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If you're a self-published author, your book is probably on Amazon.
And why wouldn't it be? Amazon is a powerful marketplace for one huge reason: people only go there to shop. No one wanders around Amazon like they're in a used bookstore, telling every employee that they're "just here to browse." If someone is on Amazon, their credit card is in hand (or even saved on the site), and they're ready to spend!
On any given product page, consumers can see a ton of information about the item. Think about what you look for when you want to make an Amazon purchase: the item's description, the specs, the number of ratings, the reviews, the Q&As from other buyers, and more. All of these things influence whether the consumer buys the item or not. Therefore, as the seller of an item--in this case, your children's book!--you want your Amazon product page to have as much positive info as possible, so that customers feel confident in pressing "buy now."
For books sold on Amazon, there are extra noteworthy pieces of information that can show up on the product page: banners. These little golden graphics below a book's title can designate a book as a "#1 New Release," "Best Seller," or "#1 Best Seller." That additional visual aid can draw in even more customers--if Amazon has statistics that say a book is "#1," why wouldn't you want to buy it?
But understanding exactly what makes a book a "#1" is a little more difficult. Luckily, we're here to break down the difference between a #1 New Release and #1 Best Seller on Amazon, what exactly those mean for you and your book, and how to increase your chances of getting one (or both!) of them.
Amazon book banners are decided by categories
On Amazon, readers can find books in particular genres and topics thanks to categories. Some categories include "Historical Fiction," or "Cookbooks," or "Romance"--like sections of a library! These categories have subcategories, which are more specific, like "US History," or "Japanese Cuisine," or "Cozy Romance."
As an author, you pick two categories for your book when you publish it on KDP. Then, according to KDP, they use your chosen selections and additional keywords to categorize your book on the site. This is important because each category has a #1 New Release and #1 Best Seller at any given time.
So, without further ado...
What is a #1 New Release?
A #1 New Release is a book that is starting to get attention in its category close to the release date.
Your book is eligible for this badge for the first 90 days after publication. Within those 90 days, Amazon will monitor your book's activity versus the other books in your category. If your book has the most activity in your category, it gets that #1 New Release badge!
Does the word "activity" seem broad to you? It is--which could work in your favor. "Activity" doesn't just include sales, but also traffic to your product page. That means that if a ton of people visit your product page, stay on it for a while, click around, or share the link, you could get the #1 Release badge without having sold a single book yet!
What is a #1 Best Seller?
A #1 Best Seller banner indicates that your book sells enough to become #1 in that category. In other words, it's currently outselling all other books in its category.
This label is difficult to get to and maintain, but to give yourself the best chance at earning it, put your book in specific, relevant categories. For example, an alphabet book has a much better chance of getting a #1 Best Seller banner in:
➡️ Books < Children’s Books < Early Learning < Basic Concepts < Alphabet
Rather than in one very broad category, such as:
➡️ Books < Children’s Books
The broader the category, the more competition your book faces. The more competition, the more books you need to sell to get to #1. And you're not just competing against other self-published authors: you're competing against traditionally published books, too. While it's totally possible to have a successful, profitable career as a self-published author (just like I did!), it's unlikely you'll sell more books than mega-popular authors like Mo Willems or Sandra Boynton. So to get that bestseller banner, skip the broad categories, find those specific, relevant ones, and market, market, market!
How do I find the best categories for my book?
Now that you know the importance of specific categories, you're probably wondering how to decide which categories to use for your book. Luckily, we know of an amazing resource that helps you research, analyze, and choose the the categories that will help your book sell.
This life-changing (or at least book sales-changing!) marketing tool is called Publisher Rocket. Publisher Rocket has allllllll the Amazon analytics info you need in one place. One of its most powerful features shows every. single. category that Amazon has, and reveals exactly how many copies you'd need to sell to claim those Best Seller banners.
We know that broad or inaccurate categories can be the reason your books aren't selling. To prevent that, you could spend tens or hundreds of hours researching keywords, categories, and competition yourself... Or you could let Publisher Rocket do the work for you in an instant. I know which one I prefer!
Did you know…
You can have your book in up to ten categories? When you upload your book to KDP, you can only select two BISAC codes, but if you email KDP, they'll add more categories!
Go forth and prosper, author!
Now that you know the meaning behind these popular Amazon book banners, you can go work on getting them for your own book! In the meantime, don't forget that we're here to help you write, prep, polish, and sell your future bestselling children's book.
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