Taming Amazon discussion

486 views
Choosing Categories on Amazon

Comments Showing 1-47 of 47 (47 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Categories on Amazon are confusing, to say the least. But understanding them and placing your book in the correct one, is essential.

The key is to find a category that’s suitable for your book, but not very competitive. If you use Amazon’s Browse/Categories function, you’ll be able to see how many books are in a category.

Let’s say your Amazon Best Sellers ranking is #55,000 and you’re in the Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense category. If you go to the Best Sellers for this category, you’ll see the ranking for the book in 100th place is #487. So, your book wouldn’t appear to browsing customers.

If we drill down a few categories to the Suspense/Paranormal/Psychics category, and look at the rankings for the books on the first page, you'll see that your book would be ranked as 16th, so you’d be on the first page and highly visible.

To do this, go to your KDP Dashboard to edit the details of your book and choose to Add Categories. You’ll see the list of categories to choose from. The problem is these categories are different from how they are listed on the website. So, choose Non-Classifiable. Then go to the bottom footer on the page and click Contact Us, (really small print.) You’ll be taken to the What is the problem? page.

Choose Publish Your Book, and Adding or changing categories. For the subject I use, Category not listed. Then copy and paste the category(s) from the search on Amazon you want to be in. Also, list your book name and ASIN number. If you’re changing to a new category, list the one(s) you want removed.

So I’d say something like,
“I would like to add my book to this category. Kindle eBooks › Mystery, Thriller & Suspense › Suspense › Paranormal › Psychics.
Please remove my book from this category, Kindle eBooks › Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.
Thank you very much.”

I think it’s essential to have your book in a category that will put you on the 1st page for customers browsing that category. If, after a few weeks, you aren’t making much progress, change to another. Keep at it until you find a category that works for you.

Let me know if you’ve had luck with this tactic, or if you have any suggestions.
Thanks!


message 2: by Greg (new)

Greg Dragon (gregdragon) | 5 comments Excellent advice Jim, thank you very much.


message 3: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Thanks Greg, I'm glad you found it interesting.


message 4: by Kim (new)

Kim Hornsby (authorkimhornsby) | 4 comments Strangely enough my book is at 55,000 this morning and is a mystery suspense paranormal psychic. Just requested a new category but were you using the dream jumper's promise as an example Jim? Thanks for the fantastic tip! Kim Hornsby


message 5: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
That's funny! No, I was really just using the number 55,000 as an example, what a strange coincidence! I'm glad you found the information useful.
Good Luck!


message 6: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
You're welcome, Jonathan. I plan to add more information soon about finding keywords, writing descriptions, and using social media to promote your book.


message 7: by Anne-Rae (new)

Anne-Rae Vasquez (annerae) | 2 comments Hi Jim,
I followed your advice and contacted KDP Help to change the categories for my book.

I always wanted my book to be in
Mystery & Suspense > Thrillers > Apocalypse
Young Adult > Paranormal > Thriller

Hope they accept my suggestion :)

Thanks again


message 8: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
They'll change it for you, Anne-Rae. You'll be able to tell by looking near the bottom of your product page at the "Look for Similar Items by Category" section. That will tell you what categories you're in. Sometimes they'll just add the category without removing one. One of my books is in 4 categories.

It may take a few days before your ranking number shows in the "Product Details" section. I think it must take time for it to propagate.

Anne-Rae wrote: "Hi Jim,
I followed your advice and contacted KDP Help to change the categories for my book.

I always wanted my book to be in
Mystery & Suspense > Thrillers > Apocalypse
Young Adult > Paranormal >..."



message 9: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Thanks, Jonathan, I would be very interested to hear how it works for you. I'm always looking for new ways to get reviews. Are you trying the 30 free trial?

Jonathan wrote: "Thanks, Jim. I'm trying one of my books on Tomoson. I'll let you know how it goes."


message 10: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
I was wondering if you signed up for the 30 day free trial of the service on Tomoson.


message 11: by Kim (new)

Kim Hornsby (authorkimhornsby) | 4 comments And now I'm #49 in Mystery/Suspense/Paranormal/Psychics after several emails with Amazon KDP! It took a few days to see it but it WORKED! Thanks Jim.
Kim Hornsby
The Dream Jumper's Promise


message 12: by J. (new)

J. Bennett (jbennett_gwbw) | 47 comments Jim, I've done this too, and I was surprised at how quickly the KDP people wrote back and put me in my requested categories. I've had really positive experiences reaching out to the KDP support team. They helped me switch categories and set my short story at perma free.


message 13: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
I think Amazon realizes that we are just trying to increase sales, which in turn makes more money for them. As far as setting a book to perma free, I think they have to price-match to keep customers from going to other sites.
Thanks for sharing your experiences.


