Don’t Sell Your Book Short – The Importance of Amazon Book Categories


The Amazon Book categories you choose will have a direct effect on whether or not you become a best selling author, so why sell yourself short?

This article has been created to ensure you make the most of this service and the genre categories that Amazon provides. The facts given have been researched using various materials and reviews on the Amazon Book Category marketing tool. 

Founded in July 1994 by Jeff Bezos, Amazon has become the world’s largest selling platform for pretty much every product imaginable. Bezos originally created this now multi-billion-dollar platform to sell books. Understanding the importance Amazon plays in today’s marketing and sales for authors worldwide is vital for book marketing success.

Category selection is essential 

When your potential readers are browsing for books, they are searching with keywords. Your category choice is crucial for the success of your writing. You as the author or publisher need to make sure you are using the book categories to their full potential. If you choose the correct genre and sub-genre for your work, you are more likely to succeed in gaining exposure with Amazon’s Best Seller Rank (ABSR) algorithm. If you choose wisely and invest time selecting the correct categories, it could be the difference between an ABSR of 30,000 and a top-rank on the platform. 

Some detail is required regarding the ABSR algorithm. Amazon will assign an ABSR to a book based on how many sales or downloads a book has received. Amazon monitors this over time and compares these figures to other books also on sale currently. If you have an ABSR of say 1000, it indicates that there are 999 books on Amazon selling better than yours. 

What’s crucial to understand is that if you just place your book under the Thriller category you are competing with millions of other books. If you choose a niche such as Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Settings/Outer Space you will be competing with less books. Thus have a greater chance of a high ranking in this category to improve your overall ABSR ranking.  

Once you have the high ranking secured in this niche category you can then look to boost your ranking in more general categories. Amazon will reward you for your specificity and ensure you are promoted more widely. The goal is to get the ABSR and the Amazon algorithm working in your favour.

Every author wants that #1 place on the bestseller list; you have your Author central page and the powers of social media to promote yourself. However, having a basic knowledge of Amazon categories is vital. For example, if you are the author of a Thriller such as Flynn, G. (2012). Gone Girl this isn’t just a thriller; it’s a crime, suspense and mystery. Those subcategories will have a significant effect on the success of your book. Be precise as this will make a difference. You need to go deep in your selections and truly define your book as best you can. 

Choosing the right category can be a minefield with over 16,000 options, decide on one group as the best fit, then delve as deep as you dare into the sub-genre options.. 

Check and rotate

This isn’t a set and forget strategy. Check and rotate entails testing the monthly performance of the categories you have chosen if you notice a genre become more competitive  then take the time to edit and re-evaluate. Choose the wrong one, and no matter the volume of books you sell, you won’t become the best seller.  Choose the right one, and you can move towards your bestseller goals.. 

In summary you want to find your tribe. Who are the readers who will be most interested in your book. Leverage their enthusiasm to drive sales, reviews and awareness. Grow from your highly targeted niche to the wider audience that is available on Amazon.

Key Takeaways

1. Make sure to choose one category that represents your genre and title.

2. As discussed above avoid putting your book in a broad overpopulated and competitive category; this will make it harder for your potential readers to find yours.

3. The sub sub-genres will be less competitive which increases the chances for a higher ranking, leading to more significant sales and exposure.

4. Don’t stop at just two selections; remember the goal is sales and exposure. 

5. Keep testing and trying new categories.

Amazon Genre Categories

Here is a link to the full list of genre categories…choose wisely: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201276790