Ultimate Amazon Book Marketing Using Category Research 2020

Hey authors! Today’s post is about Amazon Book Marketing using Simple Category Research strategies. There’s a very simple way to increase your book’s exposure by taking advantage of maximizing the categories your book is listed in. Read more below…

Understanding Book Categories

Amazon allows your book to be listed with two (2) book categories with initial release. You can choose from the major categories. However, listings with the major categories (called BISACs) will have intense competition. When you publish a book, the category popup box you choose your categories from (see attached image) are called BISACs. 

2 Category selection box on Amazon

BISACs are the industry’s standard for categorizing books, this is why Amazon uses it. 

Book Category Basics

Let’s see Amazon book category marketing in action. For this example, let’s assume you wrote a book about Fantasy Fiction. When uploading your book on Amazon, you will see a wide range of selections for your book category (see attached image). But remember that these are BISACs, and competition is intense.

Choose up to 2 categories box on Amazon

For a fantasy fiction book, one of the category you’ll have to choose is obviously one of the Fantasy categories. Here are your choices:

Major Fantasy Categories on amazon

Since you can pick 2 categories, let’s assume you pick Contemporary Fantasy and General Fantasy. This means you’ll be competing with all books that are categorized as ‘Contemporary Fantasy’ and ‘General Fantasy’ on Kindle. 

The powerful step comes after you have chosen your 2 categories…

After you upload your book, the ‘secret’ strategy to rank higher is to use Amazon’s categories. There are almost 4,000 BISAC categories, but over 16,000 Amazon categories. 

When you go to Amazon Best Sellers page, there are thousands of categories to choose from on the left hand side. These are Amazon’s categories that you can rank for because competition is not always intense.

You are allowed to choose up to 10 Amazon categories for both eBook and Print books after you upload your book. 

The next goal is for you to find categories where it’s not impossible to rank in…

Category Research for Amazon Books

The first step for the category research is to identify and categorize your own book. The way I do this is to try and think of ideas or themes related to your book. For this example, let’s assume the book is a fantasy and common themes in the book are romance, war, mythical creatures, and magic.

Once we have the major themes identified, we can go ahead to the main category of our book: ‘Fantasy’. You can find all categories for eBooks here

When we go to the Science Fiction & Fantasy category, we have 2 choices: fantasy or science fiction (check the left hand side of the image).

Amazon Best Sellers Listings for 'Science Fiction & Fantasy'

When we go ahead and select ‘Fantasy’, these are the categories we can choose from:

All Fantasy Categories (over 20!)

That’s a ton of sub-categories! The way to narrow the categories is to make sure they meet the following conditions: 

  1. The category has to relate to the ideas that are related to the story of your book. 
  2. The book that’s ranked #10 in the category needs to have a Best seller’s rank of more than #100,000.

The reason for #100,000 is because it will be easier for your book to be ranked in that category. To rank #100,000 you have to sell 1 eBook and 1 print book per day.

If your book is not ranked top 10 in a category, the likelihood of a sale is extremely low and you won’t benefit. This is just how Amazon works. 

You can check the book’s bestseller rank by simply clicking the book and scroll down till you find ‘Amazon Best Sellers Rank’ in the Product Details section.

I went ahead and checked the ‘Romantic’ subcategory under Fantasy. Turns out that in order to rank #10 on the page, you’ll need to have a Best Sellers Rank of #667. According to the Kindle Best Sellers Rank Calculator, you’d have to sell 138 eBooks per day in order to rank #667.  

This just shows you how competitive this niche is.

The goal here is to make it easier for us to be ranked in the top 10.

With the book rank of #100,000 – you need to sell 1 eBook per day, and this is definitely more achievable than selling 67 eBooks per day.

Fantasy is one of the most saturated and competitive categories on the Amazon Kindle Store, and if you can’t find any sub-categories for your book, go to different categories in the Kindle eBooks section.

You want to find as many categories as possible (maximum is 8), and if you can’t find any sub-categories that meet the conditions, then go for sub-categories where you know is you can be selected for (even though competition is intense).

After doing several searches, I couldn’t find any fiction or science fiction sub-categories that are related to Romance. Time to hop on to the next idea: War. 

I found out that the main themes of this book are really competitive in the ‘Literature & Fiction’ category that we chose in the beginning, so I decided to switch to the ‘Teen & Young Adult’ fiction category. And I found a sub-category that related to war:

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Literature & Fiction > War & Military

The rank to be #50 is just under 500,000. 

The rank to be #10 is 66,000.

Although the #10 book rank is not 100,000 – keep in mind that the science fiction and fantasy niche is super competitive. And to find a category that’s possible to rank in is already a great start!

Perfect – now I have 1 sub-category noted down. Time to find the 7 others.

You will also need to repeat the same process for Print Books. Link: print book category (categories are all listed on the left hand side). 

If you can’t find all 10 sub-categories – don’t worry about it. As long as you have 2 or more, that’s great to start with. 

So, here you go.

Amazon Book Category Marketing Final Steps…

Amazon has about 16,000 different categories and let you choose up to ten (10) different categories for your book but they do not make this obvious or explain how to do that. 

First, visit the Amazon help section and click ‘Contact Us’ on the left sidebar. Once on the contact page, select: ‘Amazon product page and Expanded Distribution’ and click on ‘Update Amazon Categories’

'Contact Us Page' on Amazon

They’ll ask for information such as your book title, ASIN/ISBN, where you sell (.COM, .UK, .DE, etc.), and eBook or Print book. 

List the categories you would like for eBook, and the categories you would like for your Print book.

And that’s it! Amazon will usually message you within 24 hours and will approve categories they believe are related to your book. If some of the categories that you picked are declined – it happens and you just have to deal with it.

The final step is to try and maximize your sales so that your book can rank for the categories you’ve chosen. 

In our example, to be seen as #10 in the ‘War & Military’ Kindle category, we need to have a best seller’s rank of 66,000. According to the Kindle Sales Rank Calculator, we need to sell 4 eBooks per day to reach this rank.

So what do we do? We try to sell 4 eBooks per day. Share the book with your readers, friends, and families – and try to get as many sales within one day so that can attain the #10 spot. 

Amazon ranks update very frequently, and this #66,000 may move up or down depending on the market. 

This is just one of many marketing strategies to increase your book’s sales rank. Most authors focus heavily on driving sales to their book, but what many seem to not realize is how well this can work with book category marketing. 

By having your book category/listing optimized, marketing your book can bring more sales, because it will be easier for you to rank in low-competition categories that you have chosen. 

 It’s not an easy process, but it’s definitely worth a try! 

There’s many more methods and aspects you need to get right other than the Amazon Category Marketing method, but I feel that this is a simple strategy many authors don’t execute. 

Time to publish to success!

George (Josh)

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