25 min read (6,193 words)
Note: This post is a reprint – with slight edits – of an “email series” I sent to paid KDSPY users. Hence, the tone is a little faster and punchier throughout. This does not degrade the valuable insights contained within. Read it. Bookmark it. Implement.
If you’re reading this, I’m going to make a couple of assumptions:
(if you’re a fiction author, you will get no benefit from this).
1. You’re new to self-publishing and looking for “non-fiction” book ideas to write – where you can actually make an income…
2. You’ve been in the trenches for some time, but you’re struggling to sell any meaningful volume of books.
If that describes you – you’re in the right place.
Here’s a visual idea of what we’ll be covering:
Download a PDF version here
(opens in a new window).
Table of Contents
Step 1: Validate – Validation of your book idea based on proven – definitive – sales volume “data”.
Step 2: Identify – Identification of a topic in a (problem-based) niche market (pocket of people) within your validated market.
Step 3: Persuade – How to establish empathy with your readers in order to make your book more compelling.
It goes without saying that entering markets and genres that you have an interest in is rather, well, critical – IMO.
And so is making an income, right?
And, yes, most people’s interests may not align with profitable book topics when doing your research.
So, how do we balance the two?
Well, you just have to keep digging to find something that “matters” to you and is proven to show DEMAND.
I’ve tried the whole entering markets and niches for profit’s sake, and while it’s exciting to get your money back after the initial launch and then ride the profits…
It’s rarely as clear-cut as that.
It can easily lead to overwhelm, loss of direction, and the big “S”…
Been there. Done that. Not fun.
The other downside?
You’re reliant on one platform: Amazon.
You have to constantly churn out books to grow – and in some cases, maintain – your income. In my opinion, that doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) enter multiple niches and genres.
But, to save your sanity…
I recommend you build out a “business” in one market FIRST.
By that, I mean a “real” business:
- Multiple books in the same market.
- A website/blog.
- A lead capture mechanism.
- Backend products and courses.
- Even offering; coaching and consulting.
Writing books for a living is not a business – It’s a revenue stream. A revenue stream that can vanish in an instant.
When you hit your income goal in one market – by all means, build another business in a totally unrelated industry.
But keep the “focus” in the early days of a new venture … otherwise, you’ll do nothing but tread water continuously.
You are setting income goals, right?
If not, do it now.
Spend some time away from the computer; get clear on *what* you want and *why* you want it.
It’s crucial. Maybe you want:
To earn $10,000 per month to quit your day job…
To spend more time with your family…
To buy a new house…
To travel the world…
Whatever it is, get clear on it.
Saying you want “sell more books” or to “earn a million dollars a year” with no clear reason behind it … is just a dream.
Aligning it with a reason “why” (…and how, but we’ll get to that) gives your brain the “hook” to work its magical prowess and bring your goals into reality.
So, note down “what” you want (income goal) and “why” you want it (emotional reason that’ll spark action).
Put that sucker next to your computer so you see it every damn day.
BTW – the “how” starts tomorrow when we validate your market(s).
List as many ideas of niche markets that you have, at least, a “small interest” or “experience” in.
Everyone tells you to follow your passion.
Big mistake, IMO.
If you’re like the 70% of people (random number) that don’t know what their passions are –– or they don’t align with anything that’ll make you a living, then you’re just wasting time and money.
But – and I’ve said this before – when you START making money in a niche that you have, at least a small interest in…
It’s pretty easy to become passionate about the subject, believe me.
For that reason, spend some time away from the computer and…
list, list, list.
Write down everything you can think of that interests you in some small way. To spark ideas, think of the books and magazines you read, your prior experience (jobs), what people come to your for advice about, where you see yourself providing the most VALUE to people, etc.
Whatever it is, put it on the list.
Because, tomorrow, we need to VALIDATE which ones are going to be, well, “fruitful”, shall we say.
There’s nothing more frustrating than spending weeks and months writing a book and/or building a business that doesn’t produce any “coin”.
That’s the quickest way to doubt your ability and “quit”.
And I don’t want that for you.
You’ve never had a greater opportunity in front of you.
Global e-commerce from a $500 computer in your home would have been laughed at just 20+ years ago.
Amazon sells 1.2m Kindle books a day.
Linkedin acquired the e-learning platform lynda.com for $1.5 billion in 2015.
E-learning was quoted back then as a $107 billion industry.
