Resources for Amazon Book Categories
[00:00:00] Alex: Today’s webinar, we’re gonna talk about a very hot topic, Amazon changes to the category selection and bestseller list display. We’re gonna talk about winners and losers and opportunities that have been brought up by these changes. Many people, of course, ask, what is the action? What are, what should I do right now?
[00:00:19] And equally, you may have to ask, what shouldn’t you do right now? Because not every change has to trigger an action like right away, and you can be very selective in what you do. We gotta talk about sales ranks, about categories, about we not only call it writing to market because we are with plotter and Ryan’s team here.
[00:00:39] We also have to look into plotting to market. What do you do with all those categories and the data they provide? And in the end, I’m also gonna talk about lytics and how it can help you save time, money, and your most precious resource. You yourself, your creative resources, and sell more books. We’re gonna have a q and a.
[00:01:00] And we’ll have a special offer for Lytics reports and memberships as well towards the end. So here we go. Why do we talk about categories in first place? Of course, categories matter. They matter a lot, not just on Amazon, but frankly in virtually every store you go. But specifically, Amazon has made a number of changes actually over the years and also this year to their user interface.
[00:01:31] So for example, if you go to the Amazon bookstore, and that is like the print store, the overall bookstore cross format, you will always be presented with special offers These days. At the very top, they make quite a bit out of this whole discussion of best books about what they specifically do for Amazon book review.
[00:01:51] So editorial picks. Also quite prominently right now, best books in top categories right now, inviting people to browse the store. Likewise, if we go, and this has also changed, if even if you go onto, for example, editorial picks right now, which they heavily promote an Amazon in the bookstore right underneath.
[00:02:15] So for example, if we go for editor’s picks and best literature and fiction immediately, they will also suggest the other categories right below. So you have a very much store driven and shopping aisle driven chopping experience. Next to obviously the search, which is Im important as well, and just to drive the story home, what they also change is here the Amazon Kindle store.
[00:02:44] While you will still find the categories on the left hand side, they are pretty prominently a while back, put both the best seller list and the categories right in the top middle of those pull down menus so you can quickly and easily as a consumer access those categories. Now why do the these matter?
[00:03:06] Very obviously, we are, we are going into a shop and one of the many things that the categories also do and have done so over the past more than 10 years, is help drive those best seller badges. Categories and bestseller list go very much hand in hand and I’m gonna share some details on that you may not have seen before.
[00:03:31] And as these things go in hand, you can only rank as bestseller if you are in a certain category, and thus it is if you do want to have a bestseller badge. You wanna have them in the right category and choosing the right one can obviously also help achieve that. Which then from a buyer psychology point of view, people are much more inclined to click on a book that has the badge as opposed to the ones that don’t.
[00:03:57] Now, that is an important point because in the past that obviously triggered a lot in category selection, all the way to abuse of the system, which was never the purpose, neither for Amazon, nor for any serious writer. And what we figured when now all this changes happen that I’m gonna describe in just a second, we figured that actually people talk about categories and they think they know what a category is, but I promise you, you don’t know what a category is because the term is used interchangeably with all sorts of different concepts.
[00:04:38] On the Amazon Kindle Soro. So let’s just, for, especially for the beginning authors, let’s cover this in just one minute, but also for the old hands amongst you, you might discover something new. Now, Amazon themselves, in their help pages have a very easy and simple definitions. They say the sections, the categories represent the sections of the Amazon store where customers can find your book Now, like the sections of a physical bookstore.
[00:05:10] So for example, you go into the aisle for science fiction or history and so on and so forth. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? There is two major issues with that definition. In a physical bookstore, you usually find your book only in one aisle, on one shelf, and the librarian will have a nice index card to direct people to that specific place in a physical building, in a digital store.
[00:05:36] There are many aisles, and obviously the book can be in multiple aisles, can be in multiple categories, and that has been a point of contention and debate over the years, and also led to Amazon now changing a couple of things. However, even more importantly is because that Amazon is an e-store. I think by now everybody in this century will have figured, but what people don’t figure often is that category definitions, and when people talk about categories complete, depend completely on the context.
[00:06:13] So some people in a Facebook group may say, I’m here on my book page. I don’t see my categories. The categories on your book page, on your Kindle book page are not all Kindle categories. In fact, in most of the time, they represent three categories that out of. Sometimes more categories that your book happens to rank in, and we’ll get into why they now rank in a certain category or not is still a big mystery.
[00:06:41] But there are some indications. And the second point is on that very book page, they are cross format, but you cannot see the format from the text on the very book details page at the bottom. It used to be the case that Amazon spelled out the whole category path. They changed that already like four years back.
[00:06:59] Since then, you have to click on it to see does it bring you to a prime category, to an ebook category or a print book category. So right now, when the change happened, people immediately jumped into, I don’t see my categories on the page. They’ve never been on the page completely all the years before.
[00:07:16] Already, in fact, for the last four years or so. Then people say, I’m ranking in this or that bestseller list or in this, in that category, they use the term bestseller list interchangeably with a browse category, and that is actually wrong. You will see there are more categories than there are bestseller lists.
[00:07:35] And when you want to categorize your book, you are actually in the first place. You’re gonna look at certain browse categories that just happen to match with a certain bestseller list. Also, when you type in a search, it is important that your categories in your backend match with your keywords. It’s uh, tightly knit system, but also categories def and their definitions changed by marketplace and in many cases, what you put in at the US store, take mystery as an example.
[00:08:06] The UK has quite a bit of a different structure when it comes for the mystery and for lejara as crime literature seems to be more popular in the uk so there are changes. So you may not have known, but the one takeaway is a category is not necessarily a category, especially when you follow the debates that you currently see happening on Facebook or in your writer group, of course, for that matter.
[00:08:32] Now, with this as an introduction, what changed? And just before we go there to show you this one thing which was never shown before, the distinction between a browse category in a certain click path that you take as a shopper on Amazon in the category branch. So on the left hand side bar where the categories are, there are, for example, eight different browse path that if you try to replicate that on the best seller list side of things, they all map to one and the same best seller list, which contains exactly the same books.
[00:09:08] And I’d guess only 1% of authors know that is the case. So whether you browse via nonfiction history, historical biographies, United Kingdom, or whether you go via biographies and memoirs and put your book into historical, into Europe, United Kingdom, or directly into United Kingdom, which by the way is possible, two, you end up in one and the same bestseller list.
[00:09:34] And that is something which many people didn’t know and sometimes go, but I don’t see my category. I don’t see my category. Thank God with the change that now happened on the Amazon interface, they at least automatically tell you that, hey, what you’re selecting is essentially exactly the same. So they will give you only one of the options, or basically delete.
[00:09:54] If you mistakenly delete three categories that lead to the same bestseller list, the interface actually now helps you, which it didn’t do before. So with this, what were the fundamental changes? To the Amazon category system, and by the way, in the chat or in the questions bar, if this is new to you or resonates, what do you do?
[00:10:16] Now? What Here we go. First of all, for those who haven’t followed the changes, the fundamental changes to the category system basically happened one part of it, and that’s important. Only one part of that change happened about a month back June 1st, when people suddenly found this new message on the Amazon Categories support page, which basically said, you can now choose three Amazon, and that’s important.
[00:10:46] The very word is important store categories based on your primary marketplace or whether you sell in the US or in the UK for each title during setup. And you can now choose your own categories and very important. Before that, you could call Amazon and say, Hey, put my book into this and that category.
[00:11:05] That is no longer the case. I’m not gonna read out the whole change here because it’s on the support page, but the essence was there is now for any new book you put up or any edits you take, there will be a maximum of three categories. And what is completely new is, and many people don’t realize how big a change is that over the headache you had before.
