Amazon lets you pick two categories when you upload a book. It’s how readers find your book. Sometimes they are surfing the top 100 of this genre, or they might scroll the “Also Bought” of a favorite author.
Did you know that you can expand that to 10 categories with a simple email?
I say simple. It’s easy to do but hard to compile.
You’ve uploaded your manuscript, you’ve picked two categories from the drop-down menu, and you hit publish.
How do you limit a book to two categories? You don’t. Amazon lets you add up to ten categories per edition (eBook and print). If you need information on seeing what the guidelines are by genre, here are two sites that give you a general idea.
For this, I’m going to use my paranormal series, Devil’s Playground, to find browsing categories.
Open your web browser and go to Amazon.com (or your country’s equivalent). I would also recommend having something open so you can type the pathways in: Microsoft Word, Google Docs, Evernote, Sticky notes, etc.
From the drop-down menu click Kindle Store and then the magnifying glass. Do not enter anything else into the search bar.
On the left side of the screen will be a list of results. Click Kindle Store and then Kindle eBooks (if you write short stories, you can also use the Short Reads section to generate browse categories).
The different sections give a smaller subset of the genre.
The different sections give a smaller subset of the genre. Obviously, Devil’s Playground is fantasy, not science fiction. I would click the Fantasy option under Science Fiction & Fantasy, giving me more options. From this list, I would choose the best ones that fit my story: Action & Adventure, Paranormal & Urban Fantasy, Romantic, Sword & Sorcery, etc. Some of these options might apply to one book or the entire series, so I would tailor them as needed to the books. The different sections give a smaller subset of the genre.
Right click and open each option into its own window (I find it easier than using the back button and wondering if I’ve been down that genre and subgenre route before.)
I would go through each major genre to the smaller subgenres until I have a list.
- Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal
- Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal > Werewolves & Shifters
- Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal > Vampires
- Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal > Psychics
- Romance > Fantasy
- Romance > Paranormal > Demons &; Devils
- Romance > Paranormal > Werewolves & Shifters
- Romance > Paranormal > Witches & Wizards
- Romance > Mystery & Suspense > Suspense
- Science Fiction >Fantasy > Action & Adventure
- Science Fiction >Fantasy >Paranormal & Urban
- Science Fiction >Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery
Sometimes you must stretch to get ten, and other days, you’ll come away with three times as many. There will be broad groups (Romance > Fantasy) and laser-focus groups (Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal > Werewolves & Shifters).
Here’s where having that blank document comes in handy.
Do you see how it stair-steps from Kindle Store to Kindle eBooks to Science Fiction & Fantasy, Fantasy, Paranormal, etc. Those are pathways, and that is the information Amazon needs to update your browse categories.
Taking one browser window at a time, copy the path starting with Kindle Store through to Main Genre (Mystery, Thriller & Suspense) to laser focus (Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal > Werewolves & Shifters).
Go through the list and decide from what fits your series (remember this is how readers find you if they don’t know you, by browsing) down to the options that are minor.
For my Devil’s Playground these are the ones I settled on based on the readership I’m after:
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > mystery, thriller, & suspense > suspense > paranormal
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > romance > paranormal
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > romance > fantasy
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > science fiction & fantasy > fantasy > paranormal & urban
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > science fiction & fantasy > fantasy > sword & sorcery
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > science fiction & fantasy > paranormal > werewolves & shifters
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > fantasy > paranormal
- Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > occult & supernatural
Before we email Amazon, there are some groups that you cannot get placed into unless one of your keywords correspond with it. For a list of those keywords and subgroups, check out Amazon’s Help Topics: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200652170
Two Ways To Contact Amazon
At the top of KDP is the help button. It will take you to a page with the left hand bubble circle options. Click on Amazon product page and Expanded Distribution and choose Update Amazon Categories. Fill in the needed area and delete the section you don’t need. IE: if you’re adding categories, remove the last section. If you’re removing categories, remove the “to be added” section.
At the top of author central is the help button. Click it, and scroll until you see “contact us”. This button will open the contact form where you can email them, or they can call you.
I prefer to email them over a phone call because of the amount of information I’m sending.
Inside the chat box, supply them with the ASIN number and the exact pathways. It will look similar to this:
I would like to update the browse categories for ASIN: ********* the book titled Forgotten. Thank you.
Kindle store > Kindle ebooks > mystery, thriller, & suspense > suspense > paranormal
Kindle store > Kindle ebooks > romance > paranormal
Kindle store > Kindle ebooks > romance > fantasy
Kindle store > Kindle ebooks > science fiction & fantasy > fantasy > paranormal & urban
Kindle store > Kindle ebooks > science fiction & fantasy > fantasy > sword & sorcery
Kindle store > Kindle ebooks > science fiction & fantasy > paranormal > werewolves & shifters
Kindle store > Kindle ebooks > fantasy > paranormal
Kindle store > Kindle ebooks > occult & supernatural
By clicking the correct options, your email should already be going to the correct people. They need the ASIN (ISBN) to make sure they do it to the right book’s version, and I always include the title. If you don’t include from Kindle Store through the pathway you want, they will email you and tell you to do it the correct way.
If you don’t know how to find your ASIN number, there are three ways of doing so.
- If you distributed through KDP, the ASIN is located on your dashboard next to each book.
- You can go to the book’s page on Amazon (Product details located about midway down the page or in the URL).
- Through Author Central Book Tab.
(For more information on finding your ASIN, check out this blog post: https://writingwithoutdrama.wordpress.com/2019/07/19/better-together-linking-editions-on-amazon/ )
Using the same method as above, but using Books instead of Kindle Store, you can place your paperbacks into multiple categories. Keep that information you provided them in a safe spot—Google Docs, Evernote, a Microsoft Word document. If you write series or a similar genre, this can save you time.
You can change the categories with a simple email to Amazon if you decide your books fit better in other categories.
Using Others to Discover Categories
More than one way to compile.
Now that I’ve showed you one way, here are some helpful tips. If you know books that are similar to yours, you can insert the ASIN number into https://www.bklnk.com/categories.php, and the website will show you the entire category trail for the categories that book is in. You can copy and paste that info straight into the email.
Why did I make you do the long way? Because I full believe in you understanding how to do it. If Bklnk closed tomorrow or you’re launching a new book and don’t know of similar books, being able to find categories that your book might fit is an important part of marketing.
You can also take the ASIN and plug it into the Amazon search bar. All of the categories that book fits in will be located in the left hand menu; the same menu we worked from before.
Another way to discover what categories your book might fit in is to check what shelves your book occupies on Goodreads.