Publishing books on Amazon is a great way to make passive income, but only if you know what I am about to share with you.
Choosing a book topic and publishing it without ensuring people will buy it is akin to starting a niche website without doing any keyword research.
But that’s exactly what most self-publishers do. They just write a book, hit publish, cross their fingers and hope it’s a winner.
But sadly, self-publishing in today’s market no longer allows for such luck. If you try that, you’ll be hard pressed to reap any of the sales you hear about.
Besides, can you imagine spending all that time writing a book and investing in a good cover, formatting and editor, only to find out later that no one wants it?
That’s gotta suck!
That’s why in this article, I’m going to show you exactly how you can do some Kindle keyword research and book idea validation so that you can ensure you’re on the right path before you start writing.
Think of this like keyword research…but for Amazon instead of Google.
We’ll then build upon that and give you a key strategy to ensure you can gain organic book sales in the largest market in the world.
What You Will Learn
- What makes a profitable book
- Step-by-step process to discover book ideas that will sell
- Tools to help you do this more effectively and efficiently
- How Amazon’s Search Engine Works
- How to rank your books better on Amazon
Who Am I To Talk About Book Marketing and Amazon Keywords?
I’m Dave Chesson, the author of the fastest growing book marketing website, Kindlepreneur.com. But when I’m not plunging head first into ebook marketing tactics, I’m plugging away on my next book.
As a father and active duty military guy, my time is precious. I can ill afford to write books that don’t bring in consistent income or worse…don’t sell at all.
I’m sort of the example of a guy who fits it in whenever I can. I actually wrote my first book while sitting on a South Korean warship patrolling dangerous waters…how about that for versatile ;)
But, if you were advantageous enough to try to look me up on Amazon, you probably found nothing. That’s right, I use pen names.
Because what I am going to show you will help you find highly demanded kindle niche topics that have little competition.
So, of course, I don’t announce my golden nuggets – like most niche website owners wouldn’t announce their most profitable set of keywords.
But I won’t deny the success it’s had:
So, without ado, let’s talk about how you can find those highly profitable book ideas or keywords that aren’t saturated with ginormously popular competitors.
The Beginning of the Amazon Market
When Amazon first opened Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), they changed the book world forever. Regular people, like you and I, no longer needed highbrow publishers in order to get our books in the market.
In its initial launch, there was major money to be made for the early adopters. With little to no competition and Amazon’s giant amount of preexisting traffic, you could write just about anything and turn some excellent profit.
Many refer to this as the Kindle Gold Rush.
But today, it’s no longer that way. What used to be little to no competition, now holds over 4.7 million different ebooks. But don’t fret, because there still is a lot of untapped Amazon niches ready to be discovered and I’ll show you how.
What Makes a Profitable Book Idea?
In order to write a book that taps into Amazon’s already existing shoppers, the best book idea is one that has all of the following:
- Has shoppers on Amazon looking for it
- Those same shoppers actually buy books on that subject
- The competition isn’t so great that you can’t rank #1 in Amazon searches
If you write a book that follows these three points, then you’ll be in an excellent position to gain organic traffic and sales – it’s that simple.
So, using the below steps, you’ll not only be able to figure out if a book idea will be profitable, you’ll also be able to figure out which kindle keywords you should target with your book.
Like niche websites, your keywords will be your secret traffic source that keeps your book selling.
So, let’s discover some kindle keywords in order to base our book around.
Step By Step Kindle Keyword Research
In the below steps I’ll show you the free way of doing this research, but it is important to note that there are tools that do a lot of this for you which we’ll cover later.
Step 1 – Find keywords people actually search for
In order to find profitable organic book ideas we need to know what keywords people actually type into Amazon.
Unlike Google, this isn’t that simple because Amazon doesn’t provide a free tool like Keyword Planner. There are some paid tools that will do this for you and even tell you the estimated Amazon searches per month, but we’ll get into that later.
Instead, let’s look at the free method.
For this, I like to start by generating a list of popular keywords on Amazon.
One-way to do this is to make use of the Amazon autosuggestion feature.
When you type a phrase into Amazon, you will notice that it begins to suggest endings to your search phrase. This is because Amazon is trying to guess what you might be looking for by using past search data of other shoppers.
To use this right, start by typing in a broad phrase and see what Amazon adds to the end of it.
You can also dig even further by adding a letter after your broad phrase to see more specific details like so:
“keyword book idea a”
“keyword book idea b”
IMPORTANT: It’s best that you use incognito mode in Chrome when doing this because the Amazon suggestion feature uses your accounts information as well as cookies to tailor the results. But in incognito mode, you’ll get the most raw data – which is what we want.
Now that we have a list of terms people ‘have’ typed into Amazon using Amazon’s auto-suggestion, we need to figure out how ‘many’ people have actually typed that word.
There’s nothing worse than writing a complete book and finding out later than only 5 people actually are searching for it.
Again, there is no free way of doing this, so, instead of just leaving it to chance, I like to use Google as an indication.
