Saturday, August 24, 2013

Detective Visibility and The Mystery of Amazon Categories....

By Terry Tyler

...... I've read a bit recently about getting my books more visible on Amazon, because we all know that "discoverability" is one of the best ways to get people reading your books, right? 

I know that genre charts are massively important, probably THE most

important thing in this. The trick is to find categories that will be searched for by book buyers, but are not too extensively populated already. Both my last two books, Dream On and Full Circle, got to about 2000 in the chart at their highest point, but were not in any genre charts because I'd chosen massively over-used things like contemporary fiction, so I knew I had to sort that out before I did the 77p promotion for them this weekend.

Dream On and Full Circle are both centred around two things: musicians wanting to hit the big time, and love relationship/parenthood tangles. In Dream On my character Janice is a single mother; the book features much about her day to day life. In Full Circle, three of my main characters have small children - the fatherhood thing is one of the central themes. In this book the subject of alcoholism is also prominent, but I couldn't find a fiction category that deals with this...

.... and, furthermore, there is, apparently, no such Amazon genre as 'rock fiction'. I researched the subject of categories quite extensively, and eventually found the perfect one for Dream On: lad lit. Dream On has as many reviews from men as from women, virtually all of whom loved the rock band bits, saying that the banter between the men is so realistic (pssst!! - the two other main characters are women!!). Marvellous, thought I - really relevant to my book, and not highly populated - a real "Eureka!" moment! I emailed Amazon. No, can't put it in lad lit. Why not? Because that category exists for Books but not for Kindle Books. Okay.....

Now, this is interesting, and something that might be useful for us all to know: Amazon explained to me that the categories you see books in, on the books' own pages, aren't necessarily their own standard categories from which you can choose to place your book. They are decided by customer search; what the customer put in the search facility, and how often your book is clicked on after such a search. Which explains a lot, I think. Like why my psychological drama You Wish sometimes enters the 'occult' chart.... at no point have I chosen 'occult' as a genre for that book.

You may have read in a certain best-selling book about visibility that all you need to do is identify the category and chain leading to it, and email Amazon to ask for your book to be put in it (eg, Kindle>Fiction>Mystery>Victorian); I don't know if this was ever correct, but it certainly isn't now. Amazon assures me that it doesn't work like this.

After further extensive research I identified two other perfect Kindle fiction categories that would apply to aspects of both books - please note: I made sure they were both for fiction, and specified that the books should be in the FICTION categories first and foremost. Thus: Single Parent for Dream On, and Fatherhood for Full Circle. I emailed Amazon with my requests.

I am happy to say that both books are, this morning, in genre charts.
Dream On is in Non Fiction>Parenting & Families>ParentingFull Circle is in Books>Health,Family & Lifestyle>Families & Parents>Fatherhood

I give up.....

(I just hope that people are intelligent enough to read the blurb before going to purchase a self-help book about parenting and ending up with a philandering wannabe rock star getting hauled onto the Jeremy Kyle show....)

Terry Tyler is author of Full Circle, Dream On, The Other Side, Nobody's Fault and You Wish, and a member of Independent Authors International. Visit Terry Tyler's blog at

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