Think you can get a slither of that when you create a real business with your book(s) outside of Amazon?
Oh, what a wonderful thing.
Step 1: Validate
Today, we shift gears. If you missed the email (preface) I sent yesterday, read that first.
The subject of which was:
[KDSPY] Your “what” and “why” (Step 0 of 3)
Before reading on – if you’re serious about this – please follow the steps in the previous email and make a note of your “what” and “why”.
You’ll also want to have a list of potential niche markets to VALIDATE.
Ready to move on?
Validation of a book idea is arguably the most important step before you ever think about writing a book.
Like a house, if your book is built on a weak foundation … it’ll likely flop.
That foundation comes down to two things:
1. Data: previous buyers who’ve “voted” with their credit card
2. Empathy: Gaining a deep understanding of your target audience
We’ll talk about “Empathy” later, for now, let’s talk about “data”.
One of my earliest mentors online said something that never hit home to me in the beginning – but boy do I wish I took it seriously.
He said, “when starting any new business (and this is applies to books, too) always sell what’s already selling.”
Only recently have I heard similar quote(s) from two of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet today:
- Tony Robbins
- Russell Brunson
(If you don’t know Russell Brunson, then he started a software business a few short years ago that will turn over $100,000,000+ in sales this year.)
Here’s the point:
The biggest mistake I made – and still see people making – when releasing new books was validating ideas with Google keyword research alone.
Sure, Keyword research has its place, but not for validating demand.
You want people to vote with their “credit cards” not search volume.
(… this may not be the greatest example, but it just hit me – so let’s roll with it.)
In the UK, we love our takeaway of fish and chips. Not a fan personally. But, it’s “the” thing to get on a Friday night. Greasy deep fried fish and chips.
The most popular fish in order – cod, haddock, and rock.
If I wanted to open a new fish and chip shop in the area, and I tried to reinvent the wheel and offer – pollock, skate, and tilapia…
I’d undoubtedly lose out on sales to a competitor and go bust pretty quickly.
Obvious to some, maybe.
But, so many authors and entrepreneurs want to reinvent the wheel and think if their idea is already taken, they need to come up with a new one (don’t fall into that trap).
Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, competitors (and lots of ‘em) are a very, very good thing – as it proves DEMAND.
Don’t be scared of competitors.
Just stand out.
Offer a new twist on an existing idea.
(We’ll talk about that another time…)
If all you want to do is make $50 a month for every book you release and you plan on releasing 100 books on different topics and relax with all your royalties coming in …
Then all I can say is, “Good luck”.
By all means, ignore my advice and look for ‘under-served keywords’ to target for your next book.
If however – you took my first email seriously – and you want to write on topics that serve a market that matters to you – with the ability to expand on that book by offering additional products and services …
Then welcome to the inside. The water is warm, my friend.
So, if you take away anything from this email, make sure it’s this:
Let people vote with their credit cards, not keyword searches.
So, how do we do that?
The Amazon bestsellers.
Amazon sells 1.2 million books per day. There’s no better data available on what sells as they have a little thing called – The Best Seller Rank.
This is essentially a unique number assigned to each book which updates hourly and correlates with book sales.
The lower the number, the more books that are sold.
Once you know how to decipher that number – and what it means in terms of sales, then modelling the bestsellers…
And entering markets and niches by writing books that will actually make some money becomes a lot easier to identify.
Every Kindle book is assigned multiple categories by Amazon, our job in validating markets is to scan these categories and sub-categories to look for popular niches.
However, scanning hundreds of categories (did you know Kindle has 38k categories in the USA alone?) can take a looooooong time.
You know all this, that’s why you purchased KDSPY.
What we are essentially doing here – is looking at DATA.
We’re specifically looking for promising “top-level” categories to validate a market.
For me, I like to see that the last book on a given category page (Ie: book no.20) is under a bestseller rank of 20,000.
I also like to see that at least half the books on the first page have at least 50+ reviews.
That’s a good sign of some healthy data on “how” people are voting with their credit cards.
Then, we’re free to drill down into the sub-categories to look for more “specific” niche topics to write around – allowing us to compete and sell.
It goes without saying – writing a general book, such as:
How To Lose 30 Lbs In 30 Days
Would no longer appeal to anyone as it’s too broad and overused…
Pretty obvious, right?
So, we need to dig into the sub-categories and see what “specific” topics are showing demand.