Google, like Amazon is a search engine and many people start their journey searching for something in Google. Therefore, using the free data from Keyword Planner or any other tool like SEMRush, you can still gain some relative understanding of what is a popular term or not.
Step 2 – Is Your Book Idea Profitable?
This step is crucial and should not be overlooked – despite being easy to do so.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of finding a keyword phrase for your book idea which has high demand and seems relatively simple.
However, unless people are willing to pay for the information, then it is not worth spending any time creating a book around.
The first thing to do in order to make sure your book idea stands a good chance of making you money is to verify the following:
- Type the keyword phrase you have already validated via KW Finder or Google Keyword Planner into the Kindle store on Amazon.
- Choose the top 14 books that show up in the search results and write down their Amazon Best Sellers Rank, known as ABSR. The ABSR is basically a measure of how well any given book is selling within the Kindle store. It weighs heavily upon recent sales and is therefore, a very current measure of success.
To find it, scroll down to the bottom till you see the following:
- Run each ABSR number through the Kindle Best Seller Rank Calculator. This free calculator will convert the ABSR into number of books sold per day for that book.
- Find out how much money that person is making daily by multiplying the number of books sold per day by the price. If the book is priced between 2.99 and 9.99, then multiply this number by 0.7. If the book is priced at any other price point, multiply by .3. This is because Amazon only pays out a certain percentage based on the price of the book – their way of controlling the pricing system. Example: 8 books sold per day at a price of 4.99:
8 x 4.99 x .7 = $27.94 per day
- Follow the above process for all of the 14 books that you identified in step 2. Add up the total earnings and then divide by 14 to get the average earnings per day by books that rank for that keyword.
- If the average earnings per day seems like an acceptable figure for your book idea, then you can continue with the process.
Step 3 – How Tough Is The Competition?
By this point, you know whether or not there is demand for a given book keyword phrase and whether there is any profit to be made by ranking for that keyword on Amazon.
But our last and final step is to try to figure out if we can even rank for that term.
Sadly, figuring out the level of competition without specialized tools is a little difficult. Some of it can be numerically drawn, but as you’ll see, most of it is very subjective:
Consider the following factors when making the final call:
- Look at the ABSR of the top 10 books in the search result. If the majority of them have an ABSR of 30,000 or less, then it will be a very difficult keyword.
- Can you see the keyword in either the Title or Subtitle. If so, then those books are heavily targeting the keyword and it will be difficult.
- Are the book covers that show up in the search results easy on the eye, or is this an area where you could outdo the competition? As you’ll see later in this article CTR is very important to rankings and good book covers get great clicks.
- Do they have a great book description? As you’ll see later, conversion rate to sales plays another big part in rankings.
- How well known are the authors? Unknown authors with a small or no following are the easiest to beat. Beating a celebrity/influencer is very difficult and not usually worth it.
Ultimatley, you need to look at the competition and ask yourself, “can I beat them.” If the answer is no, then you’ll have a hard time ranking well against the competitors.
If the answer is yes, then you’re in luck.
Step 4 – Rinse and Repeat
If you didn’t find the right idea on your first search, don’t be discouraged because that usually is the case.
However, instead of just going back to step one, look at the results you had and try to figure out if it is best to niche down more and work with what you have, or if you just need to start all over with a completely new idea.
Either way, once you decide, head back to step 1 until you’ve found the right keywords to target for your next book.
Fast Tracking Your Research
The above steps can be tedious and very time consuming, but just like with Google keyword research, there are some Amazon centric tools that can help you with the above:
KDP Rocket is simple to use tool that works on both Mac and PC which basically does everything discussed above.
How do I know this?
Because I created it.
All you have to do is put a potential keyword into it, it gives suggestions on better keywords, tells you how much money authors are making ranking for that keyword, estimated number of times Amazon shoppers type it into Amazon and the relative Competition Level of that keyword (1-100).
Basically, it’s like the Long Tail Pro of Amazon. Plus, it’s only a one-time fee of $97.
Best Seller Ranking Pro
Best Seller Ranking Pro helps authors figure out which category they should target.
By doing this correctly, you can not only gain the coveted “Bestseller” tag for your authority claims and sales conversion, it can help to get your book out in front of more authors and make more sales.
BSRP will show you the easiest categories to target and exactly how many books you need to sell in order to be #1 bestseller which helps with your rankings.
How to Rank Your Book On Amazon
Using the steps above, you should now have some keyword phrases which meet all of the criteria – there is demand for it, it’s profitable and the competition is manageable.
However, targeting keywords is only half the battle. When we are ready to launch our book, we need to be able to get our book to show up for those keywords in Amazon and rank well.
Just like Google, ranking at the top is very important. How important?
It’s not as dramatic as Google’s perceived click rates, but just remember, in Amazon, each click can result in a direct buy and a difference of 15% in sales based on ranking #1 or #2 is HUGE!
So, how do we get our ready to publish book infront of those ready to buy readers?
1. Get your book indexed by Amazon
2. Improve your rankings
That may seem obvious, but unless you’re familiar with how Amazon’s A9 algorithm, it’s not quite the same as with Google.
