This week I’m talking about how to choose a topic or niche for your book that will allow you to make money.
Picking a niche for your first book can feel very daunting, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Take a look at my simple tips for generating book ideas and researching them on Amazon to find what will work best.
If you’d rather read what I’m talking about (or perhaps you’re at work or somewhere you can’t easily watch), here’s a synopsis:
Why is picking the right niche important?
The niche that you select for your book is crucial because this will play a huge part in determining how much money you make from your book.
It’s important to find a niche where there is lots of interest in the subject, where it’s not already overpopulated, and also where people are prepared to spend money. Some niches have plenty of people interested in them, but due to the subject matter the readers won’t want to spend much money (for example frugality, money saving).
Where to begin with choosing a book niche?
The best place to start when picking a book niche is to brainstorm potential ideas:
- Write down as many things that you can think of for topics you are interested in or passionate about
- Write down as many things that you can think of for topics you are an expert in or have a lot of knowledge about
How to research popular niches?
Once you have your list of ideas, the next thing to do is to go to Amazon! I recommend using amazon.com rather than amazon.co.uk or any other marketplace because the USA market is the largest and has the most potential for making book sales.
Once you’re in Amazon, select “Kindle Store” in the search bar dropdown, then type in your first idea. Use words to search with that you would use if you were interested in buying a book for this subject.
Hit enter on your search, and Amazon will present you with all of the books related to that search. The first thing to do is note how many books there are for the search term (or keywords) that you have entered. Are there hundreds of books? Are there just a handful? How flooded is this market space?
Next, work through the books returned in the search clicking into each of them. You may notice that some books in the list have “sponsored” listed next to them - you can ignore these because they appear due to paid advertisements and not due to the organic search. For each book, scroll down the detail page until you reach the Product Details section. At the bottom of this section you will see the Amazon Best Sellers Rank. Underneath here you can see which categories the book is listed in. You can also see this book’s overall ranking in the Kindle Store. Make a note of the overall ranking. Do this for at least the first search results page of books returned for your search.
You are looking to find at least 3 books with a ranking of about 40,000 or lower. At this ranking the books are selling approximately 8 per day. This gives a good indication that there is public interest in this niche. This isn’t a strict rule however, it’s just a guide - so use your common sense and gut instinct.
You can use this handy tool at kindlepreneur.com to type the sales ranking into, to see how many sales a book is making per day.
It’s worth trying a few different search terms for the book topic you’re researching, as each different combination of search words will bring back slightly different results.
If you decide to get into online publishing, it’s seriously worth investing in a fantastic tool called Kindle Spy (affiliate link) (or KDSpy). This takes a lot of the time out of doing niche research. It’s available as a browser extension/plug-in. If there’s interest I will write a future post showing exactly what it looks like and how it works, but in summary, it allows you to quickly see the rankings, popularity and money potential for books returned in your amazon searches - without having to click through into each book! I would highly recommend buying yourself a copy, this has saved me so much time. It sells for a one-off cost and this is often discounted if you can catch it at the right time. At the time of writing the cost was $47 reduced from $97, a whole $50 saving!
Deciding on your first book
I would recommend that you do your research for at least 3-5 ideas on your list. This will take some time, but you will get faster at it the more practice you get. Once you’ve researched a few ideas you’ll have a good idea of which niche feels like the better option to launch your first book in.
Sometimes it’s easy to get sucked into analysis paralysis so don’t over research or over think your first book choice. When you’re starting out in online publishing, the main thing is to learn and get practical experience of the whole publishing process. If you can’t get beyond the research phase for fear of picking the wrong topic, you’ll never get the valuable experience that you need. This is why I’m suggesting that you only research 3-5 of your favourite ideas on your list. When all is said and done you just need to take a leap of faith and pick a topic that you think holds the most potential - you have time to adjust and try new niches for future books.
This has been a brief introduction to the niche selection process. It’s simple in theory, but when you come to give it a go you may find you have lots of questions - so please do send these my way and I will do my best to help.
Let me know in the comments if you are interested in a future post going into more detail about Kindle Spy (affiliate link) and it’s advantages!
Previous & Next Posts
My last post was about 5 things you need to get started with self publishing.
In my next post you can read about my June income and profit.
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