Let me try and shape your POV:
Imagine overlooking a stadium of 50,000 people. All those people are interested in ONE thing. The one topic/category you’re browsing.
Let’s take, for example, SELF-HELP.
So, let’s make a couple of assumptions. Here we have 50,000 people in this stadium looking for Self Help stuff. I know I can help them if I just knew precisely what they would buy.
Ie: what they truly WANT … More on that shortly.
A quick look at the main category shows how incredibly popular this market is – with books selling 1000s of copies.
✔ The first 20 books are all under a < 10,000 SalesRank. Check.
✔ At least half the books have over 50 reviews. Check.
✔ I’m interested in the topic. Check.
Bang! I’ve just “validated” a market. (don’t overthink this stuff).
Now … we need to identify what “specific” sub-niches and topics are standing out and see where we can gain an entry with our book.
Tomorrow we’ll dig into just that.
Hope this is proving useful.
Step 2: Identify
Some great feedback on yesterday’s email, again… Just a heads-up – today is a long one.
No getting around that, I’m afraid.
BTW, I had an email last night from a customer in Northern California.
If you are in that area – my heart goes out to you.
It seems the wildfires over there have already claimed 40 lives, and parts of the state are looking like a total war zone.
How people must be feeling coming back to “nothing” is incomprehensible.
My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family if you’re in the midst of the devastation. A few short weeks ago it was the flooding in Texas. Now, this.
What is going on!
With a saddened demeanour, let’s get onto today’s lesson.
This is part two.
If you missed my prior emails, please search your inbox for ‘em:
[KDSPY] Your “what” and “why” (Step 0 of 3)
[KDSPY] Validate (Step 1 of 3)
In Step one (yesterday), we talked about the two “broad” foundations:
1. Data: previous buyers who’ve “voted” with their credit card
2. Empathy: Gaining a deep understanding of your target audience
So, by now, you should have “validated” a broad market that interests you based on “data” (people voting with their credit cards).
Let’s move forward with yesterday’s category example – Self-Help.
This category is shifting a serious amount of books. It’s competitive.
So … finding a sub-niche and standing out from the competition is critical.
Following on again from yesterday – I want to reshape your POV somewhat:
Think of yourself as a detective.
You’re overlooking a stadium of 50,000 people who are all looking for “Self-Help” stuff.
(All these weird examples will make sense – I promise – just go with me, ok :))
Our job as the detective?
Identify the pockets of people that have “specific” needs, wants, struggles, fears, hopes, and dreams (desires) … whatever they may be.
In any market or category, there are potentially hundreds of them that exist.
As the detective, we need to:
1. Identify (categorize)
2. Empathize (understand)
Then, you’re free to switch hats, so to speak, and, as the author, we need to:
3. Attract (get the click)
4. Persuade (get the sale)
Your book cannot create desire.
We need to “attract” our target audience that already has these hopes, fears, and dreams of a solution.
(We’ll talk even more about 2,3 & 4 in the next lesson).
All we’re doing here is digging into sub-categories.
We want to look in every sub-category under Self-Help (your chosen market)…
… and identify all the “specific” needs and desires that are popular by looking at the similarities in the book titles.
Obviously, I can’t show all these examples as this email would be 20 pages long.
Imagine, however, the stadium broken up into multiple sections – north, south, east, and west.
Within each are even more segments. Top tier, middle tier, lower tier.
Our job is to place all the people who need and want similar solutions into the same location. (they’ll feel better being around people that understand ‘em :))
That way, we’ve narrowed down our target audience and…
… can more easily understand their challenges and get to the root of their desires – as now, we have a smaller segment of people to work with.
Makes sense, right?
So … after all that segmentation, we stand back and observe.
We’ve identified a group who’re all deep in conversation with each other.
A segment that seems to really stand out …
… interestingly, it’s not the largest group, but it certainly has the most activity going on with people discussing their particular problems.
Let’s go over and see what they’re talking about.
Hmmm, all these people are talking about Stress Management.
Self-Help >> Stress Management
A category that has “three green lights” in KDSPY, and…
… plenty of reviews (hint: discussions).
(And no, you don’t need to find all 3 green lights, this was just an example that worked in our favour. If your market is showing as too competitive, just keep digging to find a couple of categories with the most potential/popularity and the least competition).
The books all have good sales volume.
