Sep 14, 2023Liked by Darcy Pattison

You‘re so thorough and helpful to all of us! Thanks for your posts, we’re listening!

Expand full comment

But we can't choose: Books>Children’s Books>Apes & Monkeys

Just only choose:

Books>Children’s Books>Apes & Monkeys>Fiction


Books>Children’s Books>Apes & Monkeys>Nonfiction

But they are ghost category.

So what should we do when the book talks about a monkey as the main character? hmm....

Expand full comment

Hi Darcy. The problem with Dave's article is that it's focused almost completely on getting to #1 in an Amazon category. But that's not actually the most important factor for category selection. The most important factor is getting Amazon to recommend your books along with similar ones, as well as deciding where to place Amazon ads, if you run them.

"A second problem is that Amazon was trying to abide by the BISAC categories."

BISAC categories have never been used in the store itself. When you chose them in KDP, they were translated into the closest Amazon categories. (This still happens with all print books that are Lightning-only.) But both systems have their limitations, and translation created new problems.

"Green buttons mean the category can be used, but the dark gray button means it’s a GHOST category. For example, do NOT put your book into both Apes & Monkeys>Fiction and Apes & Monkeys>Nonfiction. Amazon has collapsed the categories and doesn’t care if you write fiction or nonfiction, they will all go into the general children’s book category of Apes & Monkeys.

"It’s very interesting! They no longer distinguish between fiction and nonfiction for kids! If you look closely, you can see that the Nonfiction categories were small in comparison anyway."

I'd have to strongly disagree. By putting the book in both "ghost" categories, you're making a stronger case for Amazon to recommend your book with books for both categories, because it's assured of a stronger match. And you ESPECIALLY want to include it in the smaller category, because there's less competition there for getting recommended. If there are fewer nonfiction Apes & Monkeys books, and Amazon knows for sure you're one of them, your chances of getting recommended are vastly improved.

If having both these categories separately wasn't helping Amazon sell books, they wouldn't be there! But of course, you'd also have to weigh this advantage against appearing in a broader range of categories.


Expand full comment

Wow, Aaron, thanks for the comments. You know what I LOVE about this is that there are so many ways to think about all of this! Each of us needs to THINK about our own particular situation and make decisions. After all, we are INDIE publisher; therefore, we think independently! Thanks for helping us think through the issues.


Expand full comment

This was incredibly helpful!! Thank you for all that you do in support of your publishing peers!!

Expand full comment