How to Unlock the Secret Kindle Categories

Proven Method to Unlocking the Secret Kindle Categories

Have you ever noticed that when you go to publish your book and select a category on Kindle, certain categories cannot be found?

Or, After doing hours of research to find that perfect category for your ebook, you discover that you just cannot select it?

As it turns out, Amazon doesn’t offer every existing category for you to select when you publish your book.

Frustrating, right?

Well, you wouldn't be alone in this frustration. However, there is hope. There are a couple ways in which you can ensure that your book is included in the “secret category list” that Amazon doesn’t offer you.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The importance of these secret categories
  • How to unlock them

Okay, let me be clear. The list isn’t technically secret. As a matter of fact, there's a page to help you find out what categories exist that aren’t offered in your KDP dashboard when you're first uploading your book, but we'll get into that later.

Why Should You Enter Your Book Into These ‘Secret Categories'?

Simply put, these secret categories are not selectable in the KDP dashboard…that’s why. And being able to select them may help you achieve a higher Amazon Bestseller Rank–that equals more visibility and more book sales. These categories usually have lower competition than the available ones on the KDP dashboard because they're not visible to everyone. A lot of authors don't know they exist or that they need to enter their books into these categories.

Be sure to check out my article on how to find low competition categories that will help you to reach best-seller status here.

Secret Kindle Categories rock because most don't know how to qualify for them=less competitionClick To Tweet
If you need help finding the most opportunistic categories, then you should check out my favorite software for the job: KDP Rocket.
Get KDP Rocket Here!

How To Unlock The Secret Amazon Categories

When you go to upload your book for the first time, you'll be offered a select list of categories to choose from. You will probably notice that these categories are very broad and do not include every subject that you see other books listing for.

Amazon does this because they want new books to be included in well-known e-book lists.

Over time, Amazon will sometimes automatically add a book to a secret category because it feels as though it belongs. If you're like me, you don't want to leave it up to fate and hope that Amazon will one day decide to include your book in a particular category.

So, to get your book showing for the category you want, just follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Amazon Keyword Selection

Try to place the title of your category as one of your “Amazon Keywords” in your Kindle submission form. This will automatically tell Amazon that your book belongs in that particular category.7 Amazon Keyword Selection screen

In some cases, a specific keyword must be used in order to unlock it. Check out this Amazon page which actually lists which categories require what keyword in order to join that category:
https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A200PDGPEIQX41

Step 2: Strategic Category Placement

If you can legitimately place that category name into your title, subtitle, and/or summary, it should also help to persuade the Amazon algorithm that your e-book is best served under that particular category.

Potential Step 3: Flat Out Tell Them!

If that doesn't work, and your book isn't automatically added to the particular category, there is one more step for getting Amazon to notice it.

Contact Amazon and ask them to include your book in that category. Amazon will then look at your book, it's cover, and the information you placed on your product page and will make a determination as to whether or not your book will be suitable. Be sure that this category is a legitimate fit for your book or else Amazon will reject your claim.

How to Contact Author Central

To contact Amazon so as to include your book into their secret categories, perform the following:

First go to Author Central: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help/contact-us

On the Contact Us Form:

  1. Under “Select an Issue” select “My Books”.
  2. Under “Select details” select “Update information about a book”.
  3. In the fields that appear, select “Browse Categories”
  4. Then “I want browse categories in the Product Details section.”

Contact information for changing your Kindle CategoryNext, in the “Question/Feedback” area provide your book’s ASIN and which browsing path you would like as your new category and which category this will replace.

The Category path should look like this:
# Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Anthologies

learn about kindle sales rankings and how this effects the Category SelectionMake sure you start with Kindle Store and not ‘book'…unless this is for the physical book. I have made this mistake before and of course, was rejected.

Once you've submitted your email request, give it a few days and check to see whether or not Amazon placed your book in that category. You can do this quite easily by heading over to this neat Book Category Hunter Tool and entering your ASIN or ISBN-10 (if you're doing this for the paperback version of your book). It will show you exactly which categories your book is in.

In most cases, authors will see the fruits of the email labor in a matter of 24 hours…which is nice.

In Closing…

So, there you have it. Simple steps toward unlocking the coveted secret categories of the Amazon Kindle world. I hope you enjoyed this and please comment below on how this process worked for you.

