Posted in Tips and Tricks | Posted on 31-03-2014|
If you’ve published any ebooks through Amazon’s KDP dashboard, you know they allow you to select two categories (i.e. Fantasy/Epic or Science Fiction/Steampunk) for your work, and then they have a box where you can type in seven keywords, though they don’t really say if those keywords can be used to help you show up in the search results or what the deal is. They’re just… there.
If you browse around Amazon, you may also have noticed that there are subcategories for ebooks that aren’t options in the dashboard (i.e. Science Fiction & Fantasy/Fantasy/Coming of Age or Romance/Paranormal/Witches & Wizards). Because some of these categories are so niched down (and because they’re not selectable on the dashboard), the competition can be low. It might only take a 50,000 sales ranking to appear in the Top 100.
So how the heck do you get into them?
I figured out a while ago that fiddling around with the keywords might do it, but at the time I was doing best guess stuff. Like maybe throwing “swords & sorcery” in there would make me appear in Fantasy/Swords & Sorcery. (That one did work, though as I later learned, all I had to plug in was “sword.”)
Then, a couple of months ago, I heard from someone that Amazon KDP had a help page floating around that told you the keywords that you could use to get into those more obscure categories. However, it wasn’t until I heard the Self Publishing Roundtable’s Keyword & Category show that I got the link for it. (Thanks, guys, and I’m glad you’ve got the audios on iTunes as podcasts now.)
Here’s the link for “Selecting Browse Categories” via the KDP dashboard.
I went through and added appropriate keywords to my own books this weekend. I don’t know if it’ll make any difference in sales for me at this point, but it might the next time I run a Bookbub advertisement or release a new title that could potentially do well in a number of categories. The more places you can show up in the Top 100 (or, even better, the Top 20), the better the odds are that your book will be seen and purchased.
Here’s the before and after for an older novel of mine, Encrypted (you can check what categories your book is currently in by scrolling to the bottom of the sales page):
As you can see, the book shows up in twice as many spots now. With my stuff, it doesn’t usually fit into many categories to start with, so there’s a limit to how many I’m going to get, even with tinkering, but the fellow being interviewed on that podcast said he had seen as many as sixteen categories for one of his books. I’m sure that could make a big difference in sales with a new release or recently advertised book that’s ranking high and appearing in scads of categories.
If you experiment and it makes a difference, let us know!