And … based on the last book on the first page (BSR of 20,334) we only need to sell six copies per day to get a first-page listing here and overtake that position.
We’ve found a sub-category where we can compete.
But – here’s where most people stop.
They’ll take the keywords in the book titles and model their own based on those keywords and the word cloud in KDSPY. (I’ll spare you all the screenshots).
WAIT! – our detective hat is not ready to come off yet.
Just modelling a book title and not “empathising” with your target audience and understanding their real why (desires) is why most books fail.
There are potentially many reasons why people are looking for stress management.
We need to dig further.
In our stadium example – we’ll hang around these people and listen in on their discussions to see what further segmentation is possible.
A quick look at the word cloud shows some similarities in the top twenty books:
So, first, let’s make some initial assumptions:
Productivity: This seems to point to the fact that people feel they are not getting enough done – maybe in their work/business lives – and it’s causing them stress.
Procrastination: Maybe this is a result of overwhelm – which leads to procrastination. Then, we get nothing done, and the cycle leads to stress on a massive scale.
Discipline: In a similar vein to procrastination, if we feel overwhelmed, we often drift and lose discipline in our lives and daily routine.
Mindfulness: This seems to point to the fact that people have so much “head junk” and need to quieten their minds to feel normal again and get on with their life/business.
Let’s summarize for clarity:
* In our stadium, we’ve segmented people from “Self-Help” into multiple locations all with the “similar” struggles, needs and wants. (sub-categories). * We noticed the “Stress Management” sub-group in deep discussion, and interestingly, it wasn’t the largest of the group’s (popular with low competition). * As the detective, we’ve heard the conversations and identified the broad topics of this sub-group (similarities in the titles – word cloud).
Now – our job is to listen even more closely (dig deeper) and identify – in their own language – the “emotional hot buttons” in each of the topics.
The specific reasons why they are stressed.
To gain an understanding (empathy).
Armed with that knowledge, we can “more effectively” offer them a unique (not always possible) and specific solution – that get’s attention.
Let’s brainstorm first, and play around with those assumptions above.
Are these people stressed because they have such busy work lives, with so much on their mind, an ever growing to do list, no effective time management solution …
…and it’s inevitably leading to overwhelm, resulting in procrastination and stress?
Maybe the stress is driving them so mad – along with getting nothing done – because their brain is constantly “on the go” thinking about all the things they have to do…
… that they end up searching for mindfulness techniques to gain some peace of mind and clarity?
Maybe … right?
There could be many more specific reasons, too.
But they are all “assumptions” at this point.
Take a notepad, whiteboard, index cards, whatever …
Write down all the assumptions you have about your target audience.
This exercise helps really train you to empathize with your audience.
At this point, we can use Keyword research (Amazon Kindle Store) to help craft these assumptions by looking at the specific search strings people enter on Amazon.
We do this with “Amazon Suggest”.
For example, you type in:
(… obviously, these are the keywords you’ve identified for your market).
Type them into Amazon … then you’ll see the suggestions, ranked in order of popularity as to what people are searching for in the Kindle store.
These specific searches can yield golden insights when forming assumptions.
Our goal (tomorrow) is to “back up” those assumptions.
So – we’ve segmented the stadium and placed our sub-group in one location, so we can easily approach them for more insights. (tomorrow).
For now, just write what comes to mind.
We’ll listen in (not literally) on the conversations tomorrow to back up our assumptions and improve upon them.
* TIME OUT *
Many people make the mistake of “blindly” using keywords from other book titles and stuffing them into their own. Or writing books and titles solely to get ranked for *one* under-served keyword.
Doing this is like shooting fish in a barrel. In some cases, there’s nothing wrong with using keywords in your title … but it has to be in context.
It has to be compelling.
It has to get attention.
Without empathy – your title and sub-title (hook) will not attract … and your book description will not persuade your target customer why they should listen to you.
This is what separates books that sell from those that flop.
To gain it (empathy) we use a little something called – Qualitative Analysis.
It seeks to put you in your customer’s shoes.
Only then can you craft what I like to call your “Influence Mechanics.”
A book title that gets ATTENTION…
A book cover that gets the CLICK…
And a book description & TOC that gets the SALE.
Desire is the fuel.
Empathy is the spark.
Qualitative Analysis is our weapon.
Tomorrow we enter the battle (for attention).