Cheers,

Dave-Signature

 

 

64 Comments

  1. Mike on July 14, 2020 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Dave,

    thanks for this article, I used it to move a book into 10 categories and refreshed it as a top ten bestseller in one of them. I have a kind of related but not sure if you can help question: Can I do this on other marketplaces?

    I see more suitable categories for my book on Amazon.co.uk than some of the ones on amazon.com. Is can I do this to a .co.uk or .de or .ca address and have categories switched in other marketplaces?

    p.s. Love Publisher Rocket and have done your AMS course! Awesome stuff!

    • Dave Chesson on July 15, 2020 at 2:35 pm

      Glad you like them – made my morning to read that. As for your question, I don’t think one can specific the different markets. Organizing specific information for specific markets is something I don’t think we can do.

      • Mike on July 16, 2020 at 3:23 am

        Okay, thanks for that. Just making sure that I wasn’t missing anything!

        • Dave Chesson on July 16, 2020 at 6:06 pm

          No problem.

  2. Katie on November 13, 2019 at 3:14 am

    I tried this, and KDP claimed the categories do not exist, even though I carefully selected the appropriate categories from their own Browse Categories help page indicating the categories restricted by keyword.

    • Dave Chesson on November 20, 2019 at 2:27 am

      Nope…their own Browse Categories are actually BISACS, not Amazon Categories. Be sure to check out this video here: https://www.youtube.com/wat

  3. Taryn Bashford on August 25, 2019 at 5:16 am

    I’m assuming, having not loaded on Amazon yet, that you get 7 keywords for your ebook and 7 more for your books?

    • Dave Chesson on August 25, 2019 at 9:31 pm

      If you use KDP Print for the print book, they will be connected and what you input into KDP will be used for both.

      • Taryn Bashford on August 27, 2019 at 2:40 am

        Thanks Dave. Love your work.

  4. GR on May 7, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Thank you Dave! I’ve learned a whole lot from you, and also improved my book description thanks to your free html tool. Really appreciate your work. One update – when you search amazon with your ASIN it no longer shows the categories you are listed in! As of May 2018.

    • Dave Chesson on May 7, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      Hi GR – thanks, that means a LOT to hear. As for Categories showing via ASIN, i just checked it and its working for me. I just now have to click the links in the top left. I used to just see them automatically. However, one thing we learned with KDP Rocket is that Amazon just recently (end of April) started changing thing for Categories. They are still A/B testing (some people see one version and others see another version). For Rocket we had to program it to use both – because half our users could not use the Category feature. It was a real stumper and pain in the butt – plus a lot of wine…haha. But now it fully works with both versions. Anyways, all that to say, it might be the AB test That is causing you to see it not showing or the new requirement to click to see them.

  5. Andre Vilnus on January 6, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    How do you find out which categories and which keyword has chosen an author you find in Amazon?

    • Dave Chesson on January 6, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      You can scroll down on their book page to see their categories, but you cannot see what keywords they chose.

  6. Andre Vilnus on January 6, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    How do you find out which categories and which keyword has chosen an author you find in Amazon?

    • Dave Chesson on January 6, 2018 at 3:39 pm

      You can scroll down on their book page to see their categories, but you can’t see what keywords they chose.

  7. Scott Edward Maitland on January 3, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Several months ago, I watched a video on Youtube by a guy named, Jason Bracht. He is a self-styled Kindle guru. I guess he created Self-Publishing University, which has all the seriousness of a real college, with deadlines and enrollment cut-off dates.Anyway, in this video, he said “Click on the link below for a free list of 101 profitable niches.” So I did. What I got was this: file:///G:/KDP/101%20Browse%20Paths.pdf
    It is 101 different browse paths.

    • Dave Chesson on January 3, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      I’ve heard of him but do not know too much.

  8. Scott Edward Maitland on January 3, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Several months ago, I watched a video on Youtube by a guy named, Jason Bracht. He is a self-styled Kindle guru. I guess he created Self-Publishing University, which has all the seriousness of a real college, with deadlines and enrollment cut-off dates.

    Anyway, in this video, he said “Click on the link below for a free list of 101 profitable niches.” So I did. What I got was this: file:///G:/KDP/101%20Browse%20Paths.pdf
    It’s 101 different browse paths.

    • Dave Chesson on January 3, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      I’ve heard of him but don’t know too much.

