Friday, April 08, 2016

Self Publishing A to Z: GENRES

Welcome to the Trogloblog--for April, I'm participating in the epic A to Z Blogging Challenge, where Monday through Saturday, I'll be posting a letter-themed article about Self-Publishing...

Once you've written your novel, whipped up a cover, edited it, proofed it and finally have it to upload, you have a very important choice to make: What genre to list it in.

Twenty years ago, the choices would have been simple. Action, Western, Scifi, Fantasy, Romance, Comedy, Non-fiction... the bookstore only had so many categories. Today, with millions of books to choose from, readers can really narrow down what they're looking for.

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > War is a sub, sub category at Amazon. 

Not specific enough for you? No worries, Kindle also has  Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Military > Space Marine

Yep, a sub, sub, sub category.

Categories are a very, very important first step in the marketing of your book. Remember, readers won't buy your book if they don't know it exists. The way they find out about it is either by advertising or browsing. 

With ads, you (hopefully) target your prospective reader--sending ads to those folks who might be interested in your book. A Monster Erotica book is not going to sell well among those looking for a Middle Grade Mystery. Hard core space opera won't sell to those looking for Literary Period Romance. Successful advertising means knowing who to tell your book about.

Genre classification is just as important. If I feel like a good spy novel, I go to Kindle and sort through the categories until I hit the right sub-category. If I see "Servicing His Majesty" with a picture of some shirtless 007 wannabe on the cover, I not only won't buy it, but I'll get pretty disgusted with Amazon's failure to police categories and quit browsing.

Kindle Direct Publishing lets you pick two main categories for books you upload. That may not seem like a lot, but it's just the start. The next step in the process is to select Keyword Tags

In the above example, the choices circled put my anthology book in multiple categories beyond just the actual two categories I chose:

Here's another one where by using tags, I was able to get more than two categories:

Tags do affect categories. which means that more eyes will see your work--especially those first 90 days when it still appears in the "new" listings. 

Before you pick your tags, make a list of what kind of words describe your book: occult, action, military, spies, etc. Go through Kindle and look at those categories. As I write this post, there are 23,737 results for Kindle Store : Kindle eBooks : Literature & Fiction : Horror : Occult

Conversely, there are only 10,991 results for Kindle Store : Kindle eBooks : Science Fiction & Fantasy : Science Fiction : Military

By picking the tag "Military", less people will see my book. Of course, I ave seven tags I can list, so putting Horror, Occult, Science Fiction, and Military will put me before even more eyes. 

The point is, you get to choose what virtual shelf your book's going to appear on. Make sure you classify it right so people looking for it will actually see it. 

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