I wrote the blog post “Puzzling Out Amazon Categories for Books and Products” for my company Miller Mosaic blog. I highly recommend you read that blog post first before reading this one.
Why am I now switching what in essence is part 2 of that original post to this blog?
The detailed information in this post is for authors rather than for a general audience.
I have made some interesting discoveries since trying to follow Aggie Villanueva’s advice as described in the above blog post. In fact, I’m thinking about writing an ebook with this information in more detail because it is so important and so hidden.
I followed Aggie’s advice about researching specific sub-categories for my books and ebooks on Amazon.
Changing the book categories was not that difficult because via authorcentral.amazon.com you can actually talk to a real person, who can make these changes. But only for the book categories — not the Kindle categories.
Then I used the email contact form on kdp.amazon.com to ask for changes in the Kindle categories. I got a long email back explaining how I had to first remove the old categories myself and then email Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) to add the new ones.
If you go through the KDP information fields when submitting an ebook, you are only allowed to choose a category that drills at most down one level below the top level.
But the advantage, as Aggie explains, is in drilling down as many levels as possible.
This is why, once I removed the old categories, I had to ask KDP to add the drilled-down new categories rather than add them myself. These lower levels are not available through the information fields.
Got that? Makes no sense to me. If I had designed the info fields, I would have allowed authors to drill down themselves as far as the categories go.
Next hurdle: You must have uploaded your book to KDP yourself under your own login. If you used an ebook conversion company that uploaded under the company’s login, you cannot make any changes yourself. You must ask the company to do so.
And here’s the real pitfall. I was told that the company that had converted one of my books was only allowed to add one drilled-down category, whereas I could add two if I were the publisher via KDP (as I knew from Aggie’s book).
This is when I began to understand the difference between self-publishing and indie publishing. And right after I understood the difference, I read this explanation in Jeff Benningtons’s book THE INDIE AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE:
I’ve been down the roads of self-publishing and what I call indie publishing. An indie author, in my opinion, is in complete control of their publishing project, including cover design, pricing, editing, formatting, and ownership of the ISBN …
A self-publisher, as I see it, is one who contracts a pay-to-publishing business ….. or any other service that charges to publish an author’s book.
Okay, I did not realize this distinction until my newest author efforts with Amazon and Kindle.
And this is a major WARNING, so be sure to think about what this means.
UPDATE: If you only have a Kindle ebook and there is no physical book on Amazon, you may want to try to change the book categories listed along with your Kindle categories on your ebook’s Kindle page. Here is the response I got back from KDP when I asked that a book category be changed at the same time that a Kindle category be changed:
Please note, ‘Books >’ categories automatically generate from the ‘Kindle >’ categories selected for your titles, therefore we cannot manually set these for you.
This is important to remember because it partially explains why your book categories listed on a physical book on Amazon may not be the same as the book categories for the same book in Kindle format on the Kindle page (which I just discovered is the case with my novel Mrs. Lieutenant).
© 2012 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books. Her newest fiction book is CIA FALL GUY (on Kindle Select here — free for Amazon Prime members), the idea for which came from a May 1972 bombing of the U.S. Army’s Officers Club in Frankfurt, Germany.
Read more about the backstory of this book at www.CIAFallGuy.com and then email Phyllis at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to consider writing a review on the book’s Amazon page. Phyllis will email you a Kindle mobi format, epub format, or pdf format for reviewing.