Day 22: The 30-Day Book Launch Challenge

Posted on Posted in Starting a New Story

What has to be done by the end of this week? Optimise the Book Categories

 Writing. Work on the manuscript.

Publishing. Work on the book description and book data for KDP.

Strategy: Help readers to find my book


  • Optimised Category and Sub-Category for eBook
  • For print books– the optimised BISAC code.

Imagine going to a book store to find the latest book on digital marketing but discovering that all of the books are just placed randomly on the shelves. There are thousands of books but the one you are looking for could be anywhere.

That’s why bookstores, whether brick and mortar, or digital, are organized by topic and then by author, making it much easier for you to browse just a few titles (instead of a few thousand) and come away with exactly what you need.

Photo by Glen Noble on Unsplash


You probably already know the general category for your book.

You know it’s fiction, or non-fiction.

You know it’s romance or crime fiction, or maybe it’s self help.

These are the very general classifications that highstreet book stores use.

One of the benefits of digital publishing is that Amazon and other online publishing platforms have created virtual bookstore shelves with sub-categories and sub-sub categories where readers can browse and find the precise book that they are looking for.

Digital publishing makes “niche” publishing viable again.

Assigning Categories for eBooks and Print Books

The first thing to recognise is that “Amazon is less of a store and more of a search engine.” (Penny Sansevieri, 2105)

When you are on the first page of KDP, where you enter your book information, there is a link to a page called ‘Selecting Book Categories.

 “During title setup, you’ll select a BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) code. The codes you choose, along with your selected keywords, are used to place your book into certain categories, or browse paths, on Amazon. After your book has an Amazon listing, your book’s category will appear under the Product Details section of your listing. This will be the path a customer can follow to find your book.”

BISAC is an acronym for Book Industry Standards and Communication. This is basically “a uniform list of book categories that the whole industry agrees upon.”

BISAC lets you choose not only the category but any sub-categories that may apply to your book. And since it’s a standard, readers are already pretty used to searching for books by those categories.

Make your book more discoverable for readers just by putting it in the categories that match it best.

What two categories can I select for my book on Amazon KDP?

My main category tree for this book on will be:

Fiction> Mystery, Thriller & Suspense >Mystery>Cozy>Culinary.

Since I live in the UK I have different category name options compared to the US Kindle Store.

Fiction> Mystery and Detective > Cozy and Fiction> Mystery and Detective > Traditional British

I may test ‘Women Sleuths’ at some point but I suspect it will be a very crowded category where my book will be battling against big name authors and traditional publishers.
You will notice that I don’t have the option to go down into lower sub-categories below Cozy.
That’s why the Keywords we talked about yesterday are so critical. I have to be able to tell Amazon that this is a culinary cozy mystery – through keyword placement.

Advanced Category Techniques
Some digital publishers prefer to select categories on Amazon that are only vaguely linked to the content of the book.  Why?  Because the smaller the niche, the more likely it is to have fewer books listed in the category, which makes it easier for your book to be listed as a bestseller and/or in the top 10 books in that category.
That’s why you often see romance titles published in the most bizarre categories on Amazon.

If you are determined to have that bestseller orange sticker, it can be worth investigating which micro-niche categories would be a fit for your book.

In all cases, it makes good sense to review your book listings every month and change categories if you find one which would be a better fit.

Until then – back to the writing. Have a great weekend, Nina


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