Self-published authors sometimes struggle to reach a broad audience.
One potential reason behind the struggle is a narrow list of relevant Amazon book categories.
In this article, we’ll explain how to add additional specific categories (up to ten categories) to your book so that you can reach as wide an audience as possible, boost your sales, and increase your chance of achieving a Bestsellers Rank in your niche.
Why add more book categories on Amazon?
Self-publishing has never been easier, mainly thanks to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform. With KDP, even first-time authors can publish their work online and make it available for purchase.
The process of uploading and publishing your manuscript is relatively simple, but there are important details you must not overlook.
One of the most important details to consider before you hit publish is the book category (categories) under which your works fall. You can significantly boost your book’s reach with the right categories listed.
If you neglect this crucial step in the publishing process, your book may not reach as wide an audience as you hoped.
Better categorization makes it easy for your target audience to find and purchase your book.
How to choose book categories on Amazon
When you first upload your manuscript, Amazon lets you choose two categories for your book. This is not the full extent of potential categories you can include in your book.
These first two categories are known as BISACs – Book Industry Standards and Communications.
Many authors who want to publish a bestselling book make a common mistake – they believe that two categories are all they need or all they can choose. However, you can choose up to ten Amazon categories for your book.
Amazon Bestseller Rank
You’re more likely to achieve a bestseller rank with a more refined list of categories. Two categories alone mean that your book competes against thousands of other published works.
If this is your first time publishing on Amazon, you won’t have the established reputation to outperform your competitors.
Trying to make your book stand out with these two categories alone is unlikely to deliver the results you want.
So, how do you make your book stand out? You add and refine the categories to reduce competition.
Doing so significantly increases your chance of standing out and achieving a bestseller rank in your niche.
How to add categories
Here are the steps to add the right categories to get better reach for your work:
1. Visit the Contact Us page
- Sign in to your Amazon KDP account.
- At the bottom left corner of the page, click the ‘contact us button.
- Under ‘How can we help?’, select ‘Amazon product age and Expanded Distribution’ (which should show up as the first option)
- Next, choose ‘Update Amazon categories’ (which should appear as the first option).
- ‘Update Amazon Categories’ will bring up a text box in which you can submit a request to add more categories for your book.
Now that you know how to contact Amazon site and request a broader list of your book’s categories let’s take a step backward. Let’s find out how to figure out exactly which available categories you should choose.
2. Search for relevant categories
To begin, use the Amazon search bar to enter to browse categories and discover any words or terms relevant to your book. This step aims to find books that are similar to yours and assess their categories.
Once you’ve found a list of similar books, check each book category.
Let’s say your book falls under Amazon’s ‘health, fitness, and dieting’ category. That’s one category, and when you add another, you choose ‘alternative medicine.’ Next, you can select ‘Herbal Remedies.’
3. Use a category search tool
If you don’t want to spend hours browsing through Amazon’s extensive list of categories, you can save time using a category search tool, such as Publisher Rocket.
Publisher Rocket offers users a category desire to help you find all the categories relevant to your book with ease. It also informs you of how many sales you need to make on a given day to achieve a bestseller rank in your niche and is one of the best tools a self-publisher can have in their toolbox.
Publisher rocket not only saves time but also highlights which categories are best to select to increase your sales.
4. Update category strings
When adding categories to the request box on the ‘Update Amazon Categories’ page, add relevant categories in a category string.
So, your book on alternative medicine will use the following category string:
Kindle Store > Kindle ebooks> Health, Fitness, and Dieting > Holistic Health
The request box allows you to submit several category strings, so in addition to the above, you could also write:
- Kindle Store > Kindle ebooks> Health, Fitness, and Dieting > Holistic Health > Alternative Medicine
- Kindle Store > Kindle ebooks > Health, Fitness, and Dieting > Holistic Health > Alternative Medicine > Naturopathic medicine
- Kindle Store > Kindle ebooks > Health, Fitness, and Dieting > Holistic Health > Alternative Medicine > Naturopathic medicine > Herbal Remedies
The category string links above help Amazon refine your book’s relevance so that it shows up on more user search pages.
5. Wait for approval
Once you’ve submitted your request for Extra Amazon categories, the request page will let you know your request has successfully been submitted.
Amazon will approve your request within 24 to 72 hours, and in that same time frame, those additional categories will be added to your book.
Publishing ebooks online is a fantastic way to earn passive income and establish your reputation in a given niche or field.
So, if you want to get started, you’re probably wondering what type of ebook you should write and publish.
Below, we’ve included a list of 3 popular ebook ideas to help you succeed.
‘How to books
‘How To’ books are one of the most popular types of ebooks on the Kindle store. This book teaches the reader how to do something in particular where you, as the author, have experience in the field.
For example, if you’re a professional food photographer, you can publish a book titled ‘How To Master Food Photography: Tips and Tricks to Improve your Recipe Book.’
If you’re an experienced remote worker, you can try ‘How To Work from Home: A Step-by-Step Guide to Improving Productivity in your Home Office.’
‘How To’ is a popular opener for online articles, but as per the nature of an article or blog, they are short. Most popular articles and blogs fall somewhere between 1200 and 2500 words in length, which is short in terms of an educational resource.
Such is why ‘How To’ ebooks are so popular.
Readers find this type of ebook appealing because it instills the sense that the book they will potentially purchase is highly valuable and well-researched.
‘Everything you need to know about…’ books
‘Everything you need to know about…’ books are compilations of helpful information that help readers better understand a given topic. You don’t necessarily need to be an expert in a given field to write this type of ebook.
Your selling point is that you’ve already researched common questions about the topic and spoken to experts and authorities on the subject.
As such, you can save the reader a lot of time. They don’t have to do all that research themselves because you’ve already done it and can share everything they need to know in your book.
Consider potential titles such as:
- ‘Everything You Need to Know About Veganism’
- ‘Everything You Need to Know About Starting a Business: Tips for Entrepreneurs
- ‘Everything You Need to Know About Parenting: Tips for the First-time Parent’
This type of book is reassuring to the reader.
It’s common for people who don’t know much about a subject to shy away from educating themselves on it because of the time required to invest.
Offering a comprehensive compilation of information in a single book helps the reader feel confident that this book will improve their knowledge in a short amount of time.
Listicles is another popular type of Kindle ebook.
People love to read numbered articles, blogs, and ebooks because the number in the title offers a sense of what to expect from reading.
It also makes the book easier to read – a reader won’t be daunted by the task of reading the whole book when they know they can easily break reading sessions into two or three listed sections at a time.
Listicles can cover any topic and can permeate into other types of ebooks listed here.
- ‘How to Wake Up: 10 Ways to Improve your Morning Routine’
- 7 Tips for a Successful Marketing Strategy: How To Make a Real Impact with your Campaign
- 21 Things you Didn’t Know About the Keto Diet
As mentioned, listicles offer the reader a chance to take the book in stages. That means they can easily add a reading session to their day without too much commitment to the book.
Refining your book’s details on Amazon to include a niche category is a wise move if you’ve self-published a book.
Unlike authors who take traditional publishing, self-published authors need to pull more strings and use all the resources available to get their work seen, published, and eventually, get a top sales rank.
Adding niche categories to your category string is a great way to increase your visibility, bring in more sales, and increase your chance of earning an ABSR (Amazon Bestseller Rank). With an ABSR, you significantly bolster your reputation as an author and further increase your sales potential.