Ebook Success: Ad Copy, Part 2, Categories

Welcome back to Joan's Golden Rules for Ebook Success.

Originally, I had planned to publish this last Tuesday, on the 4 month anniversary of being in the ebook biz. I was too busy celebrating to get it finished. No, I'm just joking. I was trying to get my 6th ebook published.

As promised, here's my tally after 4 months--and 1 week--of being an Indie Author. I have 6 ebooks published now: 5 Romantic Comedy and 1 Nonfiction Inspiration.

My Ebooks

Just One Look

Still The One

JANE (I'm-Still-Single) JONES

The Trouble With Love

Romeo and Judy Anne

Written Wisdom

Drumroll, Maestro!

98,626 ebooks sold! (Possibly more since sales on some platforms are posted only through June. These are the verified ones.)

I know. You're shaking your head in disbelief. I can't believe it either! But it's true. My darling husband created an Excel spreadsheet for me to do a comprehensive count of units sold. I checked it twice. It's correct.

This may all end tomorrow, but I just want everyone to know I am having the time of my life because readers have embraced my writing. They--you?--are the ones who have kept me on the Kindle Bestseller lists. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

I have only one other thing to say about this amazing number of books: I wish I'd dived into the ebook publishing biz sooner! Now, let's get on with this part of Ebook Success.

Why I'm Sharing

I'm sharing what I know--first and foremost, because that's just me, and because I know how hard it is to make a living as a writer. I'm passing on what I have learned as well as how I have put that knowledge to work for me. I'm not an expert. I'm just a working writer who has had some success.

I hope this will help shortcut the process for you. I hope you can achieve your own brand of success and have fun doing it.

Previously Published

Ebook Success: Get Educated

Ebook Success: Write Business Plan

Ebook Success: Cover Art, Part 1

Ebook Success: Cover Art, Part 2

Ebook Success: Cover Art, Part 3

Ebook Success: Cover Art, Part 4

Ebook Success: Working With Cover Artists (addendum published the next day)

Ebook Success: Ad Copy, Part 1, Keywords

Here's my list of golden rules--called golden because I hope they will help you earn heaps of gold from your ebook sales.

Joan's Golden Rules

1. Get educated.

2. Write a business plan.

3. Choose cover art wisely.

4. Write professional ad copy.

5. Choose price wisely.

6. Give a smart sample.

7. Write a good book.

8. Customize Marketing and Promotion.

Ad Copy Components

1. Keywords or Tags

2. Categories

3. Author's Bio

4. Product Description


Today I'm going to talk about the Categories you choose for your ebooks. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Leave it up to me to make a mistake here!

Each digital publishing platform has their own categories though most are similar.

Kindle Digtial Publishing (KDP) -- 2 categories

Barnes & Noble PubIt Nook -- 5 categories

Smashwords -- 2 categories

XinXii -- 1 category with a sub-category

Before you upload your book and start filling out the publisher's information form, make sure you know which categories you'll use. If you've been doing your market research, as I previously recommended, and reading the top books that you see as your niche, then have you studied the categories in which they're positioned? If not, you should have.

On every digital publishing platform, select at least 5 books that are similar to yours in content and analyze their categories. If I'd done this, I'd have realized that categorizing my funny, sexy romantic comedies as Romance / Adult would place them in erotica--which they're not.

I didn't discover I'd made this mistake until I found my books on the UK Kindle site were listed as Erotica. That required editing the book information page and waiting quite some time for the UK listing to reflect the US page.

The problem with the wrong category is that people who read that particular type of book will be disappointed when they get your book and discover it's not what it's supposed to be.You also run the risk of their taking their displeasure out on you in the form of a negative review.

Then there are the readers who would love your book, but, because it's categorized wrong, they never even consider it.

Choose Wisely

It's very important to label your book correctly. Categorizing or labeling is why print bookstores were always against mixed genre books. The books confused them. They asked publishers' reps, "Well, where do I shelve that vampire or time travel romance? Speculative fiction, science fiction, fantasy, or romance?"

It's like blending peanut butter and jelly to sell in the grocery store. Do you put the jar on the shelf with the peanut butter or on the shelf with the jelly? If you're lucky, you put the jar in both locations and maybe with the bread display too.

Always use the maximum number of categories allowed.

With indie books, and the low prices that usually accompany an indie book, readers are much more willing to take a chance on a book. However, if they can't find your book because it's in the wrong category, you've lost a sale.

Next week I'll finish the Ad Copy section with a look at the Author's Bio and your book's Product Description.

Takeaway Truth

A rising tide floats all boats. I wish you magnificent ebook sales. If my advice helps, please let me know.

Note: If SlingWords helps you get ahead, please consider making a donation by clicking the button below, or perhaps subscribe, for only $.99 per month to the Kindle Edition of SlingWords. Thank you for your moral support and any monetary support you see fit to contribute.


  1. Congratulations on your awesome sales numbers, Joan!!!

    And thanks for all the great information in this series.

    I'm having the time of my life, too!!!


  2. Hello Joan and thank you for your continued help and advice for all us self-published authors. I've blogged about you today to remind my followers that you are the queen if wisdom.

  3. AnneMarie Novark ... Thanks so much. I'm following your series on your blog

    too. We should get together some time when the weather cools off and have a BIG party.

    Best wishes,

  4. Terry Callister ...

    Hi, Terry, thanks so much for the mention on your excellent blog

    I don't know about being the queen of wisdom. *LOL* right now I think I'm the queen of tech disaster since my PC is in ICU. I'm working on one of the planet's slowest laptops.

    Best wishes,
    Joan Reeves