  9. Amy Ireland King on December 27, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Does Amazon have a maximum number of categories it will place your book in if you use keywords/titles/descriptions etc to get them to add your book to those categories?

    • Dave Chesson on December 27, 2017 at 11:54 pm

      Hi Amy, you can actually get Amazon to add you to 7 categories by using the process above and just asking them to add your book to a category. I’m going to be updating my Kindle Categories article in a couple of weeks that will include that step-by-step process more.

      • Amy Ireland King on December 28, 2017 at 4:54 pm

        Awesome! I’ll look out for that – the way it reads at the moment, I thought you were saying that if you asked them to put your book in a secret category that you’d have to give up one of your existing ones. Another weird thing is, I found a book ranking top for a secret category, but on the book’s sales page, that category was not one of the three categories listed. Did I dream that or have you seen that before?

  10. Brijit Reed on October 26, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing! However, I’m having trouble seeing how many books have been published in each category. Did Amazon change this recently?

    • Dave Chesson on October 27, 2017 at 6:01 am

      Hmmm…apparently so. Well, no worries. I’m actually going to update this article and thing I’ll remove is that. In truth, it’s not about the number of competitors in a category…who cares. It’s about how the #1-#20’s Amazon Best Seller Rank is that tells me the competitiveness.

      • Brijit Reed on October 27, 2017 at 9:06 pm

        I don’t understand that. Do you have a specific article or video that explains how the #1-20s Bestseller ranking works?

        • Dave Chesson on October 27, 2017 at 9:08 pm

          No, but here is all you have to do:
          Go to the sales page of the #1 book in that category. Take its Amazon Best Seller Rank, and put it into the KDP Calculator on this site. It will then tell you how many books you’d need to sell in one day, to be the #1 bestseller. Then do the same thing to the #20 book, and that will tell you how many books you’d need to sell in one day to at least be in the top 20 for that category and be on that category’s page.

          • Brijit Reed on October 28, 2017 at 12:17 am

            Oh, you’re wonderful! Thank you!!! 🙂



          • Dave Chesson on October 28, 2017 at 12:38 am

            No problem and glad to help 🙂



  11. Thorsten Nesch on October 25, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Romance New Adult … who would have thought.

  12. Chris Tick on July 14, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Great article Dave, will be using this

  13. Emma Grace on March 26, 2017 at 10:49 am

    when we publish a e book, it shows no category …. does it take time to apper?

    • Dave Chesson on March 27, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Assuming you selected 2 categories when you went to publish it through KDP….yes, it will take a couple of days.

  14. Chad Elliot on March 11, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    They had me new ebook listed in 3 categories at first. Now, it’s only listed in one. Any suggestions?

  15. redmar on March 11, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    my book is non fiction and medical
    This does not work. Help
    a. marton@gmx.com

  16. KATE FITZROY on February 13, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I think the drop down box re browsing categories may differ from Amazon US and UK… I can’t work out the string you suggest on my UK author page. You do write very well and give such excellent advice… this is NOT a complaint!

  17. Faceless Commenter on November 27, 2016 at 9:52 pm

    It’s not working for me, and oddly, the categories Amazon shows on that “secret category” page (and the ones used when looking at books similar to mine) are NOT the ones that are available in the Category dropdown. For instance, a certain dark literary thriller occurs under:

    #61
    in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense

    #104
    in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Contemporary Fiction > Literary

    #113
    in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Women’s Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Women Sleuths

    But when choosing a category for my book, I don’t see “Literature & Fiction.” There’s Fiction, and underneath that there’s Literary, and beyond that no subcategories.

    In addition, on the page where I’m setting up my book, the Category selection comes before the Keyword textbox, which is odd if the categories depend on the keywords.

  18. Anj Sesbreno on September 2, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I’ll try it for my fiction novel. Hopefully, it’ll do the trick. Btw, does changing the keyword/category from time to time also useful? And if it is, when’s the best time to do it? Thanks for such wonderful pieces of advice!

    • Dave Chesson on September 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Yes it does. The key is to ‘test’ 😉

  19. Parchment & Pixels on June 25, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Looks like the details part has been removed from Amazon Acentral, I only see a generic box? No drop downs. So I’ve added my details for the cats I want and am awaiting a reply. Wish me luck

  20. Emmanuel Hermañez on March 19, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    For the replacement category, do I put the ones that are in the amazon page or the one in the KDP book details?

