Amazon is a great place to start if you want to reverse engineer successful books. You can use it to analyze competition and see what is already selling as well as identify gaps in the market. If you have a particular book idea, you can verify if it's worth writing by whether or not there is an audience for it.
Who wants to write a book and then find out that nobody wants it?
In this article, we will talk about the various methods you can use for your research, including Amazon's own tools.
The first thing you want to do is come up with a book idea. This can be anything from nonfiction to fiction, as long as there is an audience for it. Once you have your topic in mind, it's time to start doing some research.
This is where Amazon comes in handy.
Did you know, you can use Amazon’s autocomplete search to help you come up with book ideas?
How To Use Amazon Auto-Complete To Research Ideas
Type in a broad topic into the search bar, and Amazon will offer you a list of related keywords. Be sure to select "books/Kindle store" from the drop-down menu, first.
For example, if you type in “parenting,” Amazon will give you a list of subtopics to choose from, such as “parenting books,” “parenting with love and logic", etc. These are all great ideas for books (some have already been written.) as the reason they auto-complete is that people are searching for them.
This presents an opportunity for you. If there is a gap in the market for a book on a particular topic, this is where you come in.
Now you may notice something a bit strange about the screenshot above. Your Amazon search doesn't display those strange bars and numbers, does it?
What if I told you that this was the work of a keyword research tool? It is a simple Google Chrome addon called Keywords Everywhere.
Once you have it installed, simply open a new tab and go to Amazon. The addon will automatically show you the search volume for the keywords on that page.
300/m simply means that the keyword gets an average of 300 searches per month on Amazon! Now, search volume is not always accurate, but, can you imagine finding a keyword with little competition AND getting the number one spot? That is essentially 300 book sales a month!
Not bad, right? How about multiplying that by a few dozen...
I have used this method to grow and scale my publishing business for the past 3 years and it still works. I do not do this manually anymore, however. I use Publisher Rocket, which is a book research and marketing software specifically designed for this.
If you want to get even more specific, you can use Amazon’s search bar autocomplete feature to drill down into a topic.
For example, if you type in “parenting teens,” Amazon will give you a list of specific subtopics so you can niche down to longer-tail, less competitive terms and test the market.
To go even further with this, you can use a method called the 'alphabet soup" and try your desired keyword with each letter of the alphabet to see what is out there. For example:
"parenting a," "parenting b," "parenting c," etc.
This can give you some great ideas for books that have not been written yet!
If you want to be really organized, you can use a worksheet to keep track of all of your findings.
Using Amazon's Auto Complete To Find Keywords
You can also use the above method to find keywords for your book. During the submission process, you will have the option to add seven unique keywords to help people find your book.
If you are stuck on what to put, use the autocomplete feature on Amazon's search bar to find keywords related to your topic.
In fact, I highly recommend this. Many people do not know how to choose keywords and then waste an opportunity to optimize their sales page! They choose random things they think are keywords, and nobody is searching for them - this is not the way to do it.
Competitor Research On Amazon
There are a few ways to go about competitor research on Amazon:
At A Glance
Search your desired keyword and look at the number of reviews and ratings a book has. The more reviews and ratings a book has, the more popular it is, and it is usually an indicator of selling well, too.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Scroll down to the "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought" section and take a look at what books are being recommended. You can use these for topic research and gain insight into what is selling and working well for your competitors.
"Look Inside" Feature
Check out the "Look Inside" feature to get an idea of the table of contents and what the book is about. This can help you get a feel for what sorts of topics are covered and more importantly, not covered. You want to keep logs of common topics and themes while looking for gaps and opportunities.
Check Out The Book Sales Page For Useful Details
If it is non-fiction, look at the release date. If the book was released a long time ago, it is most likely not selling well anymore but may be an opportune time to snatch up some of that traffic with an up-to-date book.
Also, check things like page-count, age, rank etc. All of this information should better inform you and your strategy.
Using Amazon's Bestsellers List
Using Amazon's bestsellers list is a great way to see which topics and genres are already trending and successful.
In the example above, (a Harry Potter book, just in case you were wondering) it has a best sellers rank of 475, which means that only 474 books sell more copies than it!
Keep An Eye On Competitors' Titles And Descriptions
When you find a book that is doing well, take a look at both the title and the description to see if there is anything that you can learn from it. Are they using keywords that you are not?
Are they focusing on a different angle than you are? Even if you don't want to copy their exact approach, you can still use their example to help you fine-tune your own titles and descriptions.
In addition, keep an eye on your competitor's pricing. If they are selling a similar product for less than you are, it may be time to adjust your own prices.