We address market research for your book and how to focus on the key elements that will help you craft a book that has the potential to be a bestseller.
Market research is one of the most important steps in creating a bestselling book, but it’s a step most authors skip, often because they don’t know how. Luckily, thanks to online book retailers like Amazon, it’s easier than ever to find out who your readers are and what they want.
Let’s talk about market research for your book and the key elements that will help you craft a bestseller. Start by going to Amazon.com and finding the bestselling books in your niche or genre. There are two ways to do this: search by keywords or browse the bestsellers lists.
1. Search by keywords to find relevant books
Using this method, simply go to Amazon’s search bar for books and type in keywords related to your market or genre. Here are some keyword examples for specific niches and subgenres:
- Werewolf shifter romance
- Military sci fi
- Weight loss
- Paleo cookbook
2. Search by Amazon’s bestseller list categories to find relevant books
Using this method, you can browse the bestsellers lists on Amazon for related categories or books. This is the method I recommend because it will allow you to find all the top books in your specific niche or subgenre once you find the right bestseller category.
There are over 28,700 bestsellers categories in the US and UK for eBooks and print books, so it may take some time to find the most relevant categories for your market.* Once you find the top books in your market, here are the elements you’ll want to study to learn more about how to create a unique brand in your niche.
1. Book covers
Take a look at the book covers for the top books in your market. See what cover design catches your eye and stands out from the crowd and which ones you find unappealing.
Your goal is to have a book cover that stands out and immediately catches the eye of your potential readers, getting them to click on your book listing and hopefully buy your book. When you’re researching book cover designs for the bestselling books in your market, ask yourself:
- What colors are used? Are they bright, bold, dark, soft?
- What font types are used? Are they serif, sans-serif, cursive, plain, bold?
- How did the designer use contrast between text and images? What area of the cover most stands out and draws your attention?
- What type of imagery is being used?
2. Book titles
Next, take a look at the book titles and subtitles in your niche. What titles and subtitles immediately stand out to you? Which ones immediately communicate what the book is about? Which ones leave you confused?
Savvy authors and publishers are even adding subtitles to novels these days to immediately tell readers what their book is about. Here are some examples of real book titles from the Romance best seller lists on Amazon.
- Broken: A Dark Romance
- His Brat: A Dark Bad Boy Romance
- HUGE – A Stepbrother Romance
3. Book descriptions
Next, read all the book descriptions for the top books in your market. Which descriptions make you want to click “buy” right away? Which ones leave you confused, bored, or clicking away to a different book?
Model the elements of riveting book descriptions to spice up your book blurb and make it more enticing to draw in new readers.
4. Look inside
Now it’s time to use Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature, and start reading the first 1-2 pages of all the top books in your market. If you don’t immediately draw a reader in to your book or story, they will click away and buy something else.
Want to find out what the best authors in your market are doing to captivate readers and keep them interested? All you have to do is read the first 1-2 pages of the bestselling books in your market, and you will learn a lot. Use this new information to rewrite the first chapter of your book, and make sure readers are hooked from page one.
Now it’s time to read the reviews of the top books in your market to find out what readers love about these books and what they don’t like or complain about.
With notebook in hand, start reading all the positive and negative reviews for top books in your market, and take notes when you see the same comments or themes popping up in several reviews.
- What elements of these books do readers love?
- What scenes are readers mentioning the most?
- What aspects of the characters or storylines do readers love or hate?
- What problems are reviewers mentioning about the book?
This process will take quite a bit of time, but you will be able to gather an enormous amount of information about who your potential readers are, what they want, and how you can create a book that better serves their needs and desires.
6. Calculate competitors’ book sales
By looking at the Amazon Sales Ranking of any physical book or eBook on Amazon, you can determine how many books the author is selling and how much royalties they are earning with TCK Publishing’s Amazon Book Sales Calculator.
You need to use this information to check the sales of the top books in your market to determine how big the market is. If you have a goal to earn $10,000 each month in royalties from your book sales on Amazon, but you see that the top 10 books combined in your market bring in only $5,000 each month in sales, your chances of achieving your goal are very slim, at best.
Putting it all together
Once you have studied these six elements of your competitors’ books, you’ll have a much clearer idea of the types of books your readers are most interested in buying. This process will also help you come up with several great ideas for the branding and marketing for your own book.
If you want to sell more books, you don’t need to win the lottery or Tweet more often. Instead, start with a little market research for your book. You’ll be amazed how much you can learn from those who have come before you.
*TCK Publishing offers free webinar training on market research will help you navigate the Amazon bestsellers lists like a pro.
The Dreaded Competitive Title Analysis
Five Essentials Of Your Author Marketing Plan
Focus On Your Book’s Back Cover
Target A Niche And Find Your Voice
Sell Them With Your Cover Design
How To Promote Your Romance Novel On Social Media