Amazon Book Categories: Tips for Authors

Categorize Your Book on Amazon to Spark Sales

Amazon book sellersCorrect Amazon book categorization is essential to your success. At Smith Publicity, we often meet authors who want robust book publicity campaigns, are ready to start but lack information on their Amazon book page. Like it or not, it is the number one online bookseller, by far, and as an author, you must put its power to work for you. One of the ways to do it is to make sure you accurately categorize your book.

Putting yourself in the right Amazon book category is crucial because book sales rely on discoverability. It’s a publishing industry term that means reaching your target audience with your marketing message. Aside from hearing about a title through media coverage or word-of-mouth, many people use Amazon as a book search engine to discover books and categories matter. Therefore, Amazon categorization helps your reach target readers and appear in search engine result pages.

How to Choose Amazon Book Categories

Tips on how to sell your book on Amazon. First, find successful books in your genre and note their Amazon categories. Understanding your genre and subgenres is vital for discoverability. Thanks to your book publicity campaign, it also helps people buy copies who have heard about it in the media.

For example, here are the categories for three books. Notice how the publisher distinguishes each one in different categories:

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell:

Chesapeake: A Novel by James A. Michener:   

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon:

Tag your book in a niche category on Amazon—one with perhaps fewer competitive titles—as long as it is a good fit. For example, we worked with a children’s author on a book about helping grieving children. At first, she was only tagged in the Children’s category, with almost 1.5 million titles. To help people find the book, she needed to add niche categories that better described her topic and helped people see 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 bestseller lists when you select the optimal categories. 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.

The Right Categories Guide Readers to Your Book

Reaching target readers with information about your book is best to spark sales. It’s why the Amazon categories are crucial to your marketing and promotion effort. Readers and search engines value authenticity and uniqueness, and it is essential to reach them with information about your work. All of your online book marketing needs to be well organized and coordinated. You’ll find success when your messaging is consistent and carefully planned to reach the right prospective readers. It’s why successful promotional campaigns result from many details, all correct, working together.

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. If you stay in the same categories eternally, you’ll only get those who search those terms. Changing to other appropriate categories connects you to many different searches and can help spark sales in the long run.