Guest post by Aggie Villanueva:
When telling people about my book, Amazon Categories Create Best Sellers: But That’s Not All They Do, I often get two responses, which is what prompted me to write the book to begin with.
Some shrug with a “So what? Categories are like Tags. Everywhere I place my book requires choosing categories. They are basically just another search engine assistant.”
For those wondering, search engines help guide people to find your book if someone types your topic into the Amazon search bar. But even if your book comes up in the search it may be buried on page 20 of the results. Categories are nothing like search engine tags.
The second response I usually get is from authors with a bit more experience selling books at Amazon, who know a book is tallied for category bestseller by outselling others within the same category. But unfortunately some have been taught that a smart strategy for ranking in this top-100 bestseller list is to pick the smallest category you can find, even if it’s not totally relevant to your book’s topic.
Their cry might be: “Close is good enough. Bestseller status at all costs.” This is very short-sighted, because category bestsellers are not the be-all and end-all of category purposes, and worse, this attitude can doom your Amazon book sales from now on.
When we understand the true function of Amazon’s categories, and the core philosophy behind the system, it’s a whole new world. It’s a world where Amazon becomes your personal book publicist. And it all starts with choosing the RIGHT category, not the smallest.
Publicity Functions at Amazon are Drawn from a Pool of Existing Categories
The importance of wisely choosing Amazon categories goes far beyond gaining a category bestseller or overall bestseller. The nearly all-inclusive purpose of book categories is like an inverted pyramid, with categories the bottom point, and everything else balancing on it.
Amazon rankings depend on finding your book in the proper category. Most everything throughout Amazon’s ingenious multi-layered publicity machine starts with and builds upon categories. Don’t underestimate this tool.
So, you need the RIGHT categories attached to your books (not the smallest) in order to find your readers. Only this tight targeting will kick start Amazon to begin publicizing your books globally on multiple levels AND in front of readers who give a damn — which brings us to the next point.
Targeting is how Amazon’s Publicity Engine Travels
We hear about targeting our audience everywhere. Amazon knows targeting is the key to all successful marketing, and they are the only site I’m familiar with that implements it into their automated system in ways which go far beyond tallying bestsellers. Tight targeting is the fuel thrusting your book through each layer of their various promotion opportunities. And the first of those opportunities is always to wisely choose your book categories.
Amazon presents book categories as the chance to set our book up for success in front of those who really care about our subject. Then their publicity machine takes it through the next level of promotion, and the next, and the next…
Targeting is exactly how Amazon markets everything. From categories to Tags to Customers Who Viewed This Also Viewed, to their numerous direct mailings, many top-100 lists… Nearly all promotions choose what to include from within the existing pool of categories. What if you’re in the wrong one?
It is YOU who must initially grease those category gears. Tightly targeted categories speed your book into a publicity campaign like you’ve never dreamed of, courtesy (and cost) of Amazon.com.
Bio: With the exception of five days, Amazon Categories Create Best Sellers hit immediate Kindle bestseller in three categories, and held steady in 1-3 categories for over 10 weeks. Below are a few sentences from reviews, and a link back to the book’s reader-exclusive companion site. Aggie Villanueva’s full bio and everything else can be found there. It’s a fountain of learning, contests and appearance from experts for her readers, but there are also many pages of public information.
Personal Category Coaching. Need more individualized help? Aggie Villanueva will lead you through the process to decipher which categories are most tightly targeted to your book.
Amazon Categories Create Best Sellers Book Companion Site
Purchase Amazon Categories Create Best Sellers: But That’s Not All They Do
“…Aggie Villanueva’s how-to changes your perspective of Amazon from that of an online book store to that of an author publicity machine.”
Vikram Narayan, CEO of BookBuzzr.com
“…I also already had a basic understanding about Amazon categories – but Villanueva has obviously been combing through Amazons methods and policies – analyzing everything in critical detail, and what she has discovered is significant and important.”
Ken Korczak, Reviewer. Read full review at Amazon
**Leave a comment below and you’ll become eligible to win an e-copy of Amazon Categories Create Best Sellers! A winner will be drawn at random from the comments section this week.
Your article provides food for thought. I’d been targeting the smallest category for my novel, knowing at some level I might not be gaining the visibility I needed, but not understanding why.
Thank you for this great insight.
Great points on using Amazon’s powerful (and FREE) marketing opportunities.
This sounds like such a useful book. I’ll share this with my writers group. Looking forward to learning more. Thanks.
Thank you for such an informative article