2021 Guide to Amazon Categories for your Self-Published Book | Updating Categories in Amazon

Amazon Categories Basics: 3:21
Find Current Categories: 3:45
Find New Categories: 4:55
Request New Categories: 6:27

-Enemies of Peace is a standalone book I put out in 2017. I got a lot of pick-up in 2018 as it was mentioned on several big podcasts with the exact audience I wanted to reach. But as I put out new books and focused on those the sales here did start to lag. No surprise.
-Sent in new categories for Enemies of Peace on 4/16, they were updated right away , but it can take a few days for the system to update. On 4/23 and 4/24 I sold copies of this book. (I usually still sell a couple of copies of month, but most of my monthly sales come from my latest books)
-On 4/25 I saw this book was ranked #47 in one of the new categories I picked for it: Absurdist Fiction. Now, this category absolutely makes sense for this book. It was written originally as a completely zany absurd satire, and then I scaled it back. So while it has a domestic thriller vibe, it was written in the style of a Chuck Pahlanuik satire. When I put this book out in 2017, I didn’t even know this category existed. Imagine if I had selected it back then, might it have taken off sooner?
-But I can’t go back in time, even if I write awesome time-travel fiction. And neither can you. But you can update your categories in Amazon. I’ll go through the method I used to find the categories, how to track which ones you currently use and which ones you are requesting, and how to put the request in for the change.

First I needed to know what categories my books were currently in. At one time or another, while I was working full time and trying to get my books to sell on the side, I went through and made category update requests haphazardly. I had no idea what requests I had made and it had been so long. So first I looked at the categories that appeared for each book. I looked at both the eBook and Print book pages.

I kept track of these categories in a spreadsheet. Most of the time there was a corollary for the print book category in the Kindle store for the eBook, but not always. When I tracked my current categories I used the full thread.

Then, once I had the categories pulled up,I poked around at some of the others I could see from that thread. I also went to a few of the books I wanted to be on the shelf with to see what categories they were in. I added each category that I found to my spreadsheet. To be honest, I know I can get up to 10 for each book, but I struggled to find 10 that I thought fit. I didn’t want to just jam my book into a category that it didn’t belong in. That helps no one.

Once I had my list I reached out to Amazon through my Amazon Author Central account. I put in the request and usually within a few hours the change was confirmed, although they did state it could take a few days to show up.

It was that easy. Now I do plan to going back in a few months and looking again as I’m sure Amazon will continue to add new categories as reader preferences change and evolve.

So, when was the last time you updated your categories on Amazon? Do you do something as part of your process that I totally missed? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments.

Check out Enemies of Peace: https://1mkwilliams.com/enemies-of-peace/

Music from: https://www.bensound.com/​ E.R.F.

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