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The Importance of Sub-Categories In Book Search Success

Your book is published and out in the reader world. You have promoted your book and readers are lining up to buy. Now what?

Now you have to make sure they can find that book they want to desperately. Being able to find a book in topic search is a crucial element in getting more readership. However, a lot of authors and book promoters forget about sub-categories, which are just as important as the main genre category. The sub-categories bring in the unexpected, expanded readership. Pay close attention to your sub-categories and your book will be found by all its desired readers, and more. There are many courses online to help with this important marketing aspect. Here is some advice from Sheryn M. MacMunn, leader of a really great Book Marketing Intensive:
Imagine a customer visits Amazon and types a keyword search for WWII Fiction. The reader browses the list, looking to buy, but your novel doesn’t appear in the search results. Did you ever wonder how those books populate that search results page? It’s not ‘luck’, it’s an effective promotional tool that many self-published authors don’t use to their advantage, yet it’s information that authors must provide when submitting a novel for publication. It’s your product details and, if done correctly, it can boost your search results and sales by getting your novel in front of buyers. Best of all, it’s free!
Choose your categories wisely: 
On the CreateSpace platform, an author is required to choose one ‘Product Category’ using the BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) categories. On the KDP platform, an author can choose two Amazon KDP Product Categories in the ‘Target Your Book to Customers’ section. (Here’s a tip: Createspace allows authors to choose only one ‘Product Category’ in their dashboard but you can email customer service and ask for inclusion in at least one more category which will allow your book to appear in more searches.)
Choosing these categories is a simple task but many authors don’t dive deep enough into the sub-categories to ensure a book will be showcased to potential readers. Here’s the easiest way for you to gather this information and finally be seen in the right place at the right time:
All authors can think of at least one novel that’s similar to their own novel whether it is a NYTimes Bestseller or an indie favorite so your first step is to open any browser and visit Amazon to search for that novel. Once you get to the product page, you’re halfway there. Underneath the book description, you’ll see the ‘Product Details’ area where the ‘Amazon Best Sellers Rank’ is listed along with categories for the novel. The category listing will begin with either ‘Books’ (the categories for CreateSpace) or ‘Kindle Store’ (the categories for KDP). Here’s an example of a KDP category: Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Historical Fiction > German. Now, write all the categories for that book on a piece of paper and don’t stop there. Scroll further down the page to find the ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ area. Click on any of those recommended books and write those categories on your list as well. Do it again and again until you have the categories for at least four novels. Do you see more than a few books in one sub-category? If yes, then listing your book in that category can help you get noticed by the right customer when they are searching for your genre. How, you ask?
Check out the product details for categories and sub-categories:
Because all books fall into existing genres and if your novel is categorized with similar novels, there is a better chance it will appear on Amazon when your readers are searching. Also, when someone buys your novel after buying another, your novel will begin to appear in the ‘Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought’ area of a page which is free advertising. When I took this approach with my novel, my sales increased 4x in as little as two days. Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate your categories every few weeks until you find the best fit. In fact, I check that my chosen categories are the best fit every six months because categories can become more or less popular, depending on what’s hot in the market.
Similar category items located on Amazon pages:
About Sheryn MacMunn:
Sheryn MacMunn’s debut novel, Finding Out, is Amazon’s #1 Literary Fiction Best Seller, #1 Women’s Fiction Friendship Best Seller, #1 Single Women Categories Best Seller, #1 in Romance and Love & Romance categories and #2 Women’s Historical Fiction Best Seller. Awards include 2014 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner and The 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Honorable Mention in Genre Fiction.
Sheryn is also a contributing author for A Kind of Mad Courage: Short Stories About Mothers, (S)mothers & Others, a gorgeously eclectic collection of tales that will make you laugh, cry, and truly appreciate the “mad courage” of motherhood.
In addition to being a self-published author, Sheryn works full-time in advertising. She attended University of Massachusetts, Lowell and received her MBA from Simmons College School of Management. She now lives in Connecticut with her family. Visit for more information.
Her second novel is scheduled for release in spring 2016. Find out more on


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