We’re going to talk a bit about one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made when publishing books – not validating my niche BEFORE throwing money and time into it.
I don’t know about all of you, but from the few dozen books I’m currently selling, maybe 80% of them don’t make enough money to even blink at, even with what I think is the best keyword research ever.
A self-published Amazon Kindle book could be available for sale in as little as 24 hours with Kindle Direct Publishing. This means you can see a return on investment within hours of being for sale online, and you never have to store any inventory to get started, unlike other online ventures like Amazon FBA.
To receive a printed book, you don’t have to go through the hassle of conventional publishing where you locate an agent, negotiate a book contract, and wait months or even years.
And even better…
Amazon allows you to retain more of your hard-earned cash, unlike agents and publishers who need you to recoup their loss first, pay them second, and you last.
Amazon’s Kindle Store has a vast audience with over 90 million Prime members in the United States alone, meaning you have all of these regular customers at your disposal when they’re going through their regular Amazon shopping.
Amazon’s KDP self-publishing service is completely free.
In a nutshell:
Self-publishing a digital OR physical book on Amazon is now possible with Kindle publishing.
So what’s the biggest issue here?
You can’t just “publish and hope” if you want your Kindle book to be a success and generate money. An action plan is critical.
Before you begin wasting time and money to publish a book, you need to sit down and validate your keywords first.
Keep listening to learn our 3 steps to verify you’re spending time on a niche that will actually make you your money back.
If you want millions of people to read your powerful words, you need to be certain that millions of people are already dying to read them.
Writing a book that no one wants to read is a waste of time.
That’s why it’s critical to do a thorough market analysis before deciding on a book topic. What three questions should you answer to accomplish this?
Are there books that are comparable? There is a strong chance you don’t have a decent concept if you can’t find a book, audiobook, or ebook like yours on Amazon.
On the other hand, if you see tens of thousands of competitors, this is a good sign this niche is flooded and it may be much harder to break in as a new author.
Do you have what it takes to compete? In order to get a sense of how well your book will sell, you need to check the market.
If the current top sellers have been around for years and years, this could be a sign that they have relied on their age and credibility for book sales and might be harder for you to break into the top 10.
Is there adequate interest in the subject? Make sure there is enough demand for the type of book you want to write before investing your time and efforts.
A three-step process is all that is required to get the answers you need.
Number 1. Find Your Category on Amazon.
To begin, you will need to search Amazon for a category that is relevant to your prospective book.
Even if your name isn’t Montel Jordan, this is how you do it.
Visit amazon.com and go to the Kindle Books section of the website by clicking on Departments, then Kindle E-Readers & Books, then Kindle Books.
After that, choose Best Sellers & More.
Click on the Best Sellers tab.
To access the Kindle Best Sellers option, scroll down until you find it, then click on it.
Click Kindle Best Sellers
Choose Kindle eBooks from the list of available options.
Decide which category and subcategory are most suited to your book concept.
After you have decided on a subcategory, the next step is to research the prospective competition in that space.
Repeat this for both paperback books and Audible. Don’t leave money on the table by neglecting to repurpose the same info into paperback and audiobook versions.
Number 2: Find similar topics in your category’s top 20 books
One of my first books was on gardening, but as I did some research, I found there were all types of subcategories I’d never even heard of.
Not only that, they were selling very well! This is a good way to expand on your niche for future books.
If there are no related books, start over. This might mean your idea is way too niche. Revisit your book ideas list and try to find something that you can pivot to in future books.
If you find comparable books, keep going.
Number 3: Check the best-selling rank of top books in your category.
You have to know how well your category’s books sell to determine if you can compete and if there are enough readers.
Through Amazon’s Best Seller rank, you can get a good estimate of how well a book sells.
Scrolling down a book’s product page reveals its Best Seller rank. It’s typically under Product Details.
The higher the rank, with #1 being the highest, the more copies it sells, but the tougher it is to rank. You must choose subcategories with a middle-of-the-road best seller rank that isn’t necessarily dominating Amazon’s highest sellers.
Above 1,000 will have high sales yet be competitive.
Less competitive rankings from 1,000 to 30,000 still offer good sales.
30,000 and below rankings are less competitive and have fewer sales.
Middle is best. You don’t want an uber competitive or low-selling category.
Target categories where you can make the top three, but don’t be disappointed in yourself if you’re able to crack top 10. That’s still an excellent achievement, especially if you’re able to do it without ad spend.
If you follow these tactics, you should reach the top three in medium-competition categories.
If your book is in the top three when you debut, its chances of making the Hot New Releases list will soar.
If you’re high on the list, your book will be noticed. Amazon will showcase your book above comparable ones.
People browse by category, but they skim the pages. More people will purchase your book if it’s higher in a category.
The appropriate categorization is key.
If you can’t make the top three in your original category, try a less competitive one, or at least be prepared to spend most of your money on ads. Which can actually still be profitable, but we can talk about that in a future episode.
So to recap, you need to first find the category for the niche you wanna tackle, then verify that there are at least a couple of books similar to your idea. Finally, you want to check the Best Seller Ranking to estimate how many book sales these get on average.
There are tools out that will give you some of this information without having to manually do the research, but organically is the best way. Tools may be faster, but they are not always accurate.
Trust me, I’ve used lots of them.
The main goal is to avoid taking on passion projects. Just because you might be personally interested in it doesn’t mean the market feels the same way. Always verify your topic isn’t too niche no one is looking for it, has similar keywords you can pivot to, and is selling well but not so well you’ll never be able to rank. If your competition is fierce, hold back. If rankings show no one is buying books on your topic, stay away.
Nothing you do will make people suddenly become interested in your topic. Listen to what the market research is telling you. Over time, you’ll understand what the data means and historically, you’ll have something to draw back on to further tweak your formula.
It’s not an exact science. This is just a launching pad.
Amazon changes their algorithm all the time, so you should be learning something new every day.
Anyway, we’ll be back next time with some new seeds to plant. Life as an entrepreneur means having to constantly adapt, and that means when it comes to how we make our money too.
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Til next time.