[00:11:29] You can now select storefront categories directly during the upload. So in the store there is a category, say romance slash paranormal, and then you have various sub subcategories. You can now select those during the upload process. What has been discontinued is what we showed, what is what happened. I think it was also three, four years back when they basically said you were confined by the BIS industry codes in the upload process.
[00:12:01] People said, but that doesn’t match the storefront. So they opened that up and said, we can help you get into the storefront. In the very early days, by the way, that had to be done with the use of keywords. They changed that, but this now discontinued. So no matter whether you were used to going by a Author Central and basically giving them an email or phone call, or whether you use K D P support for your respective marketplace, that is done and basically said you can no longer, they no longer accept requests.
[00:12:32] And I think it’s only natural because I don’t know how many staff they had to hire in the last four years since they introduced this to cope with the myriad by 50,000 plus authors trying to change their categories now and then, and by the way, the big bot. Is Amazon still now reserve the right to change category of a book at any time to ensure a positive customer experience?
[00:13:03] I think that is not to say that they are now totally policing the system, but they configure the upload in a way that that there is less conflicting type of categories happening. Now since we’re gonna show a lot of graphs, I’m gonna switch off my camera here so you can see also what’s happening fully on the screen and I’m gonna switch it back on during the q and a.
[00:13:29] Here we go. Alright, so from here, with this being the change, the one big thing that by the way was also a big breakthrough for us is since 2014, since 2014, we’ve been tracking the composition and performance of more than 8,000 categories, and they always matched the top right hand side. Amazon store categories, but as said, you never had a match between the back end and here, the front end, which thank God we now have.
[00:14:06] Before I go into what you need to do now, there is one additional thing you need to take away to fully grasp of what this means and what’s now to be done action wise. First of all, the changes did not happen over time. As mentioned, there was always this mismatch between the storefront and the backend with those bis industry codes and for the very old hands amongst you, Amazon had a crux, a, a crutch to to fix it where you had an outdated system of selecting tho those buy codes in the backend and then choose your certain keywords in a certain wise.
[00:14:52] To force a book into a certain storefront category. As mentioned, they got away with that, but in some cases, by the way, the algorithm or the backend still considered keywords. And this led to many authors sometimes say, Hey, my book is suddenly showing up in a category. I never put it in. And one of the reasons was, well, you selected a certain backend industry code category, but you had keywords at certain wise that forced your book into certain parts of the storefront.
[00:15:25] And I’d be curious to learn, by the way, if you still monitor this with a new system, let me know by email because we tried to monitor this, whether there is still something in the system that can force these anomalies. The changes still that now were announced on June. They did not happen overnight. In fact, there was one big change already.
[00:15:51] That happened a while back, and that was in September last year where Amazon wrote to authors books can be ranked in up to three bestseller category lists. Regardless of in how many categories the book may feature within it is to say, regardless in how many categories you had your book in the backend now as to in what best seller list.
[00:16:14] So here is exactly where this distinction kicks in between. What is a category and what is a best seller list. This change here that happened in September, in which had a huge and profound effect on sales ranks that happened in September, and that was related to best seller lists and where you book or whether you book, it all appears in the best seller list.
[00:16:39] And the background to this change was first and foremost customer experience because the big issue that you had is, No matter where you looked in the Amazon store, if you, for example, browse through teen young adult categories, you saw the very one Harry Potter title in at least 16 different categories.
[00:17:04] Bestseller list that is, or you remember the days when you saw the very one romance title show up in romance in Mr. Racial suspense, in sci-fi, in fantasy, you name it. So they knew they had to change something, and that is why they introduced it. Let’s show Harry Potter and other high ranking books for that matter, only in a maximum of three best seller lists.
[00:17:31] And that had a very profound effect. Let’s have a look. For example, this bestseller list here. Mystery, thriller Suspense, suspends Occult. The Everest sales rank of the top 20 bestseller list was happily here, moving along around sales rank 500 to 600, sometimes 700 in the Kindle store, all the way up to August, 2022.
[00:17:53] And right before the change the bestseller list basically looked like this. A lot of known titles, primarily Fantasy, romance, dark Romance, which had found a home in this very category. And there is one title, haunting Adeline ranked number one. Which at the point in time in the Amazon backend was listed in the eighth Kindle ebook categories, and given the very good bestseller rank in the store, namely 103 storewide, the book ranked and was displayed as you would expect in all these other categories.
[00:18:27] For example, number three in amateur sleuth and mysteries. Then number two, in ghost suspense. It was number four in vigilante justice fiction. Then overall in contemporary romance, well it was 95, so at least in the top 100 and displayed in the very best seller list. Then number two, in paranormal ghost romance.
[00:18:50] Additionally, number two, in gothic romance. Number 11 in mystery and suspense romance. And the book basically ranked in all eight bestseller lists, as you would expect with the bestsellers rank of 103. Storewide then came the new new Amazon bestseller list ranking policy with a maximum of three kind the bestseller list rankings per book at a time, plus parent bestseller lists if the, uh, bests seller’s rank was good enough, storewide, and that irrespective of how many categories the book is or was registered in for the metadata.
[00:19:26] So after the change, the rank of the average bestseller rank of the bestsellers dropped dramatically down to around 15,000, as many high ranking titles were pushed out of the best seller list because they ranked already elsewhere and used up those three rankings already. And one of the victims was that very book.
[00:19:45] Haunting Adeline, which no longer displayed in the category despite even an in the meantime, further improved sales rank of 57 overall in the Kindle store. Well, let’s fast forward all the months, all the way up to today, end of June, 2023, and what you see on the following pages as very much the picture that was constant over the last couple of months.
[00:20:09] The average sales rank of the category suspense OC called improved back to around 9,000, but still many high ranking titles are not in there. And also still haunting Edlin is no longer displayed in the category despite a rank of eight yesterday in the Kindle store. That 47 here is a little mistake, which was, um, back a couple of months back.
[00:20:29] So checking the book’s, categories and rankings, right? Today on the very book page, you see number one in gothic, Romans number one in ghost Romans. These are two of the maximum three Kindle ebook ranks. Now you say, why doesn’t it show here on the page three Kindle rankings? Well, rankings on the book page are cross format.
[00:20:46] That means if the book also ranks in a print edition and high up there, it will show a, for example, one, sometimes even two print edition rankings and only one Kindle ranking. Or if it’s in the short reads of the store ranking, it could be there, it could be a prime reading ranking, you name it. And that is when people often complain.
[00:21:05] Yeah, but I don’t see my rank, uh, on, on the book page. Well, that is natural because the three rankings are not confined to just the Kindle rankings. But the main point I’d like to make is. That in the Amazon backend, the very book is still listed in eight categories and thereof. It’s ranked and showing in three bestsellers, the yellow marked ones here, and it’s only three despite more possible rankings because obviously with a storewide sales rank of eight, you would expect the book to show up in all these other bestsellers.
[00:21:38] But when we checked right now, the display is suppressed in five out of five out of eight bestsellers, and that has been the case for the last eight months. For example, take the fifth from the top vigilante. Justice fiction over the edge is the first. Number one rank title in that very best seller list, but the storewide rank of that book is only 113, so it’s clearly outranked by haunting Adeline, but haunting Adeline is not shown in that best seller list.
[00:22:08] Here you have it. The book over the edge is shown as number one by LT Ryan, but under the old regime, the book, auntie Adelin would’ve shown as the number one title. So the rule is a maximum of three rankings. But really you will say, but wait, didn’t I see the very book ranked in more than three bestsellers in the Kindle store?
[00:22:29] And the answer is, yes, you did. And here is why. The rule is yes, it is three rankings, plus it’s also corresponding parent category rankings. So provided the overall store sales ranking is good enough to show the book in the next higher up category, the bestseller rankings industry of the eight backend listed categories will also trigger ranking display in each parent bestseller list.
