How many times have you put up a book on Amazon KDP and sat back waiting for that sale to come?
If you are into low content publishing, that number is probably pretty high.
The issue though, is that the sale often does NOT come into your account and you are stuck wondering why and where you may have gone wrong.
I can tell you from experience that 99.99% of the time, the issue is actually the research (or lack there of) that you did PRIOR to even uploading.
Researching the niche, competition, and potential end buyer can make or break your business and is CRUCIAL to your success. Skip this step and you are simply shooting in the dark.
So, to make sure you get your research down to a science, I want to go over 5 factors that I look for each and every time before I even start creating a book. This method has worked for me and can give insight into what a customer wants to buy, what they are buying, and how much they like particular books.
Let’s get started!
1: Find What Customers ACTUALLY Want To Buy
If you are to only take 1 thing away from this article, this would be it. You HAVE to figure out what customers are buying or they want to be buying. Without this piece, you will simply waste your time, put books up, and never see a sale come through.
I have seen it happen time and time again, where people will link books, and I will take a look at them. It turns out that those books are for themselves (which is great), but not for a potential audience on Amazon.
You are NOT your target audience!
What you and I may want to purchase could be completely different from what the general public on the Amazon market wants. If you forget that single point, you will simply cease to sell anything.
Okay, so you realize that you have to make books for people that actually buy them…. now what?
Well, the very first thing I do before creating ANYTHING is find out exactly what people ARE buying.
You do this by looking at two things:
- Sales Rank – If a product has a sales rank at all on Amazon, it has sold before.
- Reviews – If there is a review and it has a “verified purchase” red tag next to it, someone has actually found and purchased the book before.
Back in the day, I would spend 10+ hours every day looking up random keywords on Amazon and checking all of their sales ranks. This is partially the reason that we created the Book Bolt software (the site you are on right now).
So, since we have recently updated a few of the modules that help us do that, let’s go over a good example of how we can figure out what customers actually want!
The first thing you want to do is come up with a keyword or phrase to look up. If you do not have anything off the top of your head, you can start with the Keyword Module inside of Book Bolt, but let’s say that we have taken a look at that, and want to create a book for “nicu nurses”. Great! We now have to figure out if anyone is actually purchasing in this niche, or if it just something maybe we want for ourselves.
Head over to the product search inside of Book Bolt:
Next, put in your keyword that you are going to look up. As you can see from the screenshot, I decided to take a look at notebooks to see what is out there:
From here, we can see the books that are selling with that specific keyword. This is the first one that caught my eye:
You can tell right away that it is about our niche (nicu nurses), that it is priced competitively at $7.99, it HAS reviews, and it has a good sales rank with the amount of estimated sales showing.
There is demand in this niche!
Click on the book title. This will open up the product on Amazon. You want to head down to the reviews and actually look at them.
See how they have the red “verified purchase” tag? That means people bought them and liked the product. Perfect, there is good demand for this niche!
We can further confirm this by looking at the right side of the Book Bolt product search. These related keywords will show you what other people are likely typing in as well as how many searches per month they get on Amazon.
Our target keyword here gets over 500 searches a month. This is exactly what you are looking for! Now you know the niche has demand and you can go create your own unique products to sell to that audience.
2: Covers – How Readable Are They?
The next thing I like to look at before going into a niche is how readable the actual covers are.
Think for a second about the last time you went to Amazon and typed something in to make a purchase of your own.
How likely are you to click on a product if the image is so small you cannot tell what is it on it, what it is, or what it says? Probably very unlikely! You only have a small bit of time to get the customers attention which is less than 1 second as they scroll past.
Take for example this keyword: Sudoku books for adults easy.
Looking on Amazon for this, here is what we can see:
Notice how the best seller there in the middle has MASSIVE text. You can’t miss it and know exactly what it says.
This is exactly what you want to do for your own book covers. So if you are doing your research and first find a great keyword that gets search volume and has some books that are selling in the niche, the next thing you should take a look at is the Amazon search results. Do you see mostly small text? EXCELLENT! That means you can make yours massive and automatically stand out. This is 100% free to do, and will give you a slight edge just by getting the customer to know exactly what your book is about before they ever have to click your listing.
Take this as an example:
The book all the way to the left and the book all the way to the right…can you tell what the text I circled in red even says? Nope! Me either. I have ZERO idea what this book is by looking at the cover.
We have all heard the saying “never judge a book by its cover”….but EVERYONE does. If they can’t visually see it, they will skip it. Don’t make this mistake. Create your covers as if it is the only thing that your customers will judge you by.
