Amazon’s mystical hidden category keywording

Progenitor1thumbI recently told a woman I’m dating that I’m an erotica author – just not which one.  Lo and behold, this sparked a fire of curiosity in her which has launched a grand quest for my identity.  She had a clever idea: Navigate into Amazon’s erotica section and get a list of all the sci-fi erotica authors, then sift through them all.

Well, that was an interesting concept, and I decided to see exactly how big the haystack she was looking for me in, was.  Lo and behold, I found out I wasn’t a sci-fi erotica author according to Amazon.

This was interesting to me.  I knew I’d never seen science fiction in the category drop-downs on the KDP site, and I’d entered “sci-fi” as one of my keywords on all my science fiction erotica books.  But, it had never made a difference, and I never saw my stories tagged as sci-fi.  Heck, those keywords never even got displayed.  As far as I could tell, they didn’t do much of anything, and I wasn’t paying much attention since I didn’t think I could change anything.

Wrong.  It turns out that Amazon has this secret list of category mappings, which work off of the keywords you provide in your KDP publisher page for each book.

Lindsay Buroker’s article does a wonderful job of listing some, or possibly all, of the magic keywords which will get you into the categories.  For instance, I mentioned above that I used “sci-fi” as a keyword in all of my sci-fi pieces.  Useful?  NOPE!  The bullshit fairy came along sprinkling her magic pixie dust, and that dust meant that “science fiction” is the keyword I’d need to use if I wanted my stories to appear in science fiction.  Or “pulp” will get you into action and adventure.  It’s more than a little ridiculous that these keywords are kept more or less secret, and that Amazon isn’t more liberal with the creation of categories.  For instance, I would sure love to a category for breeding erotica, so that those of us who write this particular censor-bait category can benefit from readers exploring our stories.  Alas, this is not available.  But at least I’m actually marked as a sci-fi erotica author now.

If you’re reading this, K… Hi.  Your prize is that autographed paperback I promised, and hopefully your family never stumbles across it. :)

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