[00:22:52] So therefore, it will show and rank in suspense. It will show in the parent category mystery thriller, suspense overall, then the romance parent category of contemporary and gothic. The Kindle eBooks, and even in the overall Kindle store sales rank. Let’s take bestsellers in romance as an example. Here it is Haunting Adelin at spot number three, or even take the overall Kindle storewide bestseller list.
[00:23:19] If you scroll a little bit down here is Haunting Adelin ranked number seven, even up another position from number eight that we had an hour ago. So that’s what happened to bestseller list display. But the next question is, what about the browse categories? The so-called popular laity list is the book display only suppressed in certain best seller list or also in the corresponding browse categories?
[00:23:44] And that’s the difference between the two lists that I explained earlier. And that’s what’s so important because browse categories, the popularity list are currently still unaffected. So if you go into the bestseller list, vigilante Justice, you won’t find the very book here, but if you go into the browse categories here, it’s even shot shown up as number one.
[00:24:07] In fact, the book is shown in all the eight categories that the book is still registered in. You can take whichever of the eight backhand categories here. Take paranormal ghost Romance. So if you browse the romance books and go into paranormal, see already there on the paranormal level, the book is showing right here.
[00:24:31] And if I further click on ghosts as even shown at the very top of the search results. And that is one of the reasons why you may want to keep categories that you’ve already achieved because for the category browsing consumer, the book is still visible as is in the search results. And of course, with all these changes, you of course have winners and losers both on individual author level, where of course many big hitting authors complained as their books have been pushed out and got less visibility across a myriad of bestseller lists.
[00:25:03] While smaller, lower ranking authors may have seen their book in the bestseller list. Finally ranking. And what we are seeing now is basically the effect of two changes coming together. The one that happened in September and the one that happened now, the former being a suppression of bestseller list display, the second one now in June, adjusting the backend accordingly.
[00:25:29] Now who were and are the winners and losers in this whole changeover. And here we also had a closer look at that, starting at the helicopter level. This is here, the category performance of the overall romance category over the last, what is this? Six years. And the triangle, by the way, marks that infamous point of the pandemic starting at the time.
[00:25:56] You see the overall upward trend for romance overall did not take any impact. While on individual romance subcategories, we did see changes. The overall growth of romance was unaffected. Now to squeeze in all the other categories, I have to shift here, the scale a little bit up. So the same romance curve curves back up that allows us to look into mystery, still suspense.
[00:26:22] And here you see there was a decline in mystery. So suspense already starting. Back in mid to end 2021, where we saw a certain decline. And then in September, 2022, with that first change, we saw another drop as especially romance titles that rang high in Mr. Suspense such as Mafia Romance were forced out of the best sellers because they had used up their ranking already elsewhere.
[00:26:52] Now again, I have to squeeze those two jars further together. And looking at the average sales rank then of sci-fi and fantasy here, we had the effect that after the pandemic we saw a huge rise in escapism. So that has been trending up, then it’s been cooling off again. And if anything, then after the changes, at least on the overall genre level, it’s become more volatile.
[00:27:18] Last, not least, squeeze this up again. And here you get the big surprise once you plot teen young adult, you see. That that really a big thing, big impact happened and that happened exactly when the those three bestseller list Display Limit was introduced. Why many high selling titles no longer showed everywhere.
[00:27:41] That’s the Harry Potter effect. It doesn’t show in each and every bestseller list any, again, the sales ranked. And we have this pattern in like more than a thousand categories that we’re tracking in our genre reports. The good news is we found more unique ASINs available in the top 100 spots. That is to say across many bestsellers, and that’s not just in Teen Young Adult, you find more unique titles because not every title is showing everywhere.
[00:28:09] And as said, teen Young Adult was affected particularly. And then in September, sorry, in June this year, we saw this other change, which is just a logical extension of what they did to the best seller list display. Now, while there are many changes happening in individual genres, categories, and sub subcategories, I will show, show you some more example.
[00:28:32] It’s always important to distinguish what changes have really been triggered by this bestseller list, display change versus are there other trends that have just started completely independent of that category change. And of course, there are some of these and sometimes mix of these. You have the, for example, the continuing trend line, which has nothing to do with that change.
[00:28:58] Where we see a com, a continued growth of escapism and epic fantasy. While people are still tired of post apocalyptic and dystopian li literature, we continue to see this massive decline of non-fiction reads versus fiction, blues, non-fiction versus fiction since the pandemic. And we also observe. That with the rise of certain marketing channels such as TikTok, we see in red a complete resurgence of the suppressed erotica titles in the Amazon algorithms and ad spaces because they found a new marketing channel while, for example, clean wholesome romance was heavily hit by this category change, display change in September.
[00:29:47] Why? Because many high ranking women’s fiction titles left the category because they ranked now in many women’s fiction categories, and we see here that created new ranking opportunities for many other titles, such as, for example, mail order bride, more historical, clean, and wholesome romance titles that found their way back in into the bestseller list.
[00:30:10] So if this is the lay of the land and what happened, you will now of course be asking how do you choose your categories Then? Here Amazon does give some guidance, but also we tracked some data to help you with these choices because obviously now is the time to make those choices. So for example, on the very high level, the main change that did happen is, which was always there, but I feel people did with this opportunity of formally putting a book into up to 10 categories, did not pay full attention to the very first criteria, which is topical fit accuracy.
[00:30:55] In other words, if you do have a book for a Japanese botanical gardening, you do wanna find the category for Japanese gardening and put your book in there. So it’s really about putting the book into the right aisle of the virtual Amazon supermarket. The the next one is, Obviously it’s something that Amazon does not necessarily say, but that we’ve developed over the years, which is the checking of what is the level of sales, thus ranking opportunities, but also level of competition and actually also other points such as pricing cetera.
[00:31:30] And that is not just the technical placement decisions, but for those of you who know lytics, you know the framework that if you look at more than 8,000 Kindle categories on one sheet of paper at a point in time, the picture looks like this. It’s 8,000 dots, which are all the categories. And you see it’s scattered across here, the whole universe, where every.is the fur, the.is, sorry, the higher the.is vertically, the better the Amazon sales rank.
[00:32:01] So the higher the sales, but the further you go to the right from the left to the right, the more competitive it gets. So whilst on the left hand side you have small sales of jars in the middle, you have like niche markets. Then more than 10,000 titles you are competing in the big mainstream that are important choices where you would and can compete if you also have to look at your advertising budget.
[00:32:26] For those of you who are new to this concept, it is quite a fundamental decision, not just tactically for where do I put my category, but also frankly from a more strategic point of view of whether you say, Hey, I want to compete in say, cozy mystery, which is a vast, huge market with more than 20, 30,000 titles in it and pretty good sales ranks, although they suffered actually quite a bit over the last six months versus do I compete in the lead child type of jar vigilante justice fiction.
[00:33:03] Or do I go into, which many people don’t recognize. One of the highest selling book jars these days and not super competitive is domestic thrillers and psychological thrillers. If you check out the the Book’s Soul so far and our psychological thrillers book report, it is amongst the top 50. You have books sold, highest selling books so far in Amazon, a whole dozen is psychological thrillers, which is quite amazing.
[00:33:34] So you may want to look at that balance between sales versus competition. What is new and what we just also showed you is the detail level. So instead of putting your book into a very high level category, such as say, romance slash paranormal, you always want to choose what Amazon now to describes or call placement, which would be the lowest level.
[00:34:00] Of possible categorizations. That is to say, when, for those of you who do use the lytics lytics database, of all the 8,000 categories and their performance data, there is one column called CC or CCC for like sub category or level four. For level for a category, you wanna go as detailed as possible because if you, for example, are here in arts and photography as a arbitrary example, you would want to go in a fitting category.