message 14: by Kim (new)

Kim Hornsby (authorkimhornsby) | 4 comments I'm sending everyone I know over to get your book Jim. It's a great reference, especially for us Indie Authors. I have no say over my traditionally pubbed stuff but The Dream Jumper's Promise is doing great!


message 15: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Thanks, Kim. I really appreciate your help.
Jonathan, great article, thanks for posting it.


message 16: by J. (new)

J. Bennett (jbennett_gwbw) | 47 comments Jonathan, WOW! This is truly one of the most interesting and informative articles I've ever read on self publishing. Okay, I think I'm going to re-read it again. Thank you so much for sharing!


message 17: by Jenny (new)

Jenny Hayworth (goodreadscomjenhay) | 31 comments Hi Jim, since I changed categories this has continued to work for me. I continue to stay at no 1 in one category and often up to 3 categories - so this is great. Just wanted to update other members that this really does work.
Inside/Outside by Jenny Hayworth


message 18: by Ben (new)

Ben Langdon Thanks for posting that report Jonathan. Great insights and I'm feeling like part of something now - just published six weeks ago and I'm selling an average of 30 books a day. I've got the subcategory worked out (superhero fiction) and I think being in the top ten there has helped with exposure because I haven't done anything else except a Goodreads giveaway and free books for review (I've got 8 reviews so far).

The best advice I've got so far is to keep writing. The books eels to be doing well enough on its own so I need to get the next one out in the next few months - that'll be my hardest trick, I think! Getting the sales is a great incentive though.


message 19: by Ben (new)

Ben Langdon Steady, regular writing is my goal. I think having the first one out is great incentive for the second and subsequent ones though. It's shown me that I can actually do this writerly thing. I don't know about anyone else, but that uncertainty was the biggest hurdle.


message 20: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 16 comments Hi Jim,

My suspense fiction book was in two general categories.
I changed the most general to non-classifiable, then went to the contact page and requested:

Please fill in the following information:

ASIN or name of book: B0094VD7JW

Category to delete (optional):
Please remove my book from this category, FICTION > Thrillers > General

New category (select two):
I would like to add my book to these categories.
Kindle Store › Kindle eBooks › Mystery, Thriller & Suspense › Suspense › Psychological › Female Protagonists.
Kindle Store › Kindle eBooks › Mystery, Thriller & Suspense › Suspense › Psychological › Dark

Thank you very much
Martyn V. Halm


Let's hope this works, because I don't know how many people 'browse' for these categories, but looking for my book in "FICTION > Thrillers > General" won't do any good at all.


message 21: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 44 comments Jim wrote: "Categories on Amazon are confusing, to say the least. But understanding them and placing your book in the correct one, is essential.

The key is to find a category that’s suitable for your book, b..."

I'm going to try it. Interesting that so many of us on this thread write paranormal/psychics...


message 22: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
I think that placing your book in a smaller category can make a big difference. Let me know how it works out for you Martyn and Amber.


message 23: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 16 comments I was contacted by KDP, who said:

I hope you are having a great day! Thanks for reaching out to KDP Support and providing me the opportunity to help you.

I've successfully added your book, "Reprobate - A Katla Novel", to the following category:

Kindle Store › Kindle eBooks › Mystery, Thriller & Suspense › Suspense › Psychological

This change will take effect on the Amazon website within 72 hours.

* You can add the final path of them "Female Protagonists" and "Dark" as keywords, because on our website the desired category ends in Psychological.


They also gave me advice on how to change my keywords.

I asked them to do to my other books in the Amsterdam Assassin Series what they did for Reprobate, and gave them a list with ASIN numbers, and they changed that too, so I thanked them and told them I appreciated their efforts to help me.


message 24: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Great! I'm glad it worked out for you.


message 25: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 16 comments So am I. Thanks for your tips on how to bring this to KDP attention, Jim. The good thing is that it seems like they left the other categories stand, just added the new one.


message 26: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
I've had the same experience. One of my books is in 6 different categories.


message 27: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 44 comments Jim wrote: "Categories on Amazon are confusing, to say the least. But understanding them and placing your book in the correct one, is essential.

The key is to find a category that’s suitable for your book, b..."


I can't find a function called "browse categories", but under books I clicked on mystery and then drilled down . All I found were the same limited options that I could choose initially when choosing categories. I don't see how shoppers browse these detailed categories that you are talking about. I will try to change my book's category anyway.
I'm about to do a blog interview where the interviewer points out that book is closer to literary fiction than a conventional mystery and that my paranormal story is very close to "normal." People who give me four and five star reviews say similar things. That I defy genre and it's a good thing about the books--but hard for this categorizing project. Do you have a category suggestion? Paranormal in the sense that protagonist is psychic, mystery in the sense that she uncovers secrets, but it's not a murder mystery.