TIP: When making assumptions about your target customer, don’t forget to look at what “other” books they buy, too. You can do this by looking at all the books in your chosen sub-category and looking at the “people also bought” section of a Kindle book page. Before the next lesson (tomorrow), make sure you finalize your topic selection by identifying a sub-category where you want to compete.
Hope this is all proving useful.
Step 3: Persuade
Here it is – the final lesson in the “3-steps to IDENTIFYING profitable Kindle niches and bestselling book IDEAS”.
This email is 2,656 words. I make no apologies about that.
Market research is either a skill you want to master – or it’s not.
Only you can decide.
Reading this email assumes you’ve already read the prior emails.
The subject(s) of which were:
[KDSPY] Your “what” and “why” (Step 0 of 3)
[KDSPY] Validate (Step 1 of 3)
[KDSPY] Identify (Step 2 of 3)
If that’s not the case … this email will not make sense.
Please ensure you search your inbox for the above before proceeding.
Over the next several days – if I get enough feedback – I’ll be going through any questions you have and “amending” these lessons.
Writing these emails in one sitting comes with obvious mistakes and areas where things could be, well – explained with more clarity.
That’s why feedback is important. (more details in the p.s.)
Your questions will help shape these lessons into a “clarified framework”.
If I get at least 50 responses, I’ll improve this for everyone.
At this stage, you’ve done two broad things:
- You’ve VALIDATED a broad market you have an interest in. A market that’s voted with their credit cards and thus has potential.
- You’ve IDENTIFIED a sub-category (narrowed down the market into a niche) of people you want to help (serve) with a solution.
Within that subcategory, you’ve “segmented” the audience even further based on specific DESIRES – needs, wants, problems, etc.
Think of these as the END RESULT.
What specific “end result” is your target audience looking for?
Well – you not only need to find out – you need to understand why they’re looking for this end result.
As in – what emotions are they feeling?
If you understand what MOTIVATES them to SEEK their solution (end result) in the first place – and what language they use – you’re in a better position to more effectively communicate, resonate, and articulate your unique solution.
I hope so…
Because this level of analysis is what your competitors are NOT doing.
There’s a reason I put this quote in the mindmap:
Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening my axe” – Abraham Lincoln.
Because it’s a level of Analysis (Qualitative Analysis) that most authors and business owners don’t know about or understand how to perform “effectively”.
Yesterday, based on the segments of your “narrowed” target audience, you should have – if you followed the lesson – crafted a few assumptions.
Today, you need to CONFIRM and/or amend those assumptions.
What’s the best way to do that with “Qualitative Analysis”?
In order of effectiveness:
- Face to face conversion – allows you to ask multiple questions to capture their language, emotions, struggles and required end result(s).
- Feedback question polls – ie: What’s the No.1 struggle you have with “X” – you get to capture the one thing they need help with.
- Targeted forums – allows you to spy on the popular conversations and dig for the needs, wants, struggles, emotions, and language used.
Don’t worry – I know what you’re thinking…
I don’t want to talk to anyone…
What the hell are feedback polls…
Slow down, cowboy.
I wanted to give you an education in the MOST effective form of QA.
If you go to this level, you’ll gain insights you’ll not get anywhere else.
Fortunately, most niches have targeted forums where our audience hangs out and – all archived – what exists is a treasure trove of INSIGHTS.
Struggles, dreams, hopes, and aspirations all waiting for you to capture the voice of your target audience and use it in your “marketing”.
Your book’s “Influence Mechanics”.
All you’re doing, in summary, is gathering INSIGHTS about what your target audience “wants”. Then capturing their language and emotions to offer them a book that’ll RESONATE above those available in the Kindle store.
I hope you see now “why” going into ONE market (initially), is important.
There’s a level of market understanding that’s needed to COMPETE.
For the long term.
You cannot reach that level unless you’re involved, focused and committed to that market and tailoring solutions “specifically” to them.
So … back to our example.
Yesterday, we chose “stress management” as a subcategory where we can compete. (hopefully, you’ve chosen yours).
We identified some popular words (not always possible) in the bestseller titles:
Now – you “could” take an in-depth look at the top five to ten books and see what they are doing … in order to model your own book with a unique angle.
And while that “may” allow you to compete, you don’t get the whole picture.
You don’t understand why those books are selling.
From our stadium example (previous lesson) we want to “listen in” to the discussions and “capture” their real problems, struggles, desires, and emotions.