[00:34:36] So ca that’s the criteria number one, but also one which is very detailed because if your store sales rank is good enough, you will automatically rank in higher up categories. So for example, if you are in romance, you could overall, of course, first check into what are the, all the romance categories that are listed as a main category.
[00:34:59] And then you will want to go and dive down into the most detailed possible categories you can then sort by sales or by competition. But see here, romance, action and adventure. That is a subcategory level. So if you’re ranking good enough, you’re only ranking one level higher as well in romance overall if the store sales rank is good enough.
[00:35:23] Now, romance is a case where you have some level three and level four categories. So let’s check out just level four, which are not unfortunately available to all branches. Primarily. You will probably find them in categories such as Christian romance, for example, here you wanna. If you are in, in inspirational Christian romance, don’t put your book in romance inspirational, but put it into where it belongs all the way down to say, romance inspirational, Christian mystery and suspense.
[00:35:56] And that is meant by that. And of course you can also check for in choosing those, what would be the level of competition that you face in those, because it can make a difference whether you compete with another 4,000 titles as opposed to let’s say, another 12,000, which would be obviously three times as three times as many from a competition point of view.
[00:36:21] Now that is meant by detail level. And then lastly, and also Im importantly, there is a certain alignment requirement now by Amazon. And what do we mean by alignment? Alignment would be the alignment between the category choice and the keywords you put in. And actually you will have on the Amazon detail pages also some further guidance on those.
[00:36:49] But I’d like to discuss those more in the following context, which is, okay, Alex, I hear you. I see. Now is the time to potentially take action or not take action. By definition, you will have to take action for any new book. And here the numbers and database we have will obviously be a great help to you in making those tactical decisions.
[00:37:15] But still, we get the question, how about changing? Do I have to change my category now or shouldn’t I change it? Now? Here are a couple of answers. There are a couple of factual points that support the argument, either in favor or against changing your category Now. Now you may want to take a screenshot of this here or then do so in the replay.
[00:37:42] What are the pros, the arguments in favor of changing categories for any existing books you may have? First it’s the point about accuracy where now Amazon also very clearly states, and I think it makes total sense if you have currently inaccurate categories. And they specifically mention here, for example, if you publish a, were World Romance book, choose romance, fantasy instead of nature, animals and wolves.
[00:38:10] So if you were amongst those who try to rank or get a bestseller badge for, for a wolf’s romance with a nonfiction category, probably no longer a wise choice because that is that conflicting data you’re sending to the system. Then another, I think new one, which they may have implemented already before, but I think it was never that explicitly stating, is selecting eligible categories.
[00:38:36] So again, if that you have uneligible categories, you may create a conflict, and the example they state here is if you have motorcycle as a keyword, as one of the seven keywords, you may not be eligible to put your book into travel food and lodging slash transportation, and here comes the decisive point auto automobile.
[00:39:01] So a motorcycle and an automobile. That would be a conflict between keyword and category, and that is not good for the books visibility. Then here is one they say you may actually want to add fewer categories. So they say it, and I understand Amazon because they want to advocate, let’s get rid of all this category pollution.
[00:39:23] I understand that. So they say, if you have a biography here about a famous traveler, it should be choose travel writing as a category instead of history slash world. Fair enough. But I’ll have one counter argument against this and already mentioned, I won’t read this as the focus on subcategories. So if you have very undetailed categories, because you relied on those earlier BP codes, which were sometimes extremely general, you now want to change, may want to change your existing books into something more detail from a placement point of view, but in what cases shouldn’t you take action?
[00:40:03] And these are the two arguments I’d see against changing categories for existing books. First of all, Amazon themselves state that you have to give your categories time to perform. After you choose categories for your book, we recommend limiting changes to allow time for your book to gain momentum with readers.
[00:40:27] If you frequently change your categories, historical customer activity for your book may be recalculated based on your new categories, which could impact your sales rank. And then also with a big alert they show on that new category page that if you do choose to change your categories, your existing achievements, get why.
[00:40:51] And this could be the argument. I don’t have the answer for you, each one of you individually, but this can be a big counter argument. So first of all, if you have big traction in certain categories, you may not want to touch them. And also in the new system, for example, and here, I’m not sure yet what the result is, they now force you to double down.
[00:41:13] For example, in teen young adult, and this is why we saw also perhaps now this drop is. If you choose your book to be positioned as teen, young adult, then all three categories have to be teen, young adult. Yeah. But what if you before put your book into teen, young adult, but also say fantasy? Is Amazon gonna trim those?
[00:41:33] I haven’t seen that yet. So if you choose now to edit your categories, you have to choose either a teen, young adult or not. And we see this type of impact and discussion already happening. For example, this week we’ll be launching in the members Arids already available, our annual Urban Fantasy report.
[00:41:57] And here we had a very interesting observation where if you watch the video or download the report, which I’m gonna do here just in a second, we had a very interesting observation and discussion of what happened to various categories and the frequency of usage. Of certain categories in urban fantasy.
[00:42:23] So let me just find the, the right slide because if you, for example, look at the market shares of the various covers of the top 500 urban fantasies that we um, identified in our report, we see clearly that the one dominating market share is a female protagonist on the front cover. And specifically when you then look at the covers in detail as opposed to the male protagonist one, these are very typically young, very young women.
[00:42:54] It’s not even young adults or whatever, whatever you may call that. And category cha choice has become important because if we then look at what categories are the top 100 books using in our virtual bestseller list that we created based on the sales performance of the last. 90 days, then we see a significant change compared to what we had in the report a year ago.
[00:43:24] For example, this may be very small for you to read on your screen, so let me read it out. Also, like last year, the most used category for urban fantasy titles is obviously the fantasy, paranormal, and urban one. The next one is a romance category, paranormal and vampires. And then we have three sci-fi and fantasy categories.
[00:43:44] Last year, by contrast, we had a lot more of what we see a bit further down, like teen, young, adult science fiction, fantasy myths and legends, or mythical creatures, because many urban fantasy titles involve Gods semi gods mythical creatures of all shapes and forms. So these things are changing right now, and the reports can clearly help you by the way.
[00:44:12] To look what the others are doing, not just by hearsay, but what the top selling books are really doing from a categorization point of view, so that you find the same home as the titles where readers possibly go to, to find the types of books they want to read. All right, so this is why you may or may not wanna change your category, some arguments in favor or against changing them right now, and I hope these facts give you a little bit of ammunition.
[00:44:49] And here is like one case study. What would you do? Let’s take famous or infamous Harry Potter now to the very present day. When you go through the various browse categories as listed on the left hand side of this screen, you will find Harry Potter in some of these aisles of the supermarket. In what aisles do you find Harry Potter?
[00:45:13] And let me introduce to JK Rowling and Pottermore Publishing, which is a huge V I P for Amazon because of the many book read and downloads. And if you use the Amazon API or various services to check in, what categories are those? Is for example, the number one Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone. Let me show you what you get out of the Amazon backend.
[00:45:37] As of now. Harry Potter book number one is in 19 registered category. So they even exceeded the 10 category limit due to the A prior V I P status and to basically Amazon having put years back the book into 1919 categories. And let me ask the question to you, if you are part of more publishing, and you see you are shown in so many browse categories.
[00:46:07] Right at the top still. In terms of the results in the various categories, would you or wouldn’t you change the existing categorization you achieved put for thought, or we can even do it as a survey. I don’t, the question book, would you change or not change? I’m not sure I have the answer. I think, I’m sure I have the answer, but I wouldn’t.
[00:46:28] I probably wouldn’t. And there is a great answer here. If all the other criteria I are met, and I totally hear you. I think that’s a very valid point because over the years, the one category which has all almost been swamped by Harry Potter was one here towards the very bottom, I think fifth from the bottom, family issues, orphans and foster homes, which I think Amazon would’ve, or a librarian would’ve intended as being a parenting book, for example, about what do you do with family issues and orphans and not.
