Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What I've Learned about Amazon categories

With readers having found The Ghost in Me over the holidays, I finally got to learn a little bit about how category placement in Amazon translates into sales. The Ghost in Me had inched up into the Top 10 and Top 25 in categories for Arts and Music, Theatre and Spine-Chilling Ghost Stories. (Whoot!) And I could understand the first two listings, since The Ghost in Me is centered around a play that the characters get involved in. However, my book isn't overly scary, and that concerned me. I wondered, Would it find its way to the right readers since it was listed in the HORROR category? What about readers looking for lighter, more humorous stories?

I decided to test the waters. I went to Amazon and changed the category listing to Sci Fci, Fantasy and Magic, thinking it might be a better fit. I left the Theatre category in tact. It took about a week for the category change to take place. Low and behold, today I found out my book dropped off the search engines on Amazon for Children's Horror and Ghost Stories, even though yesterday, it was listed in the Top 25 among those sellers. Today, if readers want to find a ghost story like mine by surfing this category in Kindle, they won't find it.

Yikes. I didn't realize that would happen, especially since the word "ghost" is in the title. My book is still selling well, its just that readers now have to find it by name, which makes it a little bit of a bummer in realizing I'm missing out on readers who are browsing the Ghost shelves.

Thus, back to Amazon I went and changed the category listing back to Horror and Ghost Stories. Interestingly, The Ghost in Me is still in the top 10 in three other categories related to Arts and Theatre, but for now, I'll have to limp through a week with having lost the top 25 rank among Ghost listings.

Here's hoping that happy readers can continue to get the word out until my flub is fixed, and that I can get that ranking back by next week. It really does help when your book is seen on the first few pages at Amazon in a category of interest.

I guess you never know what you don't know, until you realize what you didn't know,... and then you know it, sometimes a little too late.

Best wishes to all you authors and readers out there who are surfing the dominions of the book categories holding the golden rings.


  1. I loved your book Shaunda. Does it help to have reviews on Amazon. I blogged about your book, I could do a review about it if you'd like.

  2. Yes, reviews definitely help. I also found that when books are bought on Amazon, you can share that purchase with twitter or FB networks. I started doing that with recent purchases to help promote titles. Thanks Cathy!

  3. Interesting point about Amazon categories. I'm not sure where to put mine at the moment. I guess I need to experiment a little bit more.

  4. I am sitting down with your book Cycles this weekend and a big cup of cider. I'll recommend any applicable categories I think of. Tags are also important on Amazon. : )