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.
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.