You want your book to appear in the right Amazon categories for two important reasons:
- It puts your titles in front of the eyes of people interested in what you write.
- You avoid those 1-star reviews saying it wasn’t the book they thought it might be.
You are only allowed to choose two categories when you set up your book on Amazon, but with the right leverage you can rank for far more than that. Amazon displays up to 3 categories at a time for any given book, but that doesn’t mean you won’t rank in others and show up in their rankings as well. But first, you need to decide on which two categories to choose for your setup.
This requires two considerations: what categories are available, and which have the books most similar to your own.
But first, let’s talk about why ranking in a category is important.
It’s All About That Sales Rank
We’ve talked before about overall sales rank for Kindle, where you compete with millions of other titles for the #1 spot. Your books will move up and down along that rank throughout your career, and overall rank is a reasonable gauge of how much money your writing will make over the course of a month. That said, you’re not going to make the top 10, top 100, or even the top 1,000 or 10,000. You’re competing with everybody for those slots, including household names like Stephanie Meyer or James Patterson, and publishing houses with million-dollar promotion budgets.
But here’s the thing. If you’re #1 in a category, you get a lot of the same search, recommendation, and browsing mojo as the #1 overall sellers. If you rise to the best rank in a less competitive category, you still get the credit for being #1. That means Amazon recommends you more, and puts you “above the fold” on searches. And you get to take a screenshot to use in your own social proof.
Doing so means being deeply smart about your category selection. Like I said, that means looking at what categories are available, and where books similar to your own are positioned.