Download our author SEO checklist!GET IT HERE

How to Unlock Amazon’s Secret Kindle Categories

How to think about your Amazon keywords strategy

Do you feel like your book is getting lost in the billions of self-published titles currently for sale on Amazon? There’s a lot of competition for readers’ attention and that will only get more difficult as more authors embrace the freedom of self-publishing. Being an indie author comes with a lot of challenges, but it also comes with the control, autonomy, and power. You can actually do quite a bit by optimizing your Amazon keywords.

If something isn’t working for your title or series, you have the ability to experiment and change strategies at what is essentially the speed of light when considering the slower moving cog of traditional publishing. But how do you know what to change? Where to experiment?

Certainly, there are some basic things you need to be sure are in place to give your book it’s best fighting chance to float to the top: an awesome cover, a strong edit, a great book description. Assuming you’ve done all these things and your book is still struggling with finding traction on Amazon, there are some powerful tweaks you can make on your Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard.

How much thought did you put into your keywords when you were setting up your novel on KDP? If you are anything like me, you didn’t really understand what those words did for your book or how to select the most effective ones. But publishing 8 books in a fairly short amount of time forced me to learn some hacks. And I’m excited to help you conquer that learning curve even faster than I did.

Keep in mind that Amazon has a powerful search engine functionality and just like you optimize your SEO for your website, you can optimize your book title for discovery in Amazon searches.

Here’s a tip directly from Amazon: “To increase your book’s discoverability on Amazon, you need descriptions and keywords that accurately portray your book’s content and use the words customers will use when they search. Along with factors like sales history and Amazon Best Sellers Rank, relevant keywords can boost your placement in search results on”

So how can you make the most of your Amazon keywords?

Just follow our guidelines below!

You get 7 keywords. 7 opportunities to maximize your visibility in a reader search.
The first thing you should know is that each of those keywords can be more than ONE word. It can be a string of words.

Let’s say your novel is military science fiction. If you didn’t know that you could use a string of words, you might waste 3 of your keywords by typing military, science, fiction. Each keyword or string of words is separated by a comma. Instead, use the string military science fiction as one keyword string. You still have six to go but anytime a reader searches for a military science fiction title, your book will present in the search results!
There are several different categories of keywords that you can use. Consider elements like your book’s setting (colonial america), character type (single dad), character roles (strong female lead), plot themes (coming of age), and story tone (dystopian) when deciding on keywords.

I’ve got another great tip for you. Did you know that you can use certain keywords in order to get your book listed in secret sub-genres that you can’t get from the regular list on the Amazon KDP dashboard? They let you select two. But you can actually get your book listed in more than two genres by using the correct keywords. And here’s an extra benefit to that. When you get your book listed in a smaller category with less competition, your book shows up higher on the charts. The higher your book on the charts, the more readers see it. The more they see it, the more books are sold.

How do you unlock the hidden categories?

  1. Navigate to the Amazon Category Page

2. Navigate to your desired category. For example when you click Biographies & Memoirs you will be taken to a page that looks like this.

You see what we have going on here?! If you use the keyword ‘actor’ you will unlock the ‘Biographies & Memoirs/Arts & Literature/Entertainers/Actors & Actresses’ category. If you nail your keywords and increase your visibility, your sales go up without increasing your advertising budget at all!
Want to discover more Amazon secrets? We have our How to Leverage Amazon to Sell Books author training course.  

With the purchase of the coure you will also get our VIP Voice Search course. 



  1. Marlene F Cheng says:

    Miral, This is the best directions (and I’ve looked at many) that I’ve had on category search. Finally, I understand the process for hidden categories. You’re a gem.

    1. Miral Sattar says:

      Marlene, you just made my day! Thank you and do let me know if you have any questions.

What are your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *