Categorize Your Book to Succeed on Amazon
Correctly categorizing your book on Amazon is essential to its success. At Smith Publicity, we often meet authors who want robust book publicity campaigns, are ready to start, but are severely lacking information in their Amazon book page. Like it or not, Amazon is the number one online bookseller, by far, and as an author, you must put Amazon’s power to work for you. One of the ways to do it is to make sure you have your book accurately and thoroughly categorized.
Book sales rely heavily on discoverability. Keep in mind that aside from hearing about a book through media coverage or word-of-mouth, many people use Amazon as a book search engine to discover books they want to read. Therefore, the categories in which you place your book are crucial to reaching target audiences and showing up in search engine result pages.
A Brief Overview of Amazon Book Categorization
First, find successful books in your genre and see how they are tagged. Understanding your genre and subgenres is essential for discoverability. It also helps drive people to Amazon who find out about your work thanks to your book publicity campaign.
For example, here are the categories for three books. Notice how the publisher distinguishes each book in different categories:
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell:
- Kindle Store> Kindle eBooks> Health, Fitness & Dieting> Counseling & Psychology> Social Psychology & Interactions
- Books> Medical Books> Psychology> Social Psychology & Interactions
- Books> Health, Fitness & Dieting> Psychology & Counseling> Social Psychology & Interactions
Chesapeake: A Novel by James A. Michener:
- Literature & Fiction> Genre Fiction> Sagas
- Literature & Fiction> Action & Adventure> Romance
- Literature & Fiction> Genre Fiction> Family Saga
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon:
- Books> Romance> Time Travel
- Books> Literature & Fiction> British & Irish> Historical
- Books> Literature & Fiction> Genre Fiction> Historical> Fantasy
Tag your book in a niche category—one with perhaps fewer competitive titles—as long as your book is a good fit. For example, we worked with a children’s author on a book about helping grieving children. At first, her book was only tagged in the Children’s category, which has almost 1.5 million titles. To help people find the book, there are niche categories that better describe her topic and help people find it. In her case, it worked like this:
Children’s (1.5 million titles) > Growing Up & Facts of Life (160,000+ titles), > Difficult Discussions (12,000 titles) > Death and Dying (2,800 titles).
It’s much easier to get attention for your book and potentially reach the top of Amazon bestseller lists when a book is categorized effectively. However, only include yourself in a niche category if it makes sense for your book. You don’t want to confuse readers or end up with bad reviews.
It’s also valuable to change Amazon book categories from time to time. It’s a natural way of getting yourself in front of different audiences. As long as you’re putting your book into appropriate categories for its subject matter, it’s an excellent way to see if you can reach new readers and sell more copies.