[00:47:02] Take Harry Potter as a case study of how do you deal with an orphan? You get the idea. So extremely good point here in the q and a about what do you do? There is also the question, by the way, about adult content. I’m sure some of you may have dialed into this webinar to get the answer. I don’t have the answer yet because we did ask Amazon.
[00:47:23] The answer is not out yet. At least I don’t haven’t seen it yet. Because while they now require you to define your primary audience, whether it’s children, middle age adult, or is it like a primary audience of adult literature, meaning you have to answer whether the category has content which would be appropriate for children.
[00:47:47] There is currently still the D big debate out there. If you click on it, we saw some authors report that they got into this Amazon dungeon, which is a loose description of ad limitations kicking in or the book being suppressed in searches depending on the configuration of the consumer who searches and the age group.
[00:48:06] Others said they didn’t have any impact Here the jury is still out, but the impact and definition is simply not fully clear. So I’m not gonna lose time on that issue yet. Many say the recommendation, unless you have really an erotica, even you have a steamy romance. The rumor goes that many authors say, no, I’m not gonna click on it and let’s see what happens.
[00:48:30] Before I do end. My book gets in in oblivion. So I hope this gives you a little bit of ammunition, but I also wanna briefly touch on why categories are more than just tactics and. The important bit thing is, yes, it is important to note where you put your book in terms of the store experience, but it’s also important to note that all these categories and the sales ranks we’ve been monitoring of all these thousands of books over now close to nine years.
[00:49:04] They provide very vital business data for you as a, as an author or a publisher. So whilst many of you may focus on the decision of the right hand side of this picture, the tactics, how do I market? There is lots of data in there and own and categories are only one part of that. But there’s also the more fundamental decisions as to what to write.
[00:49:30] What are the trending categories from a sales perspective, what is the competition in them? Are they trending up? Are they trending down? You get the idea. I’ve shown some of these trend crafts that is vital information for you. Because especially if you do use plotter and the likely the odds are that you are because you are joining the webinar via Ryan and uh, and plotter, then you know very well that success starts already before you even pick up the pen.
[00:50:03] So from the very left, you being the author to the great book, reaching the Market and the Individual Reader on the right hand side, it’s a long journey and you use, for example, plotter to bridge from your idea to actually having that great book in your hand, the full book written. But there are also other factors here ranging from your research, from the titles, the book descriptions, the keywords, the categories, the ad campaigns that you need to inform, what to put into the newsletters, the reviews.
[00:50:38] In all of which market research comes extremely handy. And this is what we provide with lytic. So just to introduce this for the next five minutes, and then I think we have ample time for also the q and a and talk about trends and what we see with the data that we’ve been collecting over the years.
[00:51:01] We’ve, we’ve really got you cover. Cause first of all, now is the time to take these category decisions. But instead of taking them by hearsay or, or occasionally browsing the store, you can simply rely on the intelligence that provide by working with thousands. In fact, by now, millions of books to come up with the data.
[00:51:28] And for those of you who are new to this, Kaylin in essence, is research done for you, which we have. Done so via a big category database that tracks performance. And we’ve done so over the last eight years, month on month, a completely updated picture. Now, what is an important about using data for making your category choices is one very vital point.
[00:51:57] And that is you don’t want to fall into the trap of real time information because if you go onto the Amazon store as it is, like right now, the li, the likelihood is you may see an individual book that is at the very top of best seller list or at the very bottom of a best seller list. And hours later, the picture has changed and the volatility is very big.
[00:52:22] So if you look at trends, you really want to look at pictures such as these here where the data to come up with just placing the very category on the map. Is based on thousands of observations over time, given in a certain months to give you an accurate pa picture of where individual books and thus also the, the individual category is really trending from a performance point of view.
[00:52:54] So I already showed you the database. In the database you will find more than by now. It’s not just 7,700, it’s more than 8,000 categories. You can download it to your laptop, search filter, the sheet you have, the sales, the gross, the number one sales and the pricing trend, the competition. Also very important, how much is in KU and morgues.
[00:53:18] And since it is so important by now to also look at the actual composition of a best seller list, we also added. Towards the very right hand side of the sheet, the direct links to the Amazon store. But here’s the important thing. You not only get the, you not only get the link to the respected bestseller list, which is obviously important, but unlike other tools, we also, so you can click on the link and it takes you directly to the various S sls, but we also get you to the respective browse category so that you see how searching and browsing people see the books.
[00:54:01] So for example, if we go look at, let’s just do an example and go look at Western Frontier Christian Romance. So the best seller list is one thing. I will open it and then share my screen in a second. So this one takes here to the best seller list and you will find a certain set of books. And by the way, very often you will sign more of the KU books, not in this case so much, but usually you will sign a lot of KU books.
[00:54:28] Ranking in the, in the best seller list. And by comparison, let me go to the, let me go to the spreadsheet. So in the spreadsheet you could also click on, and my screen is unfortunately a little bit slower here now, so just bear with me. You can like wise, click on the respective browse category link and this will take you to the browsing part of the store, which as mentioned before, is actually different from the best seller list in, in that the best seller list will only sh be sorted by sales and it will be a momentary picture.
[00:55:08] Whilst the e browse category has a different composition, it is not just sorted by sale and it is taking into account reviews, conversion for Amazon and many other factors in the popularity list. So you have both pictures and can really make your choice as to where you want to compete or where you don’t want to compete for that matter.
[00:55:33] Alright, so with this, we also want to present to you the various ready-made genre seminars. I just showed you one for Urban Fantasy, which is launching this week. The weeks before we had Clean Romance, we had sci-fi and fantasy, and these are two to three of them come out every month. And here we cover the books down to the detail level, to the book level.
[00:55:59] And also important here, these, and sometimes these search results by Amazon are not really representing what you are searching for. Say if you search for say, witch cozy mystery, or if you do search for clean Romans, I can tell you there will be many sweet romances books shown where sweet is used, even in erotica titles in the subtitle.
[00:56:20] So here we eliminate all that genre pollution in those various reports to give you the basis for a very found, very good foundation of your decision making. Now, if you’re interested in this and interested in getting access to all the reports and what we have in our members area, I invite you to take part of our lytics offer that we offer every uh, once a year to the Friends of Plotter, which comes with two membership levels.
[00:56:53] There is one tier, which is the premium tier where when it comes to the database, you have access down to the subcategory level of which there are some 450 plus. You get access to all the tutorials and actually to a great bulk, more than 60% of all these genre reports. If you wanna go a step further, we have an elite here, which opens up that spreadsheet with all the more than 7,700.
[00:57:20] Categories and submarkets in there. It’s basically an all access pass and gives you the complete picture including and down to that important and increasing in importance being these level four and level five niche categories for where they are available. If you do wanna want more, now it’s your turn, and then we go into the q and a every year.
[00:57:45] We do have this op offer here, which you can get at k lytic.com/plotter. Also, Ryan is gonna put it into the, into the overall chat for you. So https call on slash kli.com/plotta where you can get the premium membership, which as said, it gives you access to quite a lot of those JAR reports, which by the way, are also based on.
[00:58:12] Detailed level four, level five information. Where in the jar it is available. So there you have a $37 a month membership, which gives you access to all these reports. I’ll will show you on the website in just a second. Then we have the elite membership also as a monthly membership on the right hand side, which you can get for $97 a month.
[00:58:35] And many people, for example, do this, say, Hey, I now wanna clean up all my tactical category placements. I buy a month of membership and with a big spreadsheet, I know I’m gonna take the right decisions. Or you wanna combine all this and say, Hey, I would like to have continuous access to all the reports as they come out.
