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  • Writer's pictureChase Walker

Choosing Keywords and Categories for Your Book

Well of Bones goes live on Tuesday the 25th. Since I’m in the process of making any last-minute adjustments, it seems only right that today’s subject is something pertaining to pre-launch preparation. Specifically, Amazon keyword and category selection. These are what an Amazon customer might type into the search bar or the categories they might browse. In this post, I’ll share what I’ve learned about selecting the right keywords and categories to market your novel effectively.

There are two basic ways to tackle this task. The hard-work-is-free-but-it-requires-some-guessing way, or the purchased-software-to-take-some-of-the-guessing-out-of-it way. I’ll go over my experience with both methods and you can determine for yourself what you think is best for you.

Finding keywords:

The first method goes a little something like this. Go to Amazon and log out of your account. Start typing words or phrases into the search bar that fit your book. Some words or phrases that contain or are similar to what you typed will drop down. These are what other Amazon shoppers have searched for. If you didn’t log out, these results will be affected by your previous searches and purchases. A problem with this technique is, it takes a very long time to find seven keywords/phrases for your book (seven being the number KDP will allow you to input). Also, there is no way to tell how effective or profitable those keywords will be for you.

A better way to find effective keywords is to get a KDP keyword search program. Most of these will tell you which keywords are being searched the most and you can determine which of those best fit your book. My favorite, Publisher Rocket (formerly KDP Rocket) goes above and beyond, like a rocket. Not only will it show what is being searched, But It will also tell you how effective those keywords have been for other authors who have used them. You can see what other books are using those keywords and determine how those books are doing. It will also show you how competitive the market is around those keywords with their competitive score. These features effectively take the guesswork out of the equation. I’m not affiliated with Publisher Rocket, but I will recommend it to whoever is publishing through KDP.

I have used both methods to find keywords. I dumped a few hours into finding 7 the hard way. I think I did alright, but it’s difficult to say because my book was still pre-release when I downloaded Publisher Rocket. After using the software for less than an hour, I found all 7 keywords or phrases that would do the most work for me. 4 of those remained unchanged from my previous work searching Amazon.


Categories are a little easier upfront. If you wrote a sci-fi, just check the box next to sci-fi on KDP. But KDP only allows you to put your book into 2 categories. The more niche your category is, the easier it will be to get ranked in that category. The problem is, the deeper you get into the niche categories, the harder it is for a reader to happen upon your book. Have no fear. I’ll tell you how you can have Amazon add you to 10 categories. This way you could put your book in the super-competitive categories as well as the niche stuff.

First, you want to find a good mixture of popular categories and niche categories for your novel. You can do this by either browsing Amazon or you can use Publisher Rocket which will tell you exactly how many copies you need to sell to rank in each category. The ranking is key. Most sales happen on the first page of products. To get there, you need to get ranked. Once you have your categories picked out, Just follow the steps below to add them to your book.

Step 1: Log into your Amazon Author Central account. Or create one if you haven’t already.

Step 2: Inside the “Contact us” box and under #1 “What can we help you with?” select My books > update information about a book > browse categories > I want to update my book’s browse categories.

Step 3: Select either the email (the only option for those outside the US) or phone contact option. Once you have made contact, just let the operator know what categories you would like to add to your book.

That’s it. Once you have some good keywords/phrases and some good categories, you are ready to be found on Amazon. Good luck. Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful. Also, don’t forget to like and share.

If you like reading a different approach to dark fantasy, military fiction, or stories about monster hunters, be sure to check out my book, Well of Bones. I’ve included a link below. Until next week.

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