16 Essential Steps Towards Self-Publishing Your First Book: Part 2 of 2

Key Learnings and Lessons From Successfully Getting My First Book Out Into The World (Numbers 9–16 with Screenshots and Links)

Travis W. King


For steps 1–8, check out Part 1 here!

The rankings on a friend’s self-published book about dance, therapy, and life. It’s called Breakdown: A Therapist’s Journey of Losing it and Finding it. This is an example of niche book categories where even minimal sales will keep you in the top 100–200 for rankings.

9. Choosing your Kindle categories

The prevailing logic and common advice when it comes to categories and self-published authors is to go as niche as possible. As you can see above, my friend Ali’s book about her trajectory from gymnastics to dance to becoming a therapist ranks pretty high in some rather interesting categories.

The more niche interests you can associate with your book, the more likely your book is to end up in the top 100 or top 10 of a particular category. Think—guidebook about Kazakhstan for dog owners on a budget.

According to a quick Google search, “For books alone, there are over 16,000 categories currently listed on Amazon.” I decided to set my own book’s categories as “Travel Writing, “Travel Biographies and Memoirs, and Adventurer & Explorer Biographies.”

I wanted to compete with Bill Bryson, Rolf Potts, and the other best-selling travel writers out there. I could have chosen something more specific about Alaska, Hawaii, or Utila (each place is prominently featured in my memoir) if I was really interested in being in the top 10 of a certain category rank. Maybe holding steady as a top 10 book about Utila would have helped sales overall, I’ll never know because I didn’t set it up that way.

Since the two years that NTAA has been published, it’s slid on the rankings between the top 10 (the highest point was during the presale, which you’ll learn about below) and the top 2,000 travel books in the world. It generally fluctuates between 200 and 500 most months, popping into the top 100 when it’s on the occasional sale.

Here are today’s rankings, Not That Anyone Asked…

Note: Tracking category…



Travis W. King

Traveling, writing, & working abroad for 10 years. Former Remote Year Dir. of Community. Check out my travel memoir—Not That Anyone Asked—at www.traviswking.com