Setting the Right Category on Amazon

One of the biggest takeaways I had from David Gaughran’s Let’s Get Visible was how to put your book into a category where it won’t take as many sales to hit the top ten on Amazon. This would put you on the front page of the sub-genre and possibly give you bragging rights to a #1 book.

Now I’ve heard about the importance of choosing the right category or keywords, but I didn’t realize how powerful it was until I read Gaughran’s book. Seeing how I read it right before the launch of The Full Moon, I decided to watch to see how the new categories would play out.

The first thing is to determine how many copies you think you’re going to sell. Realistically.

Below I’ve copied Gaughran’s “Rank to Sales Estimator” that he included in the back of Let’s Get Visible. It’s a way to judge how many copies a day a book is selling on Amazon just by looking at its rank. These projections are estimates, not concrete answers. Actual sales may vary.

Rank to Sales Estimator

#1-#5 = 3,500+ books sold a day
#5-#10 = 2,000-3,500
#10-#20 = 1,100-2,000
#20-#65 = 850-1.100
#80 = 850
#90 = 750
#275 = 325
#500 = 200
#1,000 = 100
#2,000 = 50-55
#3,000 = 40-45
#4,000 = 30
#5,000 = 20-25
#7,500 = 16
#12,000 = 10
#25,000 = 5
#32,000 = 3
#42,500 = 2
#70,000-#100,000 = 1
#100,000+ = less than 1 sold per day

Think you can sell 50 copies per day? You’re going to want to find a category where the books on the first pages are ranking at #2,000 or lower. Maybe you can only sell 10 in the first day? Find a category where the #20 book ranks around #12,000 in the overall store.

It’s actually easier than you think. I put The Full Moon in the following category: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal > Psychics. The #20 book in that sub-category ranks around #13,000 of the whole store, meaning it sells less than 10 copies a day. That’s definitely doable.

Don’t worry about missing out on competing with the big boys in the larger categories. By being in the sub-category, you’re also in the major categories, but your book gets lost because you’re not selling extraordinary amounts a day. For example, The Full Moon is not only in the Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal > Psychics but also Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense > Paranormal and Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Suspense and so on. 

So if The Full Moon suddenly becomes a bestseller and shoots to the top of the sub-category charts, it can still rank in all the larger sub-categories.

Gaughran also says that you can use keywords to go into additional categories, but keywords are still kind of a mystery to me. Also, I’ve noticed that Amazon’s categories on the store and the categories in KDP don’t line up. Sometimes you need to play around to make sure your book ends up where you want it. I’ve had to email KDP directly to get into a couple categories.

Choosing the right categories can help give you more visibility, which is very important. Obviously, Gaughran goes into more depth in Let’s Get Visible, so you’re going to want to give that a read. I’ve noticed a difference with my books. Now I just need to pay more attention to sales spikes…

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