Hannah Stevenson is the editor of the Official Inspector Morse Society’s newsletter, as well as an expert on Henning Mankell. She also has an MA in English Lit and a passion for reading crime fiction. Her blog contains many author interviews and reviews of crime books. It’s worth checking out!
Yesterday, I blogged about the mysterious invisibility of one of my Kindle Direct Publishing ebooks on Amazon – Legend of King Arthur – which wasn’t in the right place on their website. That blog is here.
Today I contacted Amazon and received a prompt explanation for why I couldn’t find my book where I expected. They told me my book was listed under the following categories:
Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Arthurian
Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical
Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery
Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Adventure
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Historical
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Adventure
You can see that it was listed under “Arthurian” as a book – but not in the Kindle Store, where it mattered. It was also not listed under humorous fantasy, either, which is a category only for books. Since nobody looks for Kindle ebooks in the physical book section, it meant my ebook didn’t show up in relevant search results. For some reason my ebook wasn’t listed in the Arthurian section of the Kindle Store. Amazon asked me to send them the categories I wanted my book in so they could change it, which I did this morning. They were very helpful. My book should soon appear in the categories:
Kindle store > kindle ebooks > science fiction & fantasy > fantasy > humor > arthurian
Kindle store > kindle ebook > science fiction & fantasy > fantasy > humor > myths & legends
which are smaller sub-categories where it possible for customers to find it. Hurray!
Choosing Amazon Categories and Keywords
If you have some books published on Amazon via KDP, I’d say it’s worth checking to see your keywords and categories are correctly listed on your book’s Amazon page, because the categories on your KDP bookshelf don’t exactly match the browse categories. (It has something to do with BISAC – the way books are categorised.) Be wary. Your keywords could be doing nothing to help readers find your ebook – so check after publication that you can find it on Amazon in the Kindle Store like a customer would.
For Amazon’s advice on how to select categories, click here.
For more info on selecting browse categories, the KDP help page is here.
Well, I’m glad I emailed Amazon and learnt what had gone wrong. It wasn’t obvious!
(I just checked on Amazon. My book’s now added to Kindle store > kindle ebooks > science fiction & fantasy > fantasy > arthurian, where it belongs.)
Now that my book is visible again, I’ll have to trick some people into buying it. I’ve been reading about hypnotic suggestion and mind control – so look into my eyes.
You are feeling sleepy. Very sleepy.
You want to buy a humorous novel about King Arthur …
Unless you are a celebrity or already a bestselling author, nobody looks up your name on Amazon (and other retailers), so you are entirely dependent on whether or not readers can accidentally find your book when they are browsing.
The title, keywords and category are the only way of getting your book seen by customers – so you have to choose wisely.
Since one of my books hadn’t been selling for months, I decided to look for it via the usual methods – keywords and categories – just to see how easy it was to find it by browsing like a customer.
The book was called Crowning Achievements: The Legend of King Arthur – a very historically inaccurate and irreverent fantasy novel for fans of light fantasy and historical parodies.
In theory my King Arthur novel should have been listed if I searched for my chosen keywords – but these often produce huge lists of books. Common keywords like “fantasy” and “historical” might produce a list of thousands of books – so it makes sense to narrow the focus with more specific words and phrases.
Typing “King Arthur” produced too many results.
Typing “Crowning Achievements” produced memoirs about dentistry.
I knew what my keywords were, of course, so I expected to find my book listed somewhere if I used them for searching. One of them was “Arthurian” because my book is a fantasy about King Arthur. Amazon suggests “Arthurian” as a keyword if you read their help guide. Amazon lets you have two categories and six keywords – which can be used to put your book into narrower categories.
Doing a search resulted in 75 pages of results. My book wasn’t on the first page or the second one, which is about as far as a normal customer will go to find something. Nobody ever looks at all 75 pages. Therefore, my keyword was totally useless.
I decided to look up my book via the other major method of finding books – clicking on categories until I reached fantasy>arthurian.
Here’s a picture of my search results, starting with five million ebooks. I whittled the number down bit by bit …
Ah! Only 5 books! My book had to be in that category because it perfectly described what it was about.
I clicked on the link and looked at the page of results. I’ve blurred the image – but you can see the books.
Mine wasn’t there.
To say I was a little bit puzzled is an understatement. How could anyone browsing find my book if I can’t find it when I know the search keywords?
Amazingly, two of the five books were not remotely suitable for the category. They were werewolf-shifter romances set in the modern world.
Why were they listed – but my book wasn’t?
I chose appropriate keywords that put my book under “fantasy”, “historical”,” Arthurian”, “Merlin”, “King Arthur” and “humor”. (The American spelling of “humour” was required by Amazon). I followed their guidelines to make sure my book could be found in the right place – but it wasn’t anywhere.
Evidently, some kind of magic had made it invisible.
I’ve now gone back to Kindle Direct Publishing to make some keywords changes. I’ve also changed the title around so it is now The Legend of King Arthur: Crowning Achievements.
Hopefully, it will be more visible now – but if it isn’t, here’s a link to it for anyone interested.
Reblogged this useful info.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH KDP PAPERBACK PUBLISHING (BETA)
There is a new option with Kindle direct publishing to add a print book along with your ebook through their site. Formerly, most people would add a print version of their book via CreateSpace, a subsidiary of Amazon. Now you have the option to do this directly via KDP Paperback (beta).
I have no experience with CreateSpace, but prior to deciding to go with KDP Paperback (beta) I had looked at this option. In summary, CreateSpace is a separate company, although owned by Amazon. You need two accounts, one for CreateSpace and one for KDP, and if you are entering tax and personal information for payments, you will need to do all this twice.
It’s my understanding that not all KDP users have the ‘Print Book’ option yet, but that may have changed over the last couple of months (See KDP Print – Amazon is…
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Clockwork Cairo – steampunk anthology
I’m happy to announce one of my short stories will be in a new steampunk anthology called Clockwork Cairo, released on May 28th. Clockwork Cairo is a collection of Egyptian-themed steampunk that includes twenty stories.
Here’s a list of the contributors:
Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine
John Moralee (me!)
E. Catherine Tobler
K. Tempest Bradford
More information about this book can be found at the publisher’s website: Twopenny Press.