the genre of a book. They classify books based on their niche and subject matter which makes it easier for people to look for.
Since Amazon is one the world’s largest bookstores, Amazon can cover just about any genre you can imagine. Categories can range from very broad to very specific depending on the subject matter of your book.
Why are Amazon Book Categories Important?
Selecting the right category is like shelving a book correctly in a library. When someone is looking for a specific type of book, they know which section of the library to find it in. If the book is put in the wrong section, no one will be able to find it.
That’s why choosing the right category is so important! Amazon categories are a navigation system that connects readers with books that match their interest.
When your book is placed in the right category, it gives your book an opportunity to be seen. This boost in discoverability not only makes your book more relevant in searches, but it also increases your book’s sale potential.
How to Choose the Right Amazon Book Category
Research your book’s niche and genre
In order for you to choose the right category, you must do your research first! For example, if you’re a dietitian wanting to write a book about diabetes, you can manually search up Amazon’s best sellers for diabetes and a list of Amazon’s top 100 books about diabetes will appear.
Notice in the far-left section of your search there’s a list of all the categories that the topic “diabetes” falls under. Use this list to guide you on what categories you should choose when publishing your book on Amazon.
Research Top Keywords
Now that you’ve searched for the top 100 books about diabetes, it’s time to research the top keywords associated with the word “diabetes.”
To do this, first click on the gray section of the Amazon search bar and select the word “Books.”
Then, type in the word “diabetes” and a list of the top keywords associated with diabetes will immediately appear.
This search allows you to see the top words associated with diabetes that customers on Amazon type in. This information is important as it gives you an idea of what customers are looking for and how you can meet that need with your book.
Analyzing Your Competitors
If you want more specific information about your competitors, you can always use an external resource such as Publisher Rocket.
Publisher Rocket allows you to easily observe customer’s top keywords, the books competing for that keyword, and the revenue/sales of the highest-ranking books.
Through Publisher Rocket (or through your own research), notice the details of your competitor’s books such as the list price, book title, description, and the book cover. Now, use this information to enhance your book and make it stand out from the rest.
Choosing Categories and Subcategories
As of June 2023, Amazon allows authors/publishers to select up to three categories for their books. Within these broad categories, Amazon also allows you to choose up to 2 subcategories (or subgenres) that narrow down your niche.
Now that you’ve done your research, use the category list from above to help you with your selection. So, if you were writing a book about diabetes, the first category that you can possibly select is “Health, Fitness, and Dieting.”
After you select your first category, the subcategory option will then appear. As the first subcategory for this example, you can choose “Disease and Physical Ailments.”
For the second subcategory, you can select “Diabetes” and choose what placement your topic of diabetes falls under. For this example, we’ll choose “General.”
For the last two categories, repeat the same selection process as demonstrated.
Overall, choosing categories and subcategories is like a funnel. You first choose the broadest category that fits your topic; then you narrow down the topic to your niche as you select specific subcategories.
Stay Up to Date with Changing Categories
Amazon’s categories often shift over time. Keep an eye on category changes and be prepared to adapt your book’s categorization as needed.
4 Tips to Optimize Your Amazon Book Categories
- Craft an attention-grabbing book title
The book title is your reader’s first impression of your book. Therefore, creating a bad book title can heavily limit your book’s success. To create the perfect book title, it should be interesting, memorable, informative, and to the point.
- Create an enticing book cover that matches your category
Contrary to popular belief, many people do judge a book by its cover. You can hire a graphic designer if you have little to no graphic design skills, or you can create your own book cover using graphic design tools such as Canva.
The main goal of creating a book cover is to help your book fit in with your category but simultaneously stand out from your competition.
- Write a compelling book description with relevant keywords
Book descriptions are advertisements. They grab your potential reader’s attention as they highlight what your book is about. Create a comprehensive book description that appropriately features your book’s theme while using keywords throughout the text.
- Leverage Amazon Author Central for category optimization
Amazon Central is a free service where authors can showcase who they are to their readers while also observing their book’s sales, reviews, and competition. Use this free resource to enhance your book’s quality and to also increase your following as an author.
Best Practices for Ranking in Amazon Book Categories
The Importance of Sales Rank and Reviews
The ultimate goal is to rank on Amazon within your chosen category. Sales and reviews go hand-in-hand as they heavily influence your book’s rank on Amazon.
3 Strategies to Boost Book Sales
- Leverage Amazon Ads – Consider using Amazon’s advertising options such as Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands. Product and brand affiliation can potentially drive more traffic to your book’s page.
- Utilize Amazon’s Promotional Tools – Amazon offers promotional tools like Free Book Promotions for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) books and Kindle Countdown Deals. Use these promotional tools to increase your book’s sales and downloads.
- Monitor and Adjust Pricing – Experiment with various price points for your book. Take note of which price both maximizes sales and revenue. Additionally, always keep an eye on your competitor’s pricing, and be ready to adjust to any price changes in the market.
Engage with Your Readers
Connect with your readers through social media, email newsletters, and author events. Creating a Facebook author page, replying to comments/reviews, or sending a simple email can go a long way because it shows your readers that you care.
When your readers feel valued and seen, they are more likely to come back and support you throughout your writing journey.
Understanding the ins and outs of Amazon book categories can be a difficult concept to master. Yet when it’s done correctly, it can be a game-changer as it increases your book’s marketability.
Use this guide to help you choose the perfect categories and watch your book sales soar as your book’s platform becomes enhanced.
Interested in Learning More About Self-Publishing on Amazon KDP?
Are you a dietitian that has self-publishing on your bucket list for 2023? Join the Click to Publish course today and make your dream a reality.
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