The Calling by Amber Foxx Shaman's Blues by Amber Foxx


message 28: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Hi Amber, I'll try to help. I think your book is in these 2 categories:

Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Metaphysical
and
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery

By "browsing" categories, I mean to go directly to a category and then viewing the results. You can "filter" the results a certain way by using the "Sort by" dropdown box on the right.

The "mystery" category has over 62,000 books in it you would have to compete with. By "drilling down" to another level, for instance, Women Sleuths, you only have 12,000 to compete with.

I haven't read your books, so I couldn't say for sure if this is a good fit for you, but does that help explain it better?


message 29: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 44 comments I will look for the "sort by" dropdown and let you know. Thanks! I couldn't get below 'Women Sleuths" etc.


message 30: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments Hey thanks so much for the advice Jim. I have a question. I had done a lot of reading on categories for my first novel A Pair of Docks and carefully researched categories as you have outlined. Then when I was given the choices in KDP and Createspace, they were as you have noted very limited, even more so for juvenile fiction than for adult fiction. So not knowing the approach you have outlined above, I just went with what I felt was best:

FICTION > Science Fiction > Time Travel
JUVENILE FICTION > Fantasy & Magic

Kind of limiting yes, but I didn't think I had a choice as I was not aware of the approach you have outlined.

BUT when I actually started to sell copies on a few occasions, I found myself hitting the top 100 in categories that I had not chosen - appropriate categories mind you, but it was like Amazon had chosen some categories for me. Maybe it is because my book is about time travel and that therefore streams it in to some of their set categories that have fewer books in them than others. For example, right now on Amazon.co.uk, I am
#77 in Kindle Store > Books > Children's eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories > Science Fiction > Time Travel

This category of course is similar to the categories I was able to select in KDP and Createspace, but not the same.

I am curious if others have had this experience. I am busy researching categories for my next novel and don't want to spend a lot of time on it if Amazon is going to again select categories for me beyond those which I am able to select myself.


message 31: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
It looks like you are in three categories:

Children's eBooks > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories > Fantasy & Magic

Children's eBooks > Science Fiction, Fantasy & Scary Stories > Science Fiction > Time Travel

Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Time Travel

I'm not sure what happened, if you didn't request the categories. I've never heard of Amazon doing it on their own. That's very interesting.


message 32: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments Yes, those are the categories I am in - how did you know? I can only see them when I am ranking in one of them.

And no, I did not select them. Weird hunh? Maybe that only happens with children's books because their categories are even more restricted in terms of what you can pick than adult books?


message 33: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments I just listened to a podcast on categories and keywords today. Apparently you can influence your category choice through your keyword choice - Amazon will add you to some categories if your key words reflect those categories. I think that explains how I ended up in categories that I did not directly choose.


message 34: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Interesting, I'll have to look into that.

To find out what categories you're in, search for "your book by your name" on Amazon. The results in the left column will be your categories.

Also, if you look at the bottom of your book's product page you'll see, "Look for Similar Items by Category," which will list your categories.


message 35: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments It was a Self-Publishing Roundtable podcast on categories if you are interested :-).


message 36: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 44 comments Jim wrote: "Hi Amber, I'll try to help. I think your book is in these 2 categories:

Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Metaphysical
and
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery

By "browsing" categories, I ..."


I am already in the Metaphysical category. I asked to be moved from mystery detective general to mystery>paranormal>psychic since I could not accomplish that directly. Just got a great review that says the book is just barely mystery but that it's wonderful literary fiction. Ah. The category to disappear in.


message 37: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 44 comments I am still stymied by this process that others have successfully done. When I look at a book on Amazon I do not see a complex category like people are describing. I see a list of categories in a sidebar. When I tried to get my books moved to a subcategory I was told it did not exist-- mystery>paranormal>psychic. I cannot drill down in categories to these of deep levels other people are finding. I feel as if I am playing a video game that I do not know how to play and everyone else is mastering the obvious while I fail to even see it.


message 38: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer | 13 comments Hi Amber,
Try this. Go to amazon.com. In the search bar, to the left, where the arrow is and there is a drop down menu, pick kindle store, then type mystery into the search bar. You should then see some of the main mystery categories along with in brackets, the number of books in each category. Then once you have this you can play around with it to see if there are sub-categories. For some there are and once you dig into it a second set of choices will appear in the side bar. For some there are not, and that side bar with the number of books in each category will be replaced by something else, which means that that is the end of the line in terms of that category.

Does that make sense? Probably not, but if you are at least seeing numbers in brackets on the sidebar next to a category, you are closer.


message 39: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 16 comments Amber, go to the homepage of Amazon. Do not type anything in the search bar, but tap the 'All' and select Kindle Store in the drop down menu. Now you get everything in the Kindle Store with a list on the left that can help you narrow down your search.