[00:58:55] And also as the Amazon system keeps evolving, I want to check on my categories and performance and therefore, and you have more publishing activities, you may want to go for an annual membership. And for the plotter tribe here, We added six months of free access on top of the 12th. So you get the annual membership, which is $497 for one year.
[00:59:22] It will cover you 18 months and thus if you calculated it on a monthly basis, the lump sum gets you to an average of $27 a month. So that would currently be the best buy buy to open the complete membership area for you. So I invite you to have a look. I will also, during the q and a, can have a closer look at the closer, look at the membership wet website as you want, and show a bit behind the scenes for those of you who will, uh, usually ask what’s the difference again between premium and elite.
[00:59:56] So there are two major dimensions. One is the depth of the monthly performance database and the other is the depth of the category and sub-market seminars and report. With premium, you have access to subcategory level, which covers more than 400 markets. That would be like romance paranormal. The elite database would open up all the more detailed view, say down to romance paranormal slash angels or demons and devils, you name it.
[01:00:24] Now, for the categories and the detailed reports, each of which, by the way, come with video, it’s usually a more than 70 page genre specific report. Here you would, for example, have access to historical romance as a elite member. That would be additional bonus seminars on, say, Scottish romances or regency romances, just as one example.
[01:00:48] All right, so with this, I would say let’s also use some time for the questions you may have. And this is my shout out to Ryan to check in whether Ryan, you’re still there? I am here. All right. Yeah. So let’s open, I’m gonna restart my camera here. So to make this also a little bit more personal, and I’d like to open the stage for questions that you may have encountered, which may have to do with categories or other topics such as trend.
[01:01:19] And let us try to answer where we can and also tell you where we simply don’t have the answer. Great.
[01:01:26] Ryan: Libby asked, although we’re supposed to be down to three categories, BK Links still has over a do dozen different categories for one book.
[01:01:34] Alex: What’s the deal? Got you. Yeah, Amazon, just because they introduced this change for the upload of new books, does not mean that they are automatically trimming what you already have achieved.
[01:01:49] So many leading books will have more than eight. Now with bookings, the one grain of salt you have to take is. They directly reach into the Amazon a p i and it lists also categories, which are actually nodes in the browse hierarchy that are promotions or a prime category. So it right now lists even say whatever, 25 categories, but the, you have to look at the complete path.
[01:02:11] Many of these are promotional and are not categories, but the core Kindle categories. You will still find many books that have more than three. And that’s exactly the point I raised earlier, whether you really wanna wipe what you already achieved in terms of placement. It clearly still exists in the backend, and that is, by the way, why you find Harry Potter and still 19 categories, not three.
[01:02:34] Ryan: Makes sense. Esther asked, how often is advisable to review change categories and
[01:02:39] Alex: keywords? Now, there’s probably two rules of that. One is whenever you change, don’t change everything at once, because you will totally confuse the Amazon algorithm because it basically, you reset the whole book. As if it was new.
[01:02:53] So never go change all seven keyboards at once and all categories at once. To gauge whether something moves the needle. I think there is different people telling different things. I would also say when it comes to the keywords, touch two of the fields maximum at at once. You may wanna do change, look at it over two months, see whether it moved the needle, yes or no.
[01:03:15] And always be careful to also watch if something goes down. If things work, keep them. If they don’t work, change ’em. I think that’s the rule. Interval wise, I see some people who review, for example, the categories category performance quarterly. Some do it every half a year, sometimes yearly, but also it’s especially important when you start launching new books.
[01:03:36] What do you want to choose? Lala asks
[01:03:39] Ryan: My category with one book published and one to put up is now gone. Now what
[01:03:47] Alex: you mean? The very category is gone.
[01:03:49] Ryan: I think she means the category that she was using or plan to be using is no longer available.
[01:03:54] Alex: The one thing, obviously, where that can happen is if the book was solely categorized in one of those BIAC industry codes, that will always have triggered the book to then show in the end of the day in some storefront category as mentioned earlier, but since they basically got rid of that whole browse hierarchy of bicycle codes in the upload, I It could be that, you mean that that will be gone if it is a storefront category that was there before?
[01:04:23] Uh, it may be a glitch, but you could also send me a message to. [email protected] and I can have a look sometimes. Yeah, it may look like it’s gone, but it isn’t gone. So better. Double check.
[01:04:37] Ryan: Annabella asks, are books only now showing in three categories or do books show in a main category and multiple subcategories?
[01:04:45] Alex: As mentioned earlier, the styling point is the category of your, the metadata. So what you put in the upload dashboard or what you have put in there with the help of Amazon before. And it will, whether it then shows in additional best seller list is dependent on what we discussed earlier around this pheno phenomenon of parent bestseller lists.
[01:05:12] So I’m just going back to that very one picture. So if your book is categorized here in the yellow categories in the backend, For example, mystery, thrill of suspense, ghosts, contemporary romance, and gothic romance. Those three, but the store sales rank is good enough for, and it is shown there. It’s categorized in also other categories, but this very book will then be shown if the store sales rank is got good enough in each of these other colored parent best sellers.
[01:05:45] I’m not sure whether that answers the question, but that is the starting point of where it shows. Now this book, in this specific example we discussed, that book was actually categorized in the backend, not just in three, but in eight categories. So just let’s just review that for one second again. So the book was categorized in eight ranging from gothic romance all the way down to occult romance.
[01:06:16] So now you may have the very big question. So how did Amazon decide? To show it. And that’s still the debate right now. How do they decide whether it is now shown in gothic Romans go suspense and contemporary romance and not shown in all the others here? They now say it’s down to consumer activity. So a hypothesis is, but we have no proof yet, is if a person browsers a certain bestseller list or a certain category and buys the book through that category, chances are that the algorithm notice that.
[01:06:50] And then the chances are of it showing in gothic romance if people bought through visiting that I of the super market. That is a hypothesis. It used to be that on the book page, those categories were selected where the best rank was achieved. But that as said, changed with that changeover in September last year.
[01:07:10] So it’s pretty arbitrary right now it seems. But they say it is consumer activity. So where do the most sales happen?
[01:07:18] Ryan: I presume the next question from Dana is do you feel like the new rankings are more honest? That is show a more realistic picture of how sub genres are selling? Seems that the outliers have been a whooped so we get an uns
[01:07:30] Alex: skewed picture?
[01:07:31] Yes, ab absolutely. And that is why also now looking in the say in, in the spreadsheet or in the various performance reports, when we look at the data right now, so for example, in teen, young adult or even you take mystery thriller, mystery, thriller, suspense. The question is how sustainable the effect will be.
[01:07:52] But especially if we go into teen, young adult, I would say overall many of the categories have been reset to a lower performance level, which is exactly what you mentioned. It is a more honest showing of the whole thing because. Books such as High Ranking, dark Romance titles that happen to be put into teen young adult categories are no longer, are no longer showing in there.
[01:08:19] We’ve also seen it, by the way, quite significantly in in, it’s a bit slow here because of the webinars, softwares taking so much, taking up so much memory. But if we sort the categories all by level of sales, for example, here in romance, I think there mon, many of the smaller categories have well quote unquote dropped in sales.
[01:08:45] While in other cases the performance has been pretty strong. I’d say the biggest effects were in mystery, thrill of suspense, where you’d have very many high ranking titles. You see it in sci-fi and fantasy, A more honest picture indefinitely in teen, young adult. Okay. Joel
[01:09:05] Ryan: asks, so what if you don’t rank high enough?
[01:09:07] What would you need to do to improve your ranking to make using detail level changes worthwhile?
[01:09:12] Alex: First of all, the detail ones, usually they’re, the odds are higher of ranking anyway, because while there are many professional, uh, authors out there, there are also cases where, where not everybody knows what to do with and how to get into those categories.
