If you self-publish on Amazon, you need to add categories and keywords onto your book. The choice can make a difference in how easily readers can find your book. You can also use keywords for Amazon ads.
In this tutorial, I'll show you how I use Publisher Rocket. You can watch the tutorial below or here on YouTube.
I go through:
- How to research different country stores, formats, or languages
- How to research categories — for fiction and non-fiction
- How to research keywords — for fiction and non-fiction
- How to research keywords for your Amazon Ads
I'm an affiliate of Publisher Rocket, because I think it's a fantastic tool. So you can use my link, www.TheCreativePenn.com/rocket if you want to have a look or you can just go to PublisherRocket directly. If you buy through my link, I will receive a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
Transcript of the tutorial
[00:00:00] Hello creatives. I'm Joanna Penn. And in this video, I'm going to show you how I use Publisher Rocket for fiction and nonfiction to look at keywords categories and Amazon ads.
I'm an affiliate of Publisher Rocket, because I think it's a fantastic tool. So you can use my link, www.TheCreativePenn.com/rocket if you want to have a look or you can just go to PublisherRocket and find it yourself, but I would appreciate you using my affiliate link if you find this useful. If you buy through my link, I will receive a percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. So let's get into it.
This is publisher rocket, and of course, software changes over time, so it might look different when you have a look at it, but this is what it looks like as I record this.
Research different country stores, formats, or languages
First of all, you can change the market. So remember, this is for Amazon and you can change it to the various stores, USA, the UK store or the German store. And at the moment it supports [00:01:00] English and German languages.
So if you are publishing in these markets, then you can check your books there. You can also look at the various different formats as to whether you want paperback, Kindle, or audible. So I'm just going to stick with amazon.com. So there are lots of tutorials that you can watch in detail, but I'm going to just show you a few things that I use this for.
So first of all, categories. Remember when we publish on Amazon, when we self publish, we have to choose categories. Now you can choose a couple of categories in the publishing platform, but you can also email Amazon and add up to 10 categories per book later. So this is super useful to figure out what categories you want to go in. And remember, Amazon changes their categories over time, so it's worth revisiting.
This is a research tool for you to figure out where your books fit. So, I'm writing a travel [00:02:00] memoir at the moment. So I'm going to put in here ‘travel.' And what it will do is bring up a whole load of different things. It starts with audible because it begins with A, and you can see that there are different categories.
I'm just going to put in Kindle. What this does is essentially help me to see where my books could potentially go. So they're not going to go in children's non-fiction. If I scroll down, you can see there are a lot of different categories for travel. What's interesting is you can also look at the various different things here.
So there are many small categories where you can be number one in that category. Even if you like this one, for example, motorcycle travel, you could be 55000th in the store and you can still make it to number one. This is how many sales you need to make per day to rank number one. So if you really wanted an Amazon best seller, you can have a look [00:03:00] at these things to figure out where is a good category for you.
But remember, don't put your books in categories they don't belong. That's just really annoying for the reader.
So these numbers can actually help you figure out whether you want to put books in these categories for different reasons. I'm not looking at it for that reason, but it's up to you. So having scrolled down a bit, I can see here that this might be a good category.
I'm writing a pilgrimage, walking, travel memoir. So I could definitely put it in hikes and walks. Because it's Pilgrimage, it could go in religious. It could also go in solo travel. So there are a few categories that I could consider. And then what I can do is click check it out, and it's going to take me there.
What I can do is actually have a look at some of the other books that are in that category and figure out whether that is something that I want to put on my book.
Let's do fiction. Let's say action. [00:04:00] So my ARKANE thrillers are action-adventure, and here are some examples of where there are action-adventure categories for Kindle.
So literary fiction, action-adventure. It's annoying that it's under literary, but this is where it fits in the store. And here is women's fiction, action and adventure. I'm not in romance, so I wouldn't be in there, but again, so you can see that within these subgenres of romance and sci-fi and fantasy we've got fantasy action-adventure.
So these are much more competitive categories. You can see that to essentially rank number one in action-adventure, you have to be pretty high up in the store.
How I use this is I will copy and paste each of the categories that I might target and put them into a list. And then I email Amazon and say, hello, can you please add my books to these categories?
So another way to think about [00:05:00] categories is to actually have a look at the Competition Analyzer and books that are like yours.
So I'm going to use the Kindle only, and I'm going to use an author called James Rollins who writes action-adventure. And my ARKANE thrillers are quite similar. So this brings up a whole load of James Rollins' books.
And this one is his, I think that's the most recent one you can see here. It's got some other details. This has quite high prices, it's traditionally published, and it looks like the monthly sales are around 20 grand. That's pretty good, but again, big name, traditionally published author there.
But this is what I find useful. If I click See the categories, what it's going to do is show me where his books are in terms of categories.
And this is where you've got Kindle store. You've got books. So you can see that they're in a number of different things. I don't know why it's in Ghosts [00:06:00] but certainly, I can see why it's in military and thrillers and techno-thrillers and political thrillers and suspense. So if it's books, that's the paperback. And if it's Kindle, obviously that's the Kindle.
And so again, what I could do is copy and paste these into a list. And then that's what I can use to add those categories to my books.
Let's just do it with a nonfiction — solo walking. So this one's interesting, walking the Thames river path. I think that is similar in that I'm a solo woman doing a walk. This is more like it. Adventure travel, hiking, and specialty solo travel. Again, I will copy and paste these into my list and I'll keep doing research, having a look at each thing.
