Amazon KDP only allows the selection of two categories at the time of publishing a book and it can be difficult to decide which two categories are most important. For example, with Public Speaking for Absolute Beginners, I toyed with, ‘Speaking and Speech Writing’, ‘Communication’, ‘Assertiveness’ and ‘Practical & Motivational Self-Help’ amongst others.
But there is a way to get a book into up to ten categories after publication.
There are two main advantages to a book being in more categories:
• Increased exposure on Amazon. The more categories a book is in, the more people will see it.
• An increased chance of the book gaining one of those coveted little orange ‘bestseller’ badges for a particular category. Some categories are small and therefore the number of sales required to win this badge will be correspondingly fewer.
Before we start, an explanation about categories:
The categories available for selection during the KDP publishing process do not exactly match the categories seen by buyers on Amazon and these categories seen on Amazon can differ between countries and between book formats (e-book, paperback etc.) The categories available during KDP publication are based on the Book Industry Standards and Communications Code. The categories you select are used, along with your keywords, to place the book in Amazon’s own categories. It is Amazon’s own categories that we are interested in for the purpose of this exercise not the BISAC ones.
The steps required to access more Amazon categories are listed below:
- Decide on the most appropriate Amazon categories for the book.
Go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/ and on the search bar change ‘All’ to ‘Kindle Store’. Click on the Search icon.
On the left side of the page click “Kindle eBooks” under “Kindle Store” (which is beneath the Department heading).
Scroll down a little and the available categories will now be available on the left, beginning with Arts & Photography.
Click on a category to view subcategories. Choose the most suitable ones and make a list of category paths. As an example here are the first three entries in my list for Public Speaking for Absolute Beginners:
1. Kindle Store/Kindle eBooks/Education & Reference/Words, Language and Grammar/Public Speaking & Speech Writing
2. Kindle Store/Kindle eBooks/Education & Reference/Words, Language & Grammar/Speech & Pronunciation
3. Kindle Store/Kindle eBooks/Education & Reference/Words, Language & Grammar/Communication
- When the list is complete: Within your KDP Bookshelf, click the Help tab at the top of the screen. On the next screen, scroll down and click ‘Contact Us’ on the left-hand side of the screen. On the next screen, click ‘Amazon Product Page & Expanded Distribution’ and then select ‘Update Amazon Categories’. You will be presented with a form to fill in with your selected categories, book format, ASIN/ISBN and market place. Press submit.
- When your request has been actioned, you will receive a confirmation email and this comes from a real person! The first time I did this I wasn’t explicit enough about the categories and was asked to confirm exactly what I wanted, so pay attention to detail.
- It will be necessary to repeat the above exercise for other territories/book formats as you wish. However, for the time being I’ve concentrated my efforts on my UK e-books because that’s my greatest market share.
Do let me know if broadening Amazon categories results in better sales for you. Fingers crossed!