[01:09:29] So very often by just choosing a very detailed ones, there are higher chances of getting some visibility because the book starts ranking. Now, of course, if there are very high selling competing titles in there, the next level will always be you will have to put in newsletters, advertising, et cetera, because irrespective of the categorization, the whole Amazon store is still a pay-to-play type of mechanism, aside from the organic search results.
[01:10:00] 37% of a page assets are taken by sponsored results, so that is clearly a factora. But overall, the lower level detail categories give you a better entry point than competing right away in just Kindle store slash romance. Judy
[01:10:16] Ryan: asks, have you seen any movement toward forcing books within the same series to have the same categories?
[01:10:23] Or does it make sense to use that strategy to broaden reach if all other criteria are met?
[01:10:30] Alex: Absolutely. Excellent question. I don’t have the answer yet. We are actually setting up a research right now on book series to look into exactly that. What is the level of diversity or consistency of categories and best seller list display across series, and I hope that I can include that.
[01:10:50] In one of the further genre reports coming up,
[01:10:53] Ryan: sometimes Audrey asked a general question about the mashup categories. If you could explain what that
[01:10:58] Alex: means exactly. Mashup as a genre is usually exactly what it states a mashup of jar. So there are a few categories where Amazon specifically provided a ground for these types of books.
[01:11:14] Now, what it, however, also know is that almost any book these days provides some level of jar blending, right? There is not like the black and white jar. So is it advisable to put a book into a mashup category? I’d say usually no. I think if you have, say, a historical novel, which is historical fiction, and that historical fiction happens to blend with a certain type of mystery, We’ll probably select two categories.
[01:11:46] One being the history historical fiction branch of the chain, and the other may be one in the mystery branch of the store. And by the way, they may meet at some point because there is also a historical one within mystery and there is a mystery one. Within historical there will be a much wise choice than saying, oh, I have a genre blend here, so let’s put it into a mashup category.
[01:12:10] I wouldn’t do that.
[01:12:11] Ryan: Annabella has a comment more than a question, but she notes that the two books I updated where I had to complete the adult content, she wasn’t allowed to create an ad on those books. Whereas when she didn’t do that, she was able
[01:12:23] Alex: to Exactly right. That is one of the big things is the ad limitations.
[01:12:29] The other, which I think the JU jury is still out, is the potential suppression of a title in a search result. So if that very title has whatever sweet, historical, whatever, steamy. Something in the subtitle and somebody searches for that, but it was labeled adult content. It may be that in the search result, no matter how well it’s been selling, it may not even show up in the search result.
[01:12:54] That’s what some people also refer to as
[01:12:56] Ryan: that dungeon for erotica titles.
[01:12:59] Alex: By the same token though, I’ve checked many titles that I’ll say in an erotica print category. They’re still totally findable in the search. So it’s also, if the user is logged in, is the user an adult or an owner has confirmed he or she confirmed this out.
[01:13:17] There’s a, I think a whole debate and seminar and research could be done just on that adult content one. Yeah.
[01:13:23] Ryan: Mi Misha, hope I pronounced that has a question, similar related question. Can you expand on the adult content box? She explains that it allows me to choose romance erotica and the K D P category options, but does not force me to change the choice on the adult content box from no to yes.
[01:13:41] So in other words, you could have an erotica book without claiming that it’s an adult content. So if I do bulk using that, will Amazon change it due to my category
[01:13:49] Alex: choices for the erotic one, I had not checked that in the interface. I am very surprised to learn that because in many other cases, the new upload dashboard has a lot of checks and BA balances like the one I told you earlier.
[01:14:05] The duplicate categories would automatically be removed if they point the category path point to the same best seller list. Here they did not have that check. Now I can understand romance that it would not automatically force that because from the Clean RO Romans report as what is considered on the range from pornography to erotica to romantic erotica to steamy, Romans, very steamy Romans to all the way down to.
[01:14:37] Religious romance or faith based romance, we know that’s a very big scale of shades of gray, pun intended, and in romance, I can totally understand that If you don’t click that box, it doesn’t force you to erotica. I’m surprised, and I frankly don’t know why that checkbox wouldn’t be there, because I’d say if a book is erotica, even if literary, usually it has some pretty steamy, if not explicit content.
[01:15:07] Ryan: John asks he, he says he’s new to all this. Are all selected categories for a book equivalent in all respects? For example, are certain rankings limited to categories based on their entry or other
[01:15:19] Alex: factors? First of all, let’s define what is meant by a ranking. On the very book page, you will always see two, actually four numbers.
[01:15:28] There’s one overarching number, which is the store sales ranking, so this. Book is sales ranked five out of more than 10 million English speaking Kindle titles. And then I will say beneath that, and with that store rank, it happens to achieve, to be the number one say in paranormal romance. The number three in mystery thriller, suspense slash romantic, whatever the category is, you name it.
[01:15:55] But there’s a storewide rank and there’s a sale rank. And yes, in which of these category bestseller lists, the book will show is exactly dependent upon the, that the aisles of the supermarket and you register with. In other words, if you say, I want my book to be sold in with spaghettis, it can rank in the spaghetti aisle.
[01:16:18] If you choose, it should rank with washing powder. It will rank in the washing powder aisle.
[01:16:25] Ryan: Joshua asks, how does one reconcile that the category choices offered are not the same for paperback and indel? That is very
[01:16:32] Alex: difficult because the depends a bit on what is first because the print, while the ebook ones, you can swap and change.
[01:16:41] My understanding is with the print ones, that is a bit more difficult and the moment of upload is more Im important. Now, I’m not a particular print edition specialist. You may wanna also hear around on that one, but I’d say there is reason that they obviously both should dovetail witch e each other to some extent.
[01:17:03] Now what I see in the Amazon support page is I would not necessarily say the print book is non-fiction motorcycles and the ebook edition because it is a motorcycle club romance. And the ebook is in romance, rock stars or in romance Contemporary. You get the idea.
[01:17:21] Ryan: Robert asks, I used Ingram Spark to upload my book to Amazon.
[01:17:25] Can I view and change my categories?
[01:17:28] Alex: Good question. You would have to ask them. I don’t know. Frankly. Usually if you have a man in the middle, it’s usually them who have the access to whatever platform accounts as well. So they may have to manage it. But I’m not an Ingram Spark expert, I’m
[01:17:44] Ryan: afraid. Uh, we have a number of specific questions to individual uses cases.
[01:17:51] Alex: we
[01:17:51] Ryan: see about a couple rules. One asks, I write middle grade about antics of a Swedish elf and I put it in Swedish folklore and middle grade, especially at Christmas, readers may look up Swedish elf stories.
[01:18:06] Alex: Now that is exactly one of those super interesting case you will have to try in the new interface.
[01:18:12] As said, if you choose. Children’s books. It usually, at least with teen young adult, you have to be in that branch altogether. If you previously achieved such a dual categorization in different branches of the hierarchy, I would try to maintain it and not wipe it with, with changing the book, Judy, uh,
[01:18:32] Ryan: I write spy thrillers with an amateur African-American protagonist.
[01:18:37] What category should I put that in? And also is that genre trending
[01:18:42] Alex: for trending? I would have to look up in the, would’ve to look it up in the database. Say that again. That’s quite a blend. So you have the African-American, black American part of it, if I saw correctly. You have the spy is so what’s definitely still very well you have within the thrillers branch, you have assassinations, you have vigilante justice, and you have specifically also I think, spy and conspiracy.
[01:19:07] So if it’s, if that is the core of the content, put it there. Now the next dimension you have to figure though, if you have some amateur or detective in there, there are specific women’s fiction mystery categories. There are female detectives categories. Then depending on the protagonist, you might may wanna branch out more into into those, whether on top you put it into any of the target audience-based African-American categories that Amazon offers or multicultural.