So I'm actually doing the Camino. So I would have a look at this one too. Again, obviously, these two are the things that it's in. I [00:07:00] probably could add that one, even though I wouldn't say it's an ‘exercise' book, but you can see how this works.
You do the research, get your list, then you email Amazon and you ask them to add your book to the various categories.
[You can email through author.amazon.com for your author name.]
You can also do other research, export the data, and all of that kind of thing.
So the next thing is to think about keywords. Now, remember when you self-publish, you need seven keywords, so this can be a good way to help you research it. So let's use Kindle and we'll just go with something in fiction.
We'll go with ‘vampire,' something quite a lot of people be using.
So here are some really interesting keywords. These are essentially what people are searching for on Amazon. So, ‘hot vampire next door' sounds interesting, but I like this ‘vampire god,' let's see what's happening with this.
So this is interesting. There's a reasonable amount [00:08:00] of searches. It's a very competitive search word. Again, you can have a look at what each of these things mean. If it's red, obviously it's going to be difficult to compete with, but you can see there's quite a lot of people writing in that as well.
But ‘Fred the vampire accountant' is interesting but obviously there are fewer searches.
What you can then do is click in and find more detail. So ‘vampire god' seems to have a couple of interesting things. This is a non-fiction book, the allure of the vampire in Western culture. That actually sounds really interesting.
You can click there again and see the categories. That's a nonfiction book on vampires. This ‘vampire god,' let's have a look at that. So again, click the categories and see where they are putting those books.
[00:09:00] What this also does is give you a whole load of keywords that you might consider.
If we go back to the keywords on vampire, what you can do is kind of scroll down and this can give you ideas for your writing. So ‘vampire apocalypse' actually sounds quite interesting to me.
‘Vampire baby romance.' I mean, there are some interesting books around that, for sure. So you can have a look on here. So, if you're writing a vampire baby romance. it's not a particularly searched term, but there's very low competition so, anyway, what you can do is use these.
Let's say you want this search term, you can copy and paste it, or you can use the export button to export the whole list, but then definitely go through and decide which ones are appropriate for you.
So let's do some non-fiction and we'll use ‘writing, since we're writers.
You can get some ideas around the various nonfiction [00:10:00] keywords. So let's say something like ‘creative writing.' There are not that many searches, to be honest, every month on that keyword.
‘Writing fiction' is more interesting. With my How to Write a Novel book, I will probably use ‘writing fiction' as a keyword, but you can see how many competitors are in that area.
So I hope you can see that this will enable you to figure out what are some good keywords for you to put on your books.
So as I'm just having a look at some more of these. This is interesting. This book is called writing monsters and this kind of stood out to me because that's got an average monthly earning of $30,000, which seems crazy. So I'm going to go look at what's going on there.
So as I suspected, this is the book I've heard of, Philip Athan's Writing Monsters and he's been on my podcast but I was like, ‘surely he's not making that much money', but if you scroll [00:11:00] down, you can see that actually what's going on is this is a LitRPG book, which is making over 150 grand a month , which is amazing. This is what's interesting about these types of books — you can see data behind the situation.
Publisher Rocket enables you to have a look at the different things that people are doing, and then that will help you with what you want to do for your own book in terms of categories and keywords.
Research keywords for Amazon Ads
Let's just look at the last thing, which is the Amazon Ads keyword search. So basically, if you want to use Amazon marketing services or Amazon ads, then you need to enter in various keywords into your ads.
So I'm just going to use Kindle. Let's use monsters.[00:12:00] What this will do is give you a list of keywords.
You can uncheck stuff or you can export the whole list, and then you can import that into your Amazon ads.
Don't just copy and paste the whole list. Go through things and be a lot more careful.
So ‘muscles and monsters,' might not be so appropriate.
This is obviously a specific book, so maybe I don't want that one, or maybe I do want that one. So I would suggest you go through the list. Don't just copy and paste the whole list, but this is not a tutorial on ads. [If you want help with ads, check out Mark Dawson's Ads for Authors course.]
I mainly use PublisherRocket for the keywords and the categories, and having a look at different books can obviously give you ideas for what to write if you want to do that too.
And if you go to my affiliate link, TheCreativePenn.com/rocket, you will be able to get started [00:13:00] right away.
There is a 30-day money-back guarantee and you can try it out. Dave and the team over at PublisherRocket are brilliant. So if you have any problems, they'll definitely help you out.
So I hope you found this useful and that it's given you an idea about how I use PublisherRocket for keywords and categories, and research in general for both fiction and nonfiction. Happy researching! Happy writing!
Cheryl Rodgers says
I bought Publisher Rocket a long time ago when it was still called KDP Rocket. I’m finally getting ready to publish my first 3 cozy mysteries, and need to look up my keywords and categories but forgot how to do it. All I needed was a short reminder of how to take advantage of this great software. As usual, Joanna, you have popped out another video at just the right time for what I need in my publishing career path. Thanks so much for always being on target.
Joanna Penn says
Glad you found it useful 🙂
Anitha Krishnan says
Thank you for this tutorial, Joanna! I’m about to release a new book and had been thinking of purchasing Publisher Rocket. Your endorsement gave me the push I needed to make the purchase. And good thing, indeed, because when I entered the keywords I had in mind, Publisher Rocket revealed how few customers were searching for those terms! Your post was very timely. 🙂
Joanna Penn says
I’m glad it came at the right time!