A recent question in an author group made me decide to share some knowledge. There's a lot of mumbo jumbo circulated about how Amazon decides the category your book is in. To authors it's important because it means readers are more likely to find your book, plus your book can get into some neat Bestseller lists. Being able to say your book hit number one in erotic romance or scifi or whatever is great for boosting author's egos as well as, hopefully, impressing our readers.
If it doesn't impress you, don't tell me! I like my little fantasy land.
My most recent book released, Squirm, allowed me to see, in a brilliant neat way, how I can adjust keywords to get the right category.
Squirm is an erotic parody. It has humor as well as scifi elements. Ideally, I wanted it in erotic, scifi and humor categories. At first try, all I ended up in was erotic fiction. Not good. So I went back and reread the instructions. And maybe this is a new amazon thing, but the popup box in the image below said it all. I changed nothing except my Keywords and within 24 hours Squirm was in three categories, the right ones.
In reality, ALL those descriptive words about your book that you, the author, input - TITLE, SUBTITLE, BLURB, CATEGORIES IN THE DASHBOARD, SEARCH KEYWORDS IN THE DASHBOARD - should be treated as keywords.
A computer program decides what public category your book is placed in on its public Amazon page and it is NOT necessarily the categories YOU pick on uploading your book. The first 2 images below are from my self publishing dashboard. There's nothing magic or secret here. No incantations. You just need to fiddle until you get the right result.
You are only allowed to choose 2 categories. As shown below.
See that popup box above?
That's where I at first went wrong. The day after the book released, Squirm was in the EROTIC FICTION category on the public Amazon book page and nothing else.
I managed to fix it. The only thing I did was to take out all keywords to do with sex, sorry I can't recall them exactly but I had about 3, and add a couple of extra ones to do with humor and science fiction like spoof and alien, and to spell out science fiction and not scifi.
See below for my current keywords.
The next day I was pleased to see the book was in the three categories in the image below. This screenshot is taken from the public amazon page for Squirm, here.
Originally the only category I had was that top line : Literature & fiction > Erotica
Yes, I could have fiddled with the blurb. The title and subtitle were set in concrete though. The good thing is that this shows very neatly how everything is weighed up by Amazon. It's not exact. There may be different weightings depending on where those words are - the publicly visible title and blurb may carry more weight.
But you can change your final publicly seen category by thinking carefully and fixing your dashboard keyword section or possibly your blurb. I will always try that dashboard Keyword section first.
Here is the subtitle of Squirm.
Here is the blurb of Squirm
A parody of everything great and weird in erotic romance that could be stuffed into one book without it exploding.
For some girls, one tentacle isn't enough.
Having a bad day isn't good but when Virginia Chaste has a bad day, she gets felt up by a tentacle monster. If it simply has to happen, let it at least be a billionaire and a hot biker.
Virginity isn't all it's cracked up to be and her search for the Holy Grail of Erotic Romance, the ten inch purple-headed schlong, may have finally borne fruit.
Yeehaw! Playing hide the tentacle has never been so much fun.
I hope that helps someone out there!
As a last resort you can ask for support through your author central profile.
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Copyright Cari Silverwood 2011. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author.
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Cari Silverwood is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling writer of kinky darkness or sometimes of dark kinkiness, depending on her moods and the amount of time she's spent staring into the night.
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