[01:19:37] That could certainly be an additional option. Dana
[01:19:39] Ryan: asks my L, my novel is a later in life romance, and I think that’s the category, but the sales page lists its rank in three other subcategories. Is there any way I might get Amazon to swap one of those for the most accurate category?
[01:19:55] Alex: To my mind, the only way you could achieve that is, and that is back to the discussion with which we had earlier about is it advisable to potentially change categories that you achieved for an already existing book.
[01:20:08] Now if you had eight categories before and you, you didn’t game the system but you used to liberty of branching out pretty wide in terms of category positioning and you now figure or or some reason Amazon exactly chose not the ones I now would like to see it rank in. That is I think one of those choices where you may wanna go narrow and perhaps I’m a bit provocative here, but one could even, that’s a strategy I have not tried yet myself or with my authors.
[01:20:39] But one which I would propose is almost why choose all three at the very beginning. If there’s one which is like laser sharp and you say, I upload my book only in romance later in life, I even sacrifice some additional visibility. I let the algorithm learn all the purchases these related to later in live romance.
[01:20:59] And then you say, okay, let’s add the contemporary romance one or let’s let this, this, or as you get the idea, I have not tried this, but. Looking at how the new system works, that could be a strategy to almost force that the sales that you achieve associated with a, with a category or in that case bestseller list you really wanna be shown at.
[01:21:21] Ryan: Great answer. I we have another question from Kimberly that I missed earlier. If we do have to touch the book, for example, to update back matter or pricing, will that force us to change the categories before it will publish
[01:21:33] Alex: changes? Uh, I don’t think you, you have to, I haven’t seen it in the interface. I don’t think you have to.
[01:21:40] Others. Please chi chime in. But I’d be surprised that you’d have to change pricing if you change the metadata or vice versa.
[01:21:49] Ryan: And then Libby asked, this might be the last question. The categories offered to K D P authors at least, are much less specific than all of Amazon’s category list. How do we get into the more
[01:22:01] Alex: specific ones?
[01:22:04] Say that again, please. The am the ones now shown are not as specific as you find them on the store. The categories.
[01:22:13] Ryan: The question is, the categories offered to K D P authors at least, are much less specific than all of Amazon’s category list. How do we get into the more specific ones?
[01:22:24] Alex: Now? I’m tracking the Kindle store started.
[01:22:27] When was that? 2008, 2009. And that’s when slowly a category system evolved around Kindle categories. The Amazon bookstore has been there for much longer time. So the overall cross format book categorizing, which in essence would be the print edition that can make use of that is more detailed than the Kindle hierarchy.
[01:22:49] So for example, in the book, the print edition, you do find a, I think, romance billionaire category, which is one which many people would ask for, but. Doesn’t exist in the Kindle dashboard, so in some cases you simply cannot align them because what exists for print does not exist for the decision for the ebook upload.
[01:23:13] Ryan: We have a follow-up question from Dana. How much does self-fulfilling prophecy play into how well a category sells?
[01:23:21] Alex: Of course, if everybody is buying Lytics report and says, Hey, that’s the category to be in, and many successful authors do so and then they start launching advertising and, and that’s a true story.
[01:23:33] We’ve seen certain categories then all of a sudden move. But I think that’s exactly the same, like asking if Coca-Cola uses market research to target a new soft drink at a certain target audience and then, and they put advertising behind it, and then that audience picks up that drink, then by nature in next year sales statistics of some market researcher that would move.
[01:23:58] I wouldn’t call it self poke filling. It is just using a certain market intel to then make decisions that then of course, again, influence the market because you
[01:24:08] Ryan: or the group of
[01:24:09] Alex: authors in the category system, it doesn’t exist in isolation, but in constant interaction with sales that are happening and with decisions that publishers and authors make concerning their placement.
[01:24:21] And last
[01:24:22] Ryan: thing, Annabella made a comment about a question that was asked earlier about being able to put content into the erotic category without clicking Yes. That it’s adult content. I believe she said that, uh, it refused to allow me to move on until I completed the adult content section in her
[01:24:40] Alex: case.
[01:24:41] So I would’ve thought so too, because there, there is a specific mention in the, uh, Amazon support pages that say you have to complete the question before you move on. And in some cases, Without being specific, though, it says it, it will. If you don’t click a certain thing, the next steps are blocked. So that seems to confirm
[01:25:02] Ryan: that.
[01:25:02] A couple more questions have popped up. Joanna asks, A murder mystery can fall into crime, mystery, filler, suspense, women’s sleuth, et cetera. I found it difficult to find the late fiction women’s murder, miss Fiction murder mysteries for books. Am I missing something or how do I get into that category? I think it’s the, the idea
[01:25:22] Alex: of that question.
[01:25:23] Hi. Hi, Joanna. I know Joanna. And then that specific case, I think here, part of the wrestling, by the way, is also the book involves an amateur sleuth or an amateur detective. Now, there are specific categories for amateur or sleuth on the Kindle platform, but the term amateur sleuth has been almost not hijacked, but completely associated with cozy mystery.
[01:25:45] In that very case, though, the book is not necessarily cozy. I’m not sure whether it is totally no or. Like a real tough thriller. I don’t know that. Or a tough mystery, but that is where it gets a bit difficult because yeah, you do wanna play and communicate. It’s an amateur sleuth, but you don’t want to end up being that one book amongst all those cozy mysteries.
[01:26:08] There’s never the optimal solutions. Sometimes you have to take a con, a conscious trade of decision saying, okay, there is more, uh, female protagonist thriller category. So what I would do in that case, by the way, is I would choose a non cozy category. If the book is not cozy, you don’t want to end up in a cozy category or one that is strongly associated with coz box.
[01:26:32] So you place it into a normal category. And then additionally, I would probably use one of the seven keyword fields to. Tell Amazon that this is a female protagonist mystery or even an amateur sleuth mystery. And then by the way, the very interesting question will exactly be whether the old Amazon algorithm still kicks in and for some reason then pushes the book into the storefront in in amateur sleuth, which exactly should not happen per their new system, but which in the old days did happen.
[01:27:05] So that would be, I think, a great experiment, by the way, put it in non cozy categories, but use email detective and even amateur sleuths as one of the keywords or in the keyword combinations and see what it does to the actual showing of the book. If it does show up in amateur sleuth as a category, then we know that Amazon just painted over the old system, but le left much of the old algorithm intact.
[01:27:28] Ryan: One more question. Is it possible to buy an elite membership month once a quarter, while keeping my premium account as is? This is someone who already has a
[01:27:38] Alex: premium account. Yeah. Technically what you would do, you’d you, you’d buy the, you’d buy the elite one. I can send you a refund for that correspondent premium payment for that month.
[01:27:50] So you essentially have paid only the difference for that one month and then cancel the Elite membership again, if you send me a mail to support at lytics.com/and then in the subject webinar I, we can sort that out
[01:28:04] Ryan: quickly. And what is the annual cost for Elite after the 18 months is over?
[01:28:08] Alex: Usually it goes to the one year 4 97, but since we do this webinar here with Ryan Moore often, I think we can probably figure a way of fathering or grandmothering you in, in having that 18 month deal on an ongoing
[01:28:23] Ryan: basis.
[01:28:25] Thank you Alex, for that awesome presentation and first thing of that long to answer all these questions. I’d highly recommend everyone take a look at the link and check out Lytics. And explore if it’s something that you would like to use here for yourself. And thank you again, Alex, for doing this. It’s awesome.
[01:28:41] Alex: Hey, thank you so much for having us, and if questions come up, here’s just the email once more to support k ly.com. If it’s question about the offer or other questions you still may have, not sure I can answer all the content questions, but at least we’re gonna try and check out the replay. I know there was a lot of material.
[01:29:01] Ryan, thank you so much for having done this again and look forward to chatting next time. It’s always fun. Thanks so much.