Leaving the search bar empty, you go to the second filter option 'Kindle Store', where you have a list:
Kindle Devices (34)
Kindle Accessories (466)
Kindle Blogs (4)
Kindle eBooks (2,627,280)
Kindle Magazines (490)
Kindle Newspapers (157)
Kindle Singles (519)
Kindle Worlds (475)


Select Kindle eBooks (2,627,280)

If you scroll down, you'll find a list in the left bar with:

Kindle eBooks
Arts & Photography (146,000)
Biographies & Memoirs (115,714)
Business & Money (167,153)
Children's eBooks (136,939)
Comics & Graphic Novels (21,583)
Computers & Technology (46,320)
Cookbooks, Food & Wine (38,428)
Crafts, Hobbies & Home (49,929)
Education & Reference (162,350)
Gay & Lesbian (25,800)
Health, Fitness & Dieting (165,809)
History (145,069)
Humor & Entertainment (72,955)
Literature & Fiction (856,128)
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (148,423)
Nonfiction (1,339,206)
Parenting & Relationships (51,240)
Politics & Social Sciences (183,981)
Professional & Technical (209,018)
Religion & Spirituality (275,450)
Romance (189,206)
Science & Math (156,301)
Science Fiction & Fantasy (161,909)
Self-Help (68,535)
Sports & Outdoors (45,612)
Teen & Young Adult (55,344)
Travel (41,338)
Foreign Languages (554,299)


If you select one of them, you'll narrow down further.
Select 'Mystery, Thriller & Suspense (148,423)' and you get:
Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Crime Fiction (33,009)
Mystery (67,450)
Suspense (42,654)
Thrillers (55,928)


Select Mystery (67,450) and you get:
Mystery
African American (700)
British Detectives (3,561)
Collections & Anthologies (4,130)
Cozy (2,982)
Gay & Lesbian (832)
Hard-Boiled (5,786)
Historical (4,790)
International Mystery & Crime (1,626)
Police Procedurals (6,312)
Private Investigators (3,063)
Series (567)
Women Sleuths (11,826)


This is the last selection you can make in this area. So say your protagonist is a female detective, so you select Women Sleuths (11,826)

Now select the first book at the top.

Now scroll down to Product Details and you'll find:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Police Procedurals
#1 in Books > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Mystery > Women Sleuths
#2 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Women Sleuths


Copy the link you like:
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Women Sleuths

And go through the procedure to tell KDP you want your category changed to: Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Women's Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Women Sleuths

You can also find this information on my blog.


message 40: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 16 comments You're welcome, Jonathan. If you follow the link to the blog, you can find social media buttons under the articles, to share them if you think others in your circles might find the information interesting.


message 41: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 44 comments Thanks. I will try again. Alas my protagonist is not a detective. Sleuth sounds like a detective. I should have written true genre fiction just so I could pick a category. I realize all categories will actually be at least partially wrong. And I'm going to pick one anyway. If this slow student can actually follow the directions this time!


message 42: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 16 comments A Sleuth is a detective, yes. Still, you can use my advice to filter down to books similar to your own and copy the category string.


message 43: by Jim, JimsGotWeb.com (new)

Jim Liston (jimsgotweb) | 235 comments Mod
Martyn, I'm sure that many indie authors will appreciate your detailed instructions. Thanks for sharing the information.
Jim


message 44: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 44 comments Finally--with huge thanks to Martyn for his directions for Complete Idiots--my books should be in the best possible categories within 72 hours. I was already in Fiction> Visionary and Metaphysical (which occurs naturally on the KDP site) and now by special request (using this long series of words which finally did the trick) Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal > Psychics. I had to give KDP all the bread crumbs on the trail for them to make the change. Now I can hope that some browsing buyer in that new category will be intrigued by the tag line, "No murder, just mystery." I also owe Martyn thanks for blurb advice elsewhere. My marketing mentor. Bask in praise.


message 45: by Martyn (last edited Apr 27, 2014 08:48AM) (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 16 comments Amber wrote: "Finally--with huge thanks to Martyn for his directions for Complete Idiots..[..] I also owe Martyn thanks for blurb advice elsewhere. My marketing mentor. Bask in praise. "

I heard somewhere that he only sells about 1 book a day, so he's not exactly marketing himself that well.


message 46: by Amber (new)

Amber Foxx (amberfoxx) | 44 comments Heck. I sell one a week. I'd be septupling my sales if I followed in his footsteps.


message 47: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 16 comments Amber wrote: "Heck. I sell one a week. I'd be septupling my sales if I followed in his footsteps."

In that case, let's hope changing the blurb and categories work their magic.


back to top