Above: The pop-up box in which you find and choose your book's categories

Above: The pop-up box in which you find and choose your book’s categories

Amazon groups all specific book categories into three overarching categories: fiction, juvenile fiction, and nonfiction. Together, these three contain over 4,000 categories and sub-categories. Fiction contains 120+ categories/subcategories, juvenile fiction contains 290+, and nonfiction contains a whopping 3,800+. Click on one of the three overarching categories below to view the sub-categories.

» Fiction

» Juvenile fiction

» Nonfiction

How should you go about choosing categories for your book? Amazon gives the following three guidelines:

1. Pick the most accurate categories.

2. Select the most specific categories.

3. Ensure the categories you choose are not redundant.

Regarding point #1, I do often see indie authors place their books in categories that don’t make sense. I don’t understand why they do this. Maybe they think that putting a book in a more “popular” (i.e., less obscure) category will help gain more eyeballs looking at the book. But what does that matter if the eyeballs aren’t interesting in the kind of book you’re selling? And even worse, the kind of people that would legitimately be interested in your book won’t be able to find it because it’s not in the proper category. Again, I don’t get it. I don’t recommend it and neither does Amazon. Amazon goes as far as stating, “Even selecting just one specific, accurate category is preferable to selecting an inaccurate category just to have a second category listed.”

Amazon says the following about point #2:

Customers looking for very specific topics will more easily find your book, and your book will be displayed in more general categories as well (for example, a book in the “FICTION > Fantasy > Historical” category will also show up in searches for general fiction and general fantasy books). You should only select a “General” category if your book is actually a general book about a broad topic.

And I wholeheartily agree with point #3. For example, don’t put a book in both of the following two categories:

  • Juvenile fiction > Animals > General
  • Juvenile fiction > Animals > Cows

Someone looking at the Animals category page will see your book just once, even if it’s listed in two different sub-categories, so this is somewhat redundant. Instead, put the book in these two:

  • Juvenile fiction > Animals > Cows
  • Juvenile fiction > Lifestyles > Farm & Ranch Life

This exposes your book to a maximum number of categories and, in turn, a maximum number of potential readers.

 

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