The Self Publishing Guide to Amazon Keywords Marketing Tip Monday

Posted July 25, 2016 by Julie in Marketing Tip Monday / 7 Comments

The Self Publishing Guide to Amazon Keywords Marketing Tip Monday

JA Huss

This is JUST A QUICK Marketing Tip Monday this week. I don’t usually publish a new tip every Monday because it takes me a while to make these posts. But I’ve been seeing people talk about Amazon keywords for a while, and maybe I’m doing it wrong but this one is a no-brainer that many new authors might not be aware of. So I’m gonna tip you this week, but it’s gonna be really quick because my book is due to the editor Friday morning and I need 25,000 more words.

OK, here we go. Ready?

Amazon has a list of keywords to use. They keep them here. (US)

Biographies & Memoirs Literature & Fiction
Business & Money Mystery, Thriller, & Suspense
Children’s eBooks Religion & Spirituality
Comics & Graphic Novels Romance
Erotica Science Fiction & Fantasy
Health, Fitness, & Dieting Teen & Young Adult
History Textbooks
LGBT Travel (UK)

Biography & True Accounts Romance
Crime, Thriller, & Mystery Science Fiction & Fantasy

This list isn’t mandatory but why you’d use any other keywords, I have no idea. Because if your book sells well enough these keywords will get you on a Top 100 list in genre categories. Sometimes it’s relatively easy to get on these lists. Like you could be ranking 15,000 in the store and be on many bestseller lists.

So instead of going crazy trying to find searchable keywords on Amazon (does anyone search by keyword? Because I’ve tried it and I get a bunch of shit results) just find your category in the list of genre keywords and use those.


For example, when I chose the keywords for Mr. Perfect I used Boss, comedy, office, workplace, new adult, alpha, mystery.

All of those except alpha, boss, and mystery are genre keywords Amazon uses to RANK YOU in their Top 100 lists. I stuck in alpha, boss, and mystery because why not? I figure they are basic enough and all apply in this case.

You can have seven keywords on Amazon KDP and five for Createspace. So you use them all.

Some categories are very competitive, so if you’re not a Top 100 seller you don’t want to choose Contemporary Romance as your category. You will never make a list on that category if you’re not in the Top 400 or very close to it. To rank in the main Romance category you have to be about #200.  So why waste your release ranking on a futile list you can’t break?

Choose something else. Most of the romance categories are very competitive, so this might not help new authors much. But try anyway. You never know where your book will land in ranking the day after release. Be ready for it. You can always change your categories, but I like to leave things where they are once I publish unless I have a real need to change meta data.

New Adult is fairly competitive, but not as much as it used to be. Coming of Age, a literary fiction category, is a much easier place to get a rank in the Top 100. Put both if you write new adult.

Romantic Comedy is very competitive right now. But Sports Romance is less competitive. So if you wrote a book about a surfer, but that baby in sports and add in the keyword specific to your category.

Romantic Suspense is also very competitive, but not as much as the big Contemporary Romance category. So use suspense as a keyword and as your category. Like for my Dirty, Dark, and Deadly series I have keywords assassin, spies, espionage and other things like billionaire, politician or military. You can also jump categories and put your romantic suspense in thrillers and mystery as the one of your main categories. Some of those are not that competitive at all. I mean, this is all relative, so take that with a grain of salt. But you can usually get on a less popular list such as Organized Crime or Vigilante Justice.


If you write science fiction, holy god, man. If you’re not using this method to pick keywords, you’re missing out. They have so many subgenres. And ranking in the Top 100 for genetic Engineering or First Contact, or Cyberpunk can get you extra eyeballs for a long period of time. The SF/F subgenre lists are very sticky.

Romance is not sticky. I can remember being happy to get on that list for a few hours, that’s how fast that list moves.

So if you’re not using these “Amazon approved” keywords, why not? You might think you have a better chance of putting in search terms you think fit your book, but again, does anyone find a book using a keyword search on Amazon? Maybe it’s just me. I only get shit.

It can’t hurt. I promise. These keywords are used by Amazon as subgenre categories for a reason. It’s what people use to search.

I have a lot of really good posts coming up for MTM, so if you enjoy my tips, just follow this blog. I don’t send marketing newsletters yet but that might change in a few months when I have things more organized. Follow the Blog is the easiest way to be notified of a new marketing post. You can do that using the form below.

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About JA Huss

JA Huss is the New York Times Bestselling author of 321 and has been on the USA Today Bestseller’s list 21 times in the past five years. She writes characters with heart, plots with twists, and perfect endings.

Her new sexy sci-fi romance and paranormal romance pen name is KC Cross and she writes novels and teleplays collaboratively with actor and screenwriter, Johnathan McClain.

Her books have sold millions of copies all over the world, the audio version of her semi-autobiographical book, Eighteen, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award and an Audie Award in 2016 and 2017 respectively. Her audiobook, Mr. Perfect, was nominated for a Voice Arts Award in 2017. Her audiobook, Taking Turns, was nominated for an Audie Award in 2018. Five of her book were optioned for a TV series by MGM television in 2018. And her book, Total Exposure, was nominated for a RITA Award in 2019.

She lives on a ranch in Central Colorado with her family.

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7 responses to “The Self Publishing Guide to Amazon Keywords Marketing Tip Monday

  1. Martha Cavolt

    I find that your use of search words returns you shit. I never use search words to look for books. But in the beginning I did and got shit. Now I look for Authors or just use my email updates from Amazon. I pre order books from all my favorite authors so i really don’t run out to often on reading material. Good luck and love your books!