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Choosing a Category for your Book on Amazon

amazon categories

While it’s not much more complicated than shoe-tying or crotch-scratching, there are a few tiny tricks that can help your book get more sales when it comes to choosing the right category. An extra book sale a day makes a huge difference when compounded over a time span of many years, so little things like this, which literally only takes a few minutes of effort, should be taken very seriously.

When people browse for books on Amazon, they often sift through the books by category. Not always, but sometimes. When choosing a category there are just two simple objectives:

  1. Appear in a category that your target customer will be most likely to browse through.
  2. Choose a category that you can compete in.

The first one is pretty easy and straightforward. But what happens when your category is too competitive for your book? Let’s say you’ve written a book about the magical weight loss properties of raising and eating your own seahorses. New and different sure. But you know that it’s only going to attract a certain percentage of customers. In the weight loss category, the top book is ranked #221 overall in the Kindle store, and the 100th book in that category is ranked #22,600.

Your book, Seahorse Abs, is currently ranked #67,322. Crap. Nobody’s going to find you while browsing through that category. You need to find a category where you can appear much closer to the top and be seen by all the people browsing that category.

So, you have to pick a more obscure category and own it.

You choose the elusive and hard to find category, “Diet Therapy.” Not exactly what your book is about, and not as lively of a category as Weight Loss, but better to fish in a small pond with some live fish swimming around than trolling the Dead Sea back on the 78th page of results under Weight Loss.

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Nonfiction > Professional & Technical > Medical eBooks > Alternative & Holistic > Diet Therapy

Lots of clicks before a browser makes it all the way to Diet Therapy no doubt, but in that category here’s what you see…

Choosing an Amazon Category

With your ranking, you show up at an incredible #8 in Diet Therapy. It’s no #1 in that category like the incredible #13,677 ranked Eat for Heat by Matt Stone. A legend amongst men. But at least you’re on the map.

Yeah, that’s my book in that spot, a category it has completely owned for 10 straight months. I can count the weeks where it wasn’t #1 in that category in 2013 on one hand.

And that’s a big lesson for being an independent, self-published author, and having some success on Amazon. Do some homework, know the categories you’re going after before you even write the first word of your book. You get to choose two categories. Choose wisely. And don’t ever write a book for a category you can’t compete in or you are probably just wasting your time.

That is all and happy writing!

Matt Stone author picMatt Stone is a successful self-published author of more than 15 books and co-founder of Archangel Ink. When he’s not writing, he spends most of his time helping independent authors distribute, market, and successfully sell their books.

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1 Comment
  1. At this moment, Eat for Heat is #2 in Diet Therapy.

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