Getting Your Book Indexed By Amazon
First we need to convince Amazon that our book should show up for a particular keyword search. To do this, you should consider some or all of the following:
1. Choose the Keyword as one of your 7 Kindle Keywords
When you go to publish your book, Amazon will ask you to insert 7 kindle keywords/phrases with each separated with a comma.
Back in the day, this is all you’d need to do, but competition is tight and Amazon doesn’t just go for it anymore.
2. Have the Keyword in Your Title and or Subtitle
Amazon’s A9 algorithm indexes your title and subtitle and they both play an important part to your book getting indexed for a search term.
3. Inside the Book
Amazon does review the text in the book and having your keyword in the book is a good sign you should rank for that term.
4. Words Used in the Review
Granted you can’t directly affect this, but this is one way your title plays into effect. Many reviewers will refer to your book using the title.
If your title has the keywords in it, then they’ll naturally put it there for you.
Increasing Your Book’s Rankings in the Search
Now that you’ve gotten your book to index in Amazon’s search, we now need to increase the rankings. Remember, books that rank #1 get, on average, 27% of the clicks while #2 only gets 12%.
To do this, keep in mind that Amazon’s A9 was built for one thing: make Amazon more money!
Therefore, as you’ll see, each of the below factors are about showing A9 that your book will make them more money if they present to more people for that term:
1. Search Path Click Percentage
If someone goes to Amazon, types in a keyword, finds your book and clicks it, then they just proved to Amazon that your book was what they were looking for.
If your book consistently has more people choose your book over others, then A9 will take notice start ranking you over the others.
How to affect this:
- If you know someone wants to buy your book, don’t send them a link. Instead, tell them the keyword to type in and the title of your book.
- You can use Super URLs, but I personally don’t trust them.
- Having good titles and book covers that catches a readers eye and clearly shows what the book is about will help increase the clicks for those random searchers.
2. Conversion Rates
It’s all about the money, right? Well, if people click your book but they don’t buy it, then A9 will see that your book isn’t ‘the one’ and will start to drop your rankings.
However, if your book continues to prove that people are buying it, then Amazon will reward you with higher rankings.
How to affect this:
- Ensuring you’ve got a great book description that converts is key.
- Ranking for the right terms helps because you’ll have a much higher amount of the prime market looking for your book.
- Choosing the right price can help. Go too low and people won’t value the book. Go too high and people will look for a cheaper option.
- Review grades are important to making shoppers believe your book is the right one and worth their time and money.
3. Recent Verified Review Grades
Verified reviews are reviews left by someone who purchased the book on Amazon. Having recent good verified reviews significantly helps to increase your rankings.
This tells Amazon that not only did people buy it, but that they enjoyed the product.
How to affect this:
- Request for a review at the end of your book.
- If you have readers and followers, email them and ask them to leave a review – some people just forget to do it.
- Look at your competitors reviews and see if any of them have their email attached to their account. Email them and see if they’d like a copy of your book in return for a review.
4. Sales Consistency
There are a lot of book marketing tactics that push for a big sales spike.
While that helps, Amazon prefers to rank books that consistently bring in sales, than those that spike every once in a while. Therefore, work to create consistent sales and you’ll be rewarded.
How to affect this:
- Create outside traffic sources that point to your book. If you have a niche website that covers the topic of your book, use it as an advertisement platform for your book. Also, look into dropping legitimate links in forums or things like Quora.
- If you have an email list, add an email in your Autoresponder that talks about your book.
5. Number of Options for Purchase
It is easier than ever to not only create a ebook, but also a soft cover, hard cover and audio book. There are many conversion software and services that will do it for you.
But what is most important is that those books who have all options for the buyer get better rankings.
This could be because A9 factors that into their decision matrix. However, I believe it is because having more options increases your conversion rates.
There are many book readers who detest ebooks and need to feel the paper in their fingers as they read. There are others, like myself, that love audio books and will choose them when they can.
However, if your book doesn’t offer these, then you’ll lose that sale and another book that ranks for it will nab it.
How to affect this:
- To create soft cover books, look into Amazon’s own print on demand service, CreateSpace or IngramSpark.
- There are many audio book services out there that will you’ll either pay upfront to convert to an audio book, or will request a percentage of the profit.
Wrapping it Up
In this article, you’ve learned about the importance of validating your book idea through the process of keyword research.
You’ve learned about the exact process of identifying a profitable, in demand, low competition keyword and how to optimize your book in various ways in order to rank for that keyword.
You’ve also learned about the Amazon A9 search engine and the way in which it operates.
It’s now up to you to take this knowledge and use it to write and market a book which stands the best chance of climbing the Amazon rankings because writing a book that doesn’t earn you money is extremely costly!
The level of competition for Amazon Kindle books is increasing each and every day.
Therefore it is vital to validate your book idea ahead of time through proper keyword research.
After all, the time spent on keyword research pales in comparison to the time and money you would waste and the disappointment you would feel for a book idea that didn’t sell.
Respect your time. Validate your book idea properly.
If you have any questions, please post them in the comments!