Things are busy at Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) lately. In addition to the recent price increase announcement to print books, they just announced a new twist on an often complicated decision for self-published authors — categories. KDP category changes will affect authors, both new and established and, hopefully, for the better. While you don’t need to change categories of an already published book on KDP, there are benefits but also some caveats. One thing we know for sure — choosing the right categories is a key factor in marketing your book.

KDP used to offer authors an option to add up to 10 categories per title by simply emailing KDP. That program no longer exists. The ability to add so many categories often led books to show up in less-than-desirable locations for the Amazon end user. And, if Amazon does anything well, it optimizes the user experience. For those of us who took advantage of the additional categories, we’ll need to rethink our strategy through these changes. Fortunately, KDP has given us a streamlined approach.

The Pros of KDP Category Changes

Traditionally, KDP offered the option of choosing two categories per self-published book when publishing. Now, you have the option to choose up to three categories. That’s a positive step toward discoverability for authors and their books on the crowded Amazon book marketplace.

It was often hard to find the perfect category for each book because the category choices didn’t necessarily line up with Amazon categories. They were more closely lined up with BISAC categories. BISAC subjects help bookstores shelve books more effectively. However, with fined-tuned algorithms, Amazon offers readers a more sophisticated and specific way to find titles and isn’t confined to a physical location for books.

Now, KDP offers authors an opportunity to align their book titles with the book categories on Amazon. New and existing authors have an easy way to drill down to the best category, subcategory, and placement when they publish through KDP. And, readers find exactly what they are looking for when they search for the books they love best.

The Caveats to Making KDP Category Changes

If you already have books published through KDP, the prospect of adding a new category may sound intriguing. However, you can’t just add one category. You must change all three. By changing categories, your sales rank may be affected. If you currently rank high in a category, it is unclear how these changes will affect ranking. And once you change your categories, you can’t revert back. As more authors update categories for their books, more information will be available.

How to Choose the Best Categories for Your Book

One of the keys to discoverability on Amazon is by choosing the best category for your book. Although it may seem instinctual to have your book in a popular category, it is easier to rank in a less popular, but relevant category. The two ways to find the best categories are either manually by trial and error or by using my favorite category and keyword tool, Publisher Rocket. Publisher Rocket helps users discover the competition for each book, other books in the category, the number of searches, and monthly revenue. Yes, it costs money. But if you are in this as a business, this is a tool worth investing in. Here is my affiliate link to Publisher Rocket.

How to Update Your Categories

Existing authors can update their category selections by logging into KDP, selecting Edit book details from the ellipsis menu next to your book, and scrolling down to the categories section of the page. This is how it looks for my book, The Self-Publishing Roadmap.

KDP category changes

Once you select the Choose Categories button, you’ll see a prompt to choose a category. Once you select one, you’ll likely be given the opportunity to choose a subcategory. Depending on how deep the subcategories go, you’ll be given another choice. If you’ve gone as deep as subcategories go or you’ve found the perfect subcategory, you can choose your placement. It is the most specific indicator of your book’s category. Here is an example of how I chose one of the categories for my book.

KDP category changes

At the bottom, you’ll also have the opportunity to view other books in the category by clicking the link. In this case, it’s Authorship. You can also choose to remove the category altogether and try again. Once you’re happy with one category selection, you can click the button, Add another category and repeat the process.

When you’re happy with the three KDP category changes, click Save categories. Once you do, you’ll be prompted with this message:

KDP category changes

Click Continue. Once you’re done, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save and continue. Unless you’re making any pricing changes, scroll to the bottom of the final page and click Publish your book.

Here is KDP’s video on how to add categories.

Find out more by clicking on KDP’s category help page.

If you haven’t updated your paperback book pricing, you can learn more about KDP’s pricing changes here.

While you’re dealing with KDP category changes and pricing changes, consider reviewing your description as well. The aforementioned Publisher Rocket has just released a free AI-assisted description generator. We know that a strong description helps with discoverability and sales of your book. You can try Publisher Rocket’s Book Description Generator for free using my affiliate link.

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