    • kindlepreneur on March 20, 2016 at 2:21 am

      The string that shows up on someone else’s book sales page.

    • Parchment & Pixels on June 25, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      Looks like the details part has been removed from Amazon Acentral, I only see a generic box? No drop downs. So I’ve added my details for the cats I want and am awaiting a reply.

  21. Andrew Taylor on March 1, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I tried to pay and it would not work

    • kindlepreneur on March 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      On KD Spy? Hmm….not sure why that wouldn’t work. It runs through JVZoo who’s super reliable.

      • Andrew Taylor on March 1, 2016 at 4:21 pm

        Is paypal the only way to pay?

  22. Tam Francis: The Girl in the J on March 1, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Any suggestions on how to CREATE new categories? I’ve noticed some really niche categories, but they don’t apply to me. I’ve written them and no luck so far.Got any secrets for that? Another blog post?

    • kindlepreneur on March 1, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      Sadly, Amazon controls what categories they create. But if you find a pre-existing category that you want to be a part of, then the above article is for you.

  23. Tam Francis: The Girl in the J on February 27, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    I just tried this. I’ll see if they do it, as well as changing my keywords to reflect the new category. You are AMAZING! Thank you for the step-by-step advice. My brain is hurting, but, I think this will help, since my other category was so generally and I couldn’t get into a sub-category.

    • Tam Francis: The Girl in the J on February 27, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      One more question. Can this work for the paperback as well. Should I send a separate request. I only see an ISBN and not a ASIN for the paperback.

      • kindlepreneur on February 28, 2016 at 1:06 pm

        Paperback does have their own set as well….so yup

        • Tam Francis: The Girl in the J on February 28, 2016 at 8:12 pm

          Thanks. Amazon just replied and said they can move it to the new category path, but I noticed many books are listed in several categories. They asked me if I wanted the new path to replace the old? Do I? Or do I want it in addition to the other path. I’m still a little fuzzy on how it works. I think I’m on the right path, though (pun intended).

          • kindlepreneur on February 29, 2016 at 11:54 am

            Yeah, go for a new path. Most books start off with just 2 paths. However, over time, Amazon will assign and 3rd and maybe even a 4th…but that isn’t guaranteed. In this case, they’ll give you a 3rd path…which is nice.



  24. Ton Bil on February 8, 2016 at 12:37 am

    I’ll definitely do this once I’m ready for uploading my book “Love by Breakup” on KDP (in a few weeks). Thanks for the great article.

  25. C T Mitchell on January 14, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Great tips here. I’ll re-read, absorb and apply

  26. Complete Guide to Kindle Keyword Selection on July 7, 2015 at 10:49 am

    […] Keywords can also be key (nice one, huh?) in unlocking certain categories for your ebook and should be used in this capacity if you find a stellar category to […]

  27. How to Select the Best Kindle Category on June 29, 2015 at 1:55 am

    […] those poor souls who can’t find their ideal category in the initial publishing list, then check this article out to discover how you can unlock those categories and gain access.  Follow the steps in that article […]

  28. Michal on March 23, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    As far as I know a “secret” keyword is not enough. You also need your book to be listed somwhere in the parent category. Eg. if you want to have your book included in Business & Money/Entrepreneurship & Small Business/Startups you need to have a keyword “startup” AND your book must be listed sowhere under Business & Money. If you picked for example Self-Help and Education & Teaching, the “secret” keyword alone won’t help you at all.

    But if your book already was under Business & Money/Business Life, it will appear in Startups too.

    • Kindlepreneur on March 23, 2015 at 3:56 pm

      It is in many cases, but there are times where even by following Amazon’s requirements (as per their link which is in the article), they still don’t respond. However, working with many authors, I have never seen a common factor that dictates who has more success over another. So I don’t think it is category dependent. I believe that history, account health, and relevance do play a part though.

      • Michal on March 24, 2015 at 9:52 am

        A more experienced author advised me to do that and it worked for my personal mission statement book. I had appropriate keywords, but the book wasn’t featured in Religion & Spirituality > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Living > Self Help
        till I changed one of categories into Religion & Spirituality > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Living > Professional Growth

        Then the parent category was the same and the book appeared in a couple more subcategories under Christian Living.

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Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.

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