If you’re a self-publishing author you’re aware that Amazon only allows us to choose two categories for our books when we’re uploading. We know the perfect category can catapult our book into the top spot and earn us a bestseller tag but how do we choose the perfect category?  We can end up in a marathon of second-guessing because we don’t know which two categories will reap the most rewards.

I have good news for you. You can choose more than the 2 categories Amazon initially gives you. It’s a combination of good detective work on your part combined with good customer service from Amazon. Read on to find out how you can take advantage of this collaboration.


The Detective work


The very first thing you must know is how a book becomes a category bestseller. You can find this out by searching for the Top 100 in the Kindle Store and choosing the book that’s the top seller.  At the bottom of the sales page, before the Bio, you will find the sales information for the book. Amazon ranks its bestsellers based on how many copies have been downloaded in a certain length of time, by comparison to all the other books for sale. The number for this is known as the Amazon Best Seller Rank or ABSR. If the number is 1600 it means that 1599 books sold more than this one but if it’s the lowest number in that category then it’s the category Bestseller. 

The information below comes from a book called Spilled Milk

.Which category?

 Now that you know how Amazon ranks the books on its shelves you can choose which category you’re likely to dominate.  

Ok? So, how do you work out which categories to choose? Wouldn’t it make sense to choose those of your best selling competitors? However, only 2 or maybe 3 categories are visible to you. How do you know which others they are selling in?

Click on the listing of one of these books and find the ASIN, or ISBN  in the case of a paperback. We’ll assume I’m looking at a Kindle publication which is a competitor for my book about getting your house ready for sale. We go over the left-hand side and click on Kindle ebooks. In this case, the main categories for my book are Business\Real Estate and Crafts, Hobbies & Home, which throws up a number of options such as Do-It-Yourself, Interior Design & How-To & Home Improvement.

Clicking on each of these, in turn, will throw up further categories that you can request from Amazon.

You’ll have to drill down in each main category until you reach the last category which is where you want to be.


Ask Amazon


This is where the good customer service from Amazon comes in. All you have to do is go to the Help Section on Author Central in your KDP account and ask for your book (quote ASIN or ISBN #) to be added to a category string, like this – Crafts, Hobbies & Home : Home Improvement & Design : How-to & Home Improvements : Cleaning, Caretaking & Relocating – you’re looking to be added to the last category in the string.

This is how writers get their books to be #1 in a category. Don’t overlook its significance.