3: Front Pages – What To Look For
The EASIEST way that you can make your book stand out from everyone else in the low content book is take the 10 seconds you need to add a front page to the interior of your book.
With so many people putting up lined journals and notebooks, the act of simply making a custom front page on the inside of your book can set your book apart from everyone else.
The thing is, when a customer actually lands on your product, you are only done with half the work. You still have to CONVERT that customer to a sale. Chances are, they are going to click that “look inside” feature to see what it is they will actually be buying.
Take the nicu nurse example we were looking at earlier:
I click to look inside and instead of a nice page that says something like “this journal belongs to”, or some inspiring quote for nurses, I am greeted with…
You don’t have to over think this. Here is a poorly executed example that is still selling:
If you REALLY want to kick up your front page game, look at what this book is doing:
They are building a brand AND email list with their low content book. Smart!
Let me know in the comments if you want a guide going over how to do this. It is a little bit more complicated than a simple front page (you need a website, an email list and some creativity), but this is how you build a lasting impact with your books and brand.
4: Price – Can You Compete?
The next thing I love to look at while doing my research is the price of the books. After all, if there are books already selling in a niche that you want to enter, you will need to make a decision on what you price your own book at.
You could come in way higher than every other selling book in the niche, but chances are that if you do that, you will make very very few amount of sales.
You could come in WAY lower than the other selling products, but then you are not making any money.
What I like to do is take a look at the niche, look at the average price of the top selling products for my target keyword and then ask myself…
“Can I make a good margin at this price and is it worth it?”
Take into account if you will want to be running AMS ads or not, but you need to know if you can compete with what is already out there. If you can’t, don’t spend the time creating. Use the time in your research process to really nail down what you should go after.
Take the keyword: “dinosaur coloring books for adults” as an example.
The average price is around $6.99 per book
Depending on how long your book ends up being, can you compete at this price? Figure this out first before you decide to go for it!
I prefer to price pretty competitively but also leave enough room to make some money AND run a few AMS ads (especially if I am doing a coloring book) to kick start the sales.
5: Reviews – Do They Provide Any Insight?
I ALWAYS actually like to see reviews when it comes to low content books.
This right away tells you a few things:
- The niche has SALES
- People either hated the product or liked it enough to tell the world about it
This basically validates that there is a niche audience ready to purchase products. Your job just comes down to figuring out what they want and if you can do a better job than the people before you.
This is where reviews come in handy. If there is a book in your niche or several books that have reviews, go read them. They can sometimes provide valuable insight on what you could change with your book.
Here is a book that I found that has 36 reviews, but about 3.5 stars out of 5. There are clearly some people who were not that happy.
Click on the title, which will open up the product page on Amazon. Click the little stars which will take you down to the review section.
Click on the 1 star reviews and work your way UP. That way, we are looking at the reviews that are worst first (and might have some good things we can fix when we enter the niche).
This is the first review I read, and it looks to me that they are trying to sell this book as a “handy dandy notebook”. Okay, I have absolutely no idea what that is.
So, over to Google I go!
Yep, it looks like these are specifically with spirals in them and this book is in fact taking advantage of people. THIS is why research is so important. Right there, we just determined that we should not be going into this niche after 30 seconds of research!
Not only can reviews tell you about what you might should change on a book interior when creating your own, but it can also give you a HUGE red flag to completely avoid that niche all together (like this one).
Let’s take a look at another example. In this case:
Checking out the reviews, I see these:
This is awesome feedback. We can see that the customer loves that there is a table of contents (great for low content books if you mix and match your pages), but they are upset that the book is SMALL. This tells you that you might want to select a larger size on KDP if you enter this niche. They also want to see more pages as there is not enough of them (they wanted it to be 4X as big!).
Another person says that there is literally not enough room to write down the ingredients. This tells you that the layout of the interior needs some work and is something to think about when creating your own.
Another person is ragging on the quality of the interior saying it looks like photo copies.
Pay attention to reviews. They can be the difference between a new best seller or an absolute flop depending on if you can find some good critical feedback from the same niche.
Wrapping It Up
These are 5 things that I will look at every time that I am doing research for KDP. So far none of these have steered me in the wrong direction and have been a good way to repeat the process over and over again to build up the catalog of low content books.
At the end of the day, it’s not “X” or “Y” that you “MUST” do to succeed.
It’s just validating the niche has an audience, figuring out what the audience wants to buy, and then delivering them a better product than what is available.
This is every business, not just low content books. The 5 steps above are just a helpful template to follow during your journey.
Good luck out there!