Indie Author Series: Categorizing your Book

For self published authors, choosing the right category is vital. It’s how your book reaches its audience.

When I was in high school, I worked at the city library. There I learned that fiction books are shelved by the author’s last name. Yes, there were special areas for mysteries and children’s books, but as far as categories go, there weren’t really any. Almost all fiction titles were shelved in one place, regardless of genre.

Book stores were the first to break from this tradition, giving browsers more choices to narrow down there search among the stacks. This method increased sales because it helped readers connect more easily with the books they liked. This method has extended into the ebook market and online bookstores. Online users “browse” categories and can often sort and filter the categories to find that perfect book.

So where does your self-published book fit in?

In selecting a category, there are three main considerations.

1) Accuracy

The point is to get your work found by readers that are looking for it or something like it. Don’t choose a category simply because it is “hot” or “popular”. If you have to search for justification to put it into a certain category, it probably doesn’t really belong there in the first place.

2) Precision

Be as specific as possible. If your work is about a time traveler that travels back to the 1920s, it is better to put it into Fiction>Fantasy>Historical than to put it in Fiction>Fantasy or just simply Fiction. Narrowing the category will help readers that are looking for a book exactly like yours.

3) Variety

Many online bookstores give you an option to select two or more categories for your work. It is best to use this opportunity to reach more readers. By selecting differing categories, you expand your work’s exposure. Don’t forget to keep Accuracy in mind (it is #1 for a reason). As long as you remember to be accurate in your category selection, variety can complement your work rather than burying it. Amazon recommends the idea of Variety in categories. According to the online bookstore, authors should not put work in a sub-category of any selected categories. Instead, they advise that authors select varied categories.

Now that we know the big 3, let’s put them all together in an example. Say we have a book about a vampire that travels to the moon. We can choose two categories.






Fiction>Science Fiction>Space

For more on Categories, check my post on keywords and tags.

See what these experts have to say on the subject of categories…

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy