As an indie writer I must say that I dread more what happens after I hit the “publish” button rather than tedious writing process leading up to it.
Leaving aside all the Kindle SEO headache that starts with choosing the correct title, subtitle and writing an enticing description, I would like to focus on one single aspect of KDP publishing: Choosing categories!
Amazon allows you to choose up to two categories where to publish your book:
What might seem like a trivial step in the publishing process is actually a very crucial part of your book’s life. Publish it in the wrong category and it will dive into oblivion, resting somewhere on Amazon’s dusty shelves.
I am only half exaggerating.
As you know, Amazon only displays the top 100 bestsellers to its readers when they are browsing through categories. If you choose a competitive category and cannot keep up with the required daily sales, your book will simply fade away. Check out my post on the most accessible categories to earn a couple of thousand dollars a month.
But here is where it gets interesting. When you look at the most successful books across the Kindle store, they do not seem to comply with the “only two categories” rule. No no… Some appear in 3 even 4 even which means they are likely listed in even more categories!
In order to test this crazy observation, I extracted a subset of 10 000 random bestsellers from Kindle Ranker’s database. A quick look at their registered categories proved me right:
87% of the sampled books are listed in one bestseller list. 7.4% in two bestseller lists… Fair enough.
The rest however, about 560 books are listed in at least three bestseller lists. Some books literally appear in 14, 15 or 18 categories!
As biased as this data is -10 000 is just an arbitrary number after all- it does prove an important point.
Listing your book in many categories, is not only a possibility, but a reality that helps some writers increase the visibility of their books and earn even more income!
How can you publish your book in multiple categories?
The first obvious answer is by choosing the two mandatory categories on KDP. However, if you carefully read Amazon’s help guide, you will learn that some categories are only available to books featuring special keywords.
You get to register your “search keywords” on the KDP publishing platform in the Book’s detail section. Maybe you think of putting something like this (assuming you publish a book about health and dieting):
That’s a nice start but why aren’t you taking full advantage of the 50-character limit per field Amazon is granting you?
A better alternative for “weight loss” for instance would be “losing weight dieting tips improve health“. Stuff those keywords fields like you would stuff a good piece of turkey on Thanksgiving! Your book’s success depends on it.
In this example, the book will rank for all three important keywords “losing weight”, “dieting tips” and “improve health” even though they appear in the same keyword field. Plus any combination of them of course.
That’s a total of 3 more categories right there!
Using this trick, you get to list for multiple categories with keywords restrictions and increase your search visibility.
Changing book categories
Sometimes you notice a simple glitch in a very complex system and it just seems too simple to be true. How can it be otherwise?
One powerful example is how Amazon handles category changes.
When you change your book’s category through KDP publishing, Amazon does not really take your book off the previous categories. They just add the new one on top. You don’t believe me? Take a chance and perform the experiment yourself 🙂
Here is my book listed in multiple categories using this simple trick. Pretty neat right?
If you would like to view all the categories where your book is listed, simply search for its ASIN number. You get the list of corresponding categories on the left bar like in the image above.
If none of the above techniques suits you for whatever reason, you can always contact KDP support. They will change your book’s category to the one you requested. Just like before your book stays listed in its previous categories. This is sort of a last resort kind of stuff.
Self-publishing.com posted a neat trick about going through Author Central page to request category changes. Make sure to check out it as well.
I never really needed to request a manual category change. It may be necessary though for some empty categories like the ones I wrote about in the post about Audiobooks. Check it out to take advantage of this untapped potential.
So there you have it, three proven techniques to list your book in as many categories as you see fit to give it plenty of chances to be featured in more than one bestseller list.
Of course, now the most important question you need to address is which categories to choose. Kindle Ranker is here to help you with that 🙂
Alex from KR