How to Publish with KDP: Part Sixteen

Image courtesy of

Hello SErs. Harmony here.  As promised, here is  part sixteen in the post series dedicated to taking a step-by-step look at how to get your finished manuscript from your computer and on sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback.

If you’d like to take a look back at the previous posts in this series, please click on the links at the end of this post.

So, here’s Part Sixteen: How to get your categories and keywords right.

You enter your keywords and categories on the book ‘details’ page, which is also where you will have input your book title and author details, etc.

Because Amazon’s search algorithms take into account your book title and subtitle, you don’t need to repeat any of those words in your keywords choices.

Currently, you’re allowed to input a total of seven keywords and two categories.

Amazon, for whatever reason, doesn’t offer you the same choice of

category on your book details page as the customers see when they browse. The system is complicated and difficult for most of us to get a grip on. I haven’t yet been able to determine why this should be so.

Your details page will look something like this:

Top Tip: Aim to choose categories that contain the least competition as you can. The fewer the books that any particular category holds makes it easier for your book to reach the #1 spot. Here is where the subcategories can come in really handy. They allow you to narrow down your broad category as much as possible.

Of course, you have to stick to the genre/category that best reflects your story. But this is a good thing to keep in mind when you’re choosing.

Amazon bans certain keywords. For example, you can’t input ‘Stephen King’. This is because that search term gets hundreds of thousands of hits per day. So even though my book The Glade has been likened to a Stephen King book by many readers, I’m not allowed to tag it on my details page.

For Amazon’s information on choosing keywords, look HERE.

For Amazon’s information on choosing categories, look HERE.

As Amazon advises, some keywords work better than others. And the order in which you enter them is important. For instance, most readers would input ‘military science fiction’ in that order. So if you use all those words, you wouldn’t want to put in ‘fiction, military, science’.

Top Tip: Think of your book categories as browsing shelves in a physical bookshop.

Here’s what the categories look like on my sales page for my latest book Interludes 2. As you can see, the erotica and romance categories are full of competetion. I would have liked to choose something less populated, but I have to stay true to my book’s content. However, the second subcategory of ‘Romantic Erotica’ is less populated than the general catgegory of ‘Erotic Literature & Fiction’, so I get a higher ranking in that one. >>>

If you compare the categories I selected on my details page with the image above of the categories that actually display on the sales page, you will see that they are quite different. Which is part of what I mentioned earlier about how complicated the system seems to be.


Because of this mismatch, you may need to play around once your book has published so that you can tweak the subcategories until you get the closest to where you want to be. I wish I could make this a lot simpler for you, but this is my best shot.

That’s it from me for today. I hope you’ve found this post useful. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and I’ll see you all again on Friday, October 16th, where we’ll be taking a look at setting your book prices and distribution, etc.

Past posts in this series:


Part 1 (Software for Writing) :

Part 2 (General Formatting Necessities) :

Part 3 (Ebook Conversion) :

Part 4 (Paperback Formatting) :

Part 5 (Image Software for Making Book Covers) :

Part 6 A (Using Amazon’s Cover Creator Tool for eBook) :

Part 6 B (Making your own ebook cover to upload to Amazon) :

Part 7 A (Using Amazon’s Cover Creator Tool for Paperback) :

Part 7 B (Making your own PDF book cover to upload to Amazon) :

Part 8 (Setting up your KDP account) :

Part 9 (An overview of your KDP Dashboard) :

Part 10 (Uploading your eBook) :

Part 11 (Previewing your eBook) :

Part 12 (Editing your eBook):

Part 13 (Uploading your Paperback book):

Part 14 (Previewing your Paperback book):

Part 15 (Your Book Descriptions and HTML):

To make it easy to browse back and forth, I’ve set all links to open in new tabs. As this series progresses, I will update the links for you so that each post includes links to all past posts in the series.

©Harmony Kent 2020

(If you’re reading this post on or after October 16th, 2020, then here’s the link for Part 17 in the How to Publish with KDP series: Please note, the link won’t work until October 16th, 2020.)

53 thoughts on “How to Publish with KDP: Part Sixteen

  1. Thanks for this, Harmony. It’s the bit I find hardest (apart from the author blurb!) and I struggle with categories and key words until I feel like collapsing in a weeping mess in a corner. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You probably didn’t mean this to be humorous, but I read this and I just had to laugh.

    “Amazon, for whatever reason, doesn’t offer you the same choice of category on your book details page as the customers see when they browse. The system is complicated and difficult for most of us to get a grip on.”

    I will return to this series when I am ready to attempt to navigate the process. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on The Write Stuff and commented:

    If you’re anything like I am, and you’ve struggled for years with trying to get the right categories and keywords for your books, do check out Harmony Kent’s post on Story Empire today. It’s loaded with helpful information you’ll appreciate! Thanks, and thanks to Harmony for such a great post in a great series! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is something I’ve promised myself to master before my next book comes out, and to update on all my currently published ones. Thanks for such a detailed description, Harmony. I’m keeping it for sure. (One does have to wonder why they make this so complicated. It’s not like it’s unimportant, or anything!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think a lot of authors struggle with finding the right good key words. I have always heard to aim for the smallest niche as well, while sticking within your category. I’ve had good luck using “ghost fiction” for a number of my books.

    Sadly, I’ve noticed that Amazon will often change mine and place my books in categories were they don’t belong. Ugh!

    A helpful post, Harmony.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is very helpful, Harmony. I’ve gone to a couple of the links and now have homework ahead of me. Your knowledge base is extensive and I’m in awe!! Thank you for posting this information. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: How to Publish with KDP: Part Sixteen | Story Empire | Welcome to Harmony Kent Online

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