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How To Choose The Right KDP Categories: Increase The Discoverability Of Your Self-Published Books

How To Choose The Right KDP Categories: Increase The Discoverability Of Your Self-Published Books

Indie author Eliza Green shares her personal experience of improving her self-published book’s discoverability  on Amazon by strategic choice of categories and keywords.

Amazon KDP LogoSelling books on Amazon isn’t easy but improving your book’s discoverability will be a great help.

On Amazon, discoverability begins and ends with categories and keywords. These two things can help readers to find you more easily. I check my sales page every day and the first thing I look at is which categories my book is listed in, including bestseller lists.

Bestseller lists offer an even better chance of readers finding your work. My genre is science fiction and the categories I’m interested in include Dystopian, First Contact and Post-Apocalyptic. There are several more I can feature in, but it’s crucial that I’m in the ones that are appropriate to my level of sales.

Match Categories to Sales Levels

How competitive you are in a given category comes down to book sales numbers. Sales equals popularity, so if you’re not selling a huge amount, you should aim for a smaller, less competitive category. For example, Adventure and Science Fiction are tough categories for me to compete in. I have to be selling a lot more. That’s why I need to get into the smaller ones, such as First Contact and Post-Apocalyptic.

But Amazon doesn’t sit still, and neither should you. What happened next is proof that authors should never become complacent about checking their sales page. Last week, Amazon reported a bug in their system, which dropped my book out of all the categories I had worked hard to get into. My discoverability gone in an instant.

Keep On Top of Changing Categories

When I went on to KDP to repair the damage, I noticed a change: new categories that hadn’t been there before. Dystopian, Pre/Post Apocalyptic, not previously accessible as categories, were popping up formy selection. KDP only allows you to select two categories to feature in. I discovered, through trial and error that by adding keywords such as First Contact, I could hit a third category and get into that all-important bestseller list. Now, I’m in several categories and I’ve increased my chances of hitting several bestseller lists.

Amazon does crazy things from time to time, and it’s important to be aware of where your book is featuring. Remember, sales equals popularity, but before that comes discoverability. You’ll achieve that through the right category selection.

This Post Has 22 Comments
  1. Great tips for an author. In my opinion making a plan before your Kdp select days is the best strategy. While on these days submit / promote your book for free on sites listed at http://bookpraiser.com

    That would help your downloads a lot bringing you more reviews and exposure

  2. I have seen my categories on Amazon, but don’t understand how to find out if any of my books are on a best seller list. Or is the term ‘best seller’ listed in the details, and I’m not on any lists??

  3. Thanks Eliza! Your point about not sitting still but continuing to be observant of Amazon’s offering of categories is so important and it has given me the kick in the butt that I needed to recheck my own books’ categories.

  4. Thanks for the tip about keywords. It’s hard to get in good categories in children’s as many of them are not accessible from the dashboard. I’ve tried on one category for 3 months going back and forth with tech support. I’ll give this a try!

    1. Agreed Fiona! It would be a great business idea, but I believe it’s always worth knowing how these things work, from an operational point of view. If we paid someone to do this and sales were still slow, how would we know if they were taking advantage of the right keywords to maximise visibility?

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Eliza Green

Eliza Green worked in many industries, from fashion, to sport to finance, but when she discovered writing several years ago, it surprised her how much she loved it. She writes down-to-earth science fiction, which has stemmed from her lifelong obsession with sci-fi stories. Of special interest to Eliza is the not-so-distant future, gaining that glimpse into what life could be like if we carried on as we are. Dystopian future, overcrowding, pollution—the themes of the Exilon 5 trilogy. Amazon Bestsellers BECOMING HUMAN and ALTERED REALITY, Book 1 and 2 in the Exilon 5 Trilogy, are available to purchase from all major online retailers. She is currently working on Book 3 in the trilogy. More info and links are available via her author website: Eliza Green Books.

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