Targeted Online Discussion Forums
Go to Google and search for:
In our example, we’ll search for “Stress Management Forum”.
The 2nd result – we see this:
Hmm, not a typical forum per se, but here we have 1,898 posts and 2,532 members who are all posting about their struggles.
Say it with me – G.O.L.D.
Now, this is one example for the sake of a twenty-page email, but you’ll want to mine your specific targeted forum(s). (Not just one).
Here’s what we want to discover:
- Who – who are your ideal target audience? (old, young, male, female).
- What – what are they looking for? (needs, wants, solutions).
- Why – why they want the solution? (capture the language, emotion).
SIDENOTE: You may want to gloss over the WHY – it’s probably not something you’ve considered before. Well, the WHY is the most powerful driving force behind human behavior. It explains and justifies pretty much every – often subconscious – decision (book purchase) we make.
All we’re doing is capturing these INSIGHTS into a notepad, word-doc, spreadsheet, Evernote … whatever.
Again, for sake of space, I will paste a few insights from our example (you want many).
- “I am just really overwhelmed with work, school, my son etc.”
- “I am a student …. find it difficult to budget my time effectively”
- “I do not always get enough sleep”
- “go about my daily activities with background feelings of anxiety/fear”
- “so stressed it has been affecting my sleep”
- “struggling with feeling overwhelmed by my life a lot”
- “Struggled with depression around 11 years and anxiety alongside it.”
- “I’m a supervisor, everyone coming to me for assistance ev. second”
- “Being an introvert gets me depressed most time”
- “job became so overwhelming this past year”
- “stressful thoughts running thru my mind can’t stop it or go to sleep”
- “anxious, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach”
Can you see how powerful this is?
You start to “empathize” with your audience from their POV. In their shoes, what makes them “tick”, what their MINDSET is like.
There are no “rules” for this –– it’s just important that you do it.
What you gain will be different for every market and situation.
You can go as in-depth with this as you like. The more, the better (insights). At a minimum, I recommend you capture at least 200 (very selective) responses.
It doesn’t take as long as you’d think, either, and it’s quite fun being the detective and brainstorming solutions. Promise.
Now – if you want – you could segment these insights into a spreadsheet with three columns for your who, what and why.
Then, analyse and start to empathize.
For the sake of endless examples, here’s a summary.
- Who (title) – students, working mum’s, executive job roles…
- What (label) – depression, overwhelm, anxiety, fear, time management…
- Why (consequence) – lack of sleep, introverted, sick feeling, endless thoughts…
…you want a lot more examples than this – and you also want to capture the entire sentences (language/emotion).
TIP: When looking at forums, some platforms will allow you to sort the discussions (threads) by the “post count”. This can give you a great insight on the “most popular” discussion topic(s) for your book idea(s). BONUS TIP: Once I’ve collected these insights, I, personally, like to START writing bullet points “right away” to resonate with these struggles for use in my book DESCRIPTION later.
* How to remove that anxious, “sick feeling” in the pit of your stomach when anxiety becomes too much – WITHOUT drugs or nasty side effects.
* Racing thoughts? Here’s how to INSTANTLY put yourself in a “state of bliss” by mastering the power of this secret ANCIENT meditation technique.
* 5 simple ways to deal with overwhelm in your job! (these are easy to implement … and No.2, will get your boss of your back INSTANTLY.)
They took me literally one minute each to write.
The more you have, the BETTER.
Not all will be used. Obviously, you’ll need to choose the ones in context to the “specific” topic/audience you’re targeting.
However, you’ll want to add these to an “ever-evolving swipe file” for use in later books and marketing material.
So, how did you do with your assumptions?
In our example – from yesterday – I think I did quite well, apart from one insight that I never considered – Students.
The board was flooded with university students who were stressed with their exams and time management.
Personally, I don’t like to enter markets that have no disposable income (students) but it’s worth investigating.
Because … we’re looking to identify “multiple” ideas for books. Why settle on one when – over the course of time – we can launch several in this niche.
That’s why this research is invaluable – you only have to do it ONCE.
A quick look at:
Teen & Young Adult > Education & Reference > Study Aids
Shows that, indeed my assumption is correct.
Poor sales. No potential. It appears from digging a little deeper that students would prefer to spend their money on video games, harry potter books etc.
