Resources and tips for the self-published author.

How to Unlock Amazon’s Secret Kindle Categories

by Auburn Seal •  October 20, 2016  •   Follow

Published in Publishing Tips  •  No comments

Do you feel like your book is getting lost in the billions of self-published titles currently for sale on Amazon? There’s a lot of competition for readers’ attention and that will only get more difficult as more authors embrace the freedom of self-publishing. Being an indie author comes with a lot of challenges, but it also comes with the control, autonomy, and power.


If something isn’t working for your title or series, you have the ability to experiment and change strategies at what is essentially the speed of light when considering the slower moving cog of traditional publishing. But how do you know what to change? Where to experiment?

Certainly, there are some basic things you need to be sure are in place to give your book it’s best fighting chance to float to the top: an awesome cover, a strong edit, a great book description. Assuming you’ve done all these things and your book is still struggling with finding traction on Amazon, there are some powerful tweaks you can make on your Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard.

How much thought did you put into your keywords when you were setting up your novel on KDP? If you are anything like me, you didn’t really understand what those words did for your book or how to select the most effective ones. But publishing 8 books in a fairly short amount of time forced me to learn some hacks. And I’m excited to help you conquer that learning curve even faster than I did.

Keep in mind that Amazon has a powerful search engine functionality and just like you optimize your SEO for your website, you can optimize your book title for discovery in Amazon searches.

Here’s a tip directly from Amazon: “To increase your book’s discoverability on Amazon, you need descriptions and keywords that accurately portray your book’s content and use the words customers will use when they search. Along with factors like sales history and Amazon Best Sellers Rank, relevant keywords can boost your placement in search results on”

So how can you make the most of your keywords?

I’ll show you right now!

You get 7 keywords. 7 opportunities to maximize your visibility in a reader search.

The first thing you should know is that each of those keywords can be more than ONE word. It can be a string of words.

Let’s say your novel is military science fiction. If you didn’t know that you could use a string of words, you might waste 3 of your keywords by typing military, science, fiction. Each keyword or string of words is separated by a comma. Instead, use the string military science fiction as one keyword string. You still have six to go but anytime a reader searches for a military science fiction title, your book will present in the search results!

There are several different categories of keywords that you can use. Consider elements like your book’s setting (colonial america), character type (single dad), character roles (strong female lead), plot themes (coming of age), and story tone (dystopian) when deciding on keywords.

I’ve got another great tip for you. Did you know that you can use certain keywords in order to get your book listed in secret sub-genres that you can’t get from the regular list on the Amazon KDP dashboard? They let you select two. But you can actually get your book listed in more than two genres by using the correct keywords. And here’s an extra benefit to that. When you get your book listed in a smaller category with less competition, your book shows up higher on the charts. The higher your book on the charts, the more readers see it. The more they see it, the more books are sold.

How do you unlock the hidden categories?

  1. Navigate to the Amazon Category Page


2. Navigate to your desired category. For example when you click Biographies & Memoirs you will be taken to a page that looks like this.



You see what we have going on here?! If you use the keyword ‘actor’ you will unlock the ‘Biographies & Memoirs/Arts & Literature/Entertainers/Actors & Actresses’ category. If you nail your keywords and increase your visibility, your sales go up without increasing your advertising budget at all!


Want to discover more Amazon secrets? I’ll be hosting a FREE webinar that will teach you how to unlock Amazon’s hidden keywords and access your categories. This webinar is packed full of even more tips to rock the back end of your KDP dashboard and maximize your visibility and increase sales!  In the meantime, if you haven’t liked our Facebook page, click over now. Don’t miss another FREE training!

Write on!

About Auburn Seal

Auburn Seal is the author of eight books including historical fiction, cozy mystery, paranormal romance, and science fiction. She doesn't believe in dipping her toe in the water of experimentation, but rather jumping in and making the biggest splash possible. Her first book, Roanoke Vanishing, was published in 2013. Discover more about Auburn and her various projects at