Two years ago, I wrote a blog piece about the importance of using categories, keywords, and tags (which no longer exist) to make your books visible in the Kindle Store. A year later I wrote an update that expanded on this and discussed how having your book in the right categories could make free and discount promotions more effective. The basic argument I made hasn’t changed––that an author needs to understand how categories work in order to use them to improve the chance their books will be found by readers who are browsing in the Kindle store.
If you aren’t convinced of the importance of categories in improving discoverability—you might want to go back and skim through those two posts or just Google “discoverability and categories” to see the multiple posts on this topic. However, for most of you, it isn’t the importance of categories but how to get your books into the right categories that you are most interested in––and there have been a number of significant changes warranting a new update on this topic.
First, the number and kinds of categories and sub-categories in the Kindle Store have increased dramatically in the last year.
Second, the methods of getting a book into the correct categories and sub-categories have expanded, with keywords becoming particularly important.
Third, these changes have made the process even more confusing to authors.
Because these changes have resulted in a good deal of confusion in terminology—I am going to start here. While KDP has generally improved the experience for authors by introducing a whole plethora of help documents, the terminology used in these help documents and by KDP help staff is not always consistent. I will try and delineate some of these inconsistencies and provide some clarity below.