Not anything related to their education or mental well-being 🙂
So, let’s stick with what we have for now.
You want to know why the best-selling books in your chosen subcategory are selling and improve (your USP) on “their” influence mechanics.
You do this with what I call my:
This stands for Repurpose, Combine, and Improve.
It’s a little formula I created that allows us to understand “why” (repurpose) books are selling, model the “successful” components (combine) and “improve” on everything based on our own RESEARCH.
Let me clarify:
The first page of books in a given (popular) sub-category are bestsellers for a reason, right?
Obviously, the market resonates with them.
We could simply create our own (and better) version of what already exists.
But without understanding why they are selling – you’re immediately at a disadvantage in creating an effective (unique) means of attracting your target audience and persuading them to listen to YOU.
So, aside from our QA, we also want to research our competition (bestsellers) and print out the following:
- TOC: Use the look-inside feature and do a screenshot.
- TITLE & DESC: Screen grab the book page w/ title, subtitle, and desc.
Forgive me for not showing examples.
I think you can understand why.
Just print out the above for the bestsellers and keep everything – including your research and insights – into an organized folder.
This will be an “ever-evolving” swipe file of ideas, understandings, and insights about the niche market your plan to help (serve) for the long term.
So, what are we doing with this competitor analysis?
Simply highlighting the components that you want to USE.
The words, phrases, insights, structure (description/TOC) and language – based on your own research – that you believe are the most effective persuasion elements.
Based on your market analysis (QA).
Ie: what is it your competitors are doing well?
Highlight all the words, phrases and chapters/sub-chapters (TOC) that you believe are the result of them RESONATING with your target audience.
Most – not all – of them will NOT have done the “in-depth analysis” you have.
This is your competitive advantage.
You’re ONLY modelling the parts of their title, sub-title (hook), description and TOC that are – based on your research – necessary, useful, persuasive and effective.
Wrap all of this with a unique angle (big idea/USP/ultra-defined audience), and well … you’ll attract your target audience far more easily, but …
… results (of your readers), raving fans, recommendations, and REVIEWS become easier to gain as you know precisely what they WANTED and you’ve delivered it. In spades.
On the subject of reviews, this adds another LEVEL of insight.
Understanding what readers of your competitors LIKED and DISLIKED about their book(s) prevents you from making the same “mistakes” and ensures you cover the areas (TOC/book content) they liked.
Pretty simple, really.
Tip: When modelling and crafting your own TOC, be mindful of the “questions” you’ve identified in your QA analysis. Sometimes these can make for excellent chapters/sub-chapters. Also … the closer you can get to a “step-by-step” solution in line with what your target audience truly WANTS (end result/desire) – the more your reader will experience true “results” from your book. Leading to raving fans, reviews and repeat sales.
Make it easy to follow.
To get their intended END RESULT.
Ensure this comes across in your TOC and book description.
Desire is the fuel.
Empathy is the spark.
QA is our weapon.
The beautiful thing about QA – outside of analyzing the bestselling books – is the titles, angles, hooks and new book IDEAS you can gain.
Of course, you need to do your due diligence to back up the potential.
But, this level of analysis is so worth it for the “long-term” success of not just your book ideas but your business as a whole when you get to the next level.
By the next level, I’m talking about offering “additional” products, services, courses, and consulting from your OWN platform (website).
That’s what will take you from Author (reliant on Amazon) to Authorpreneur.
A thriving business.
A business where you control the customer list and the relationship.
It goes without saying – the initial success of your book will be based on how well you can effectively CRAFT your own persuasive “Influence Mechanics”.
- Your Title
- Book Description
- Table of Contents
- Book cover (get a pro designer).
Then, how effectively you can rank in Amazon for your seven chosen keywords (tip: Choose specific phrases. Get more reviews. Test often)…
… and how effectively you gain momentum during your initial launch…
… and how effectively you continue to market your book…
Which I’m sure you can appreciate is all outside the scope of this email series (it will be never-ending).
Entire courses have been created on these specific individual topic(s).
But, with your QA analysis – you have all the “data” you need to PERSUADE your target readers that you have a solution worth paying attention to.
The bestsellers are there waiting for you to model & improve upon.
That, my friend, is the 3-proven steps to IDENTIFYING profitable Kindle niches and bestselling book IDEAS.
Your “detective” skills (QA) have now been honed.
But, always, always, sell what’s already selling!