Best Bargains For Self-Publishers

If you’re serious about self-publishing, you’re likely to come across an endless array of products and services to spend your money on.

It’s important to strike a balance between being frugal, but also unafraid of investing in quality offerings which will make a difference to your self-publishing journey.

Unless you have the terrible problem of an unlimited amount of money to spend, it’s wise to seek out genuine bargains. Quality choices that are a good fit for your circumstance, have a real opportunity to help with your goals, and won’t break the bank in the process.

Three of the best possible areas for your investment are in software, information, and services.

Let’s take a look at the smartest bargains within these three areas of self-publishing.

Bargain Self-Publishing Software

The array of software used by self-publishers is as varied as the writers themselves.

Some people have a specialist, high-end tool for every aspect of their creative process. It can be tempting to fall into the trap of assuming higher-priced software will instantly equal higher quality output. Of course, this isn’t the case. Otherwise, becoming the world’s greatest photographer would simply be a matter of buying the best camera.

Instead, it’s smarter to think about the problems you have with the way you are currently doing things. Is there a cumbersome or frustrating aspect of your process? Could you become more efficient by using fewer tools?

There is no one size fits all solution when it comes to self-publishing software, as everyone’s process and method are slightly different. Some people take a hands-on approach and therefore need to be able to design covers, format their books, and film promotional videos. Others focus on core aspects of their own business and invest only in these.

One of the best software bargains which will be useful to the vast majority of self-published writers is Scrivener. It’s a superb writing tool which makes the process of creating complex written projects much easier to deal with. Scrivener is fairly inexpensive, but you can get an even better bargain with a Scrivener discount.

Some of the most useful tools actually cost nothing, and are therefore the potential biggest bargains. Canva and Google Drive are great tools with no upfront cost for creating and collaborating quickly online.

If you are using any expensive software, it’s worth considering whether a free or cheaper alternative would be capable of offering the same level of benefit at a lower cost.

Bargain Self-Publishing Information

A lot of the best information out there is free. There are endless high-quality blogs and YouTube channels dedicated to providing actionable and game-changing information.

However, free information isn’t always the right choice. Sometimes it’s worth investing in a quality book or course which will go in-depth on a particular topic and provide you with the knowledge you need, presented in the way you want.

Just because you’ve decided to spend money on information, it doesn’t mean you should forget about finding a good deal.

If there’s a particular course or book you’re interested in, follow these steps to take a smart approach to find an information bargain –

  • Make sure there isn’t a better option for the information you want to learn
  • Read reviews and consider the feedback from real people rather than marketing hype
  • When you’re sure a course or book is right for you, research to make sure it isn’t on offer at a better price elsewhere
    Search online for coupons and discounts – you might be surprised at what you find
  • Some information providers offer deals, such as regular sales (for example, Udemy offer seasonal sales, and Amazon have prime day). If there’s a course or book you want, consider waiting until the promotional time to grab it.

Bargain Self-Publishing Services

Self-publishers may well require a wide range of services depending on their own publishing plan. While some have the skills and time to take a DIY approach for the majority of tasks, there are some that should be outsourced.

When looking to buy services, some of the most important things to consider are –

Is the price fair? Shop around to get a feel for the different prices service providers charge. Expect to pay more for experience and quality, and less for someone just starting out. The price point you’re looking for is your choice – just make sure it’s justified.

Are there hidden costs? Sometimes, you’ll have to factor in fees for online payments, taxes or other hidden costs. Do your research to make sure you don’t get hit with an unexpected cost.

Are there other platforms that offer similar services at a better price? Don’t follow the trend. Just because a particular platform is a high profile, don’t assume it’s the best deal for you

Is there any discount available for batch work? Often, you will be able to secure a discount on self-publishing services if you confirm you will purchase a larger quantity than a one-off order

Self-Publishing Bargain Summary

Overall, self-publishing is worth investing in, but it pays to be smart.

Don’t buy software for the sake of it, but look for genuine opportunities to make an improvement to your working life

If you want to purchase paid information, make sure the investment is the best option for your needs, and there isn’t a better price available

Take the time to find the right freelancers for your projects, and watch out for any hidden fees that may arise

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way to handle your self-publishing spending. Different businesses have different needs.

It’s always good to find a bargain, but only if the bargain is right for you.


Why Book Covers Matter For Marketing

Often, the most powerful aspects of book marketing are overlooked due to their simplicity.

A lot of self-publishers fall into the trap of seeking out super-complex marketing strategies in the hope of gaining an edge over their competition. While the more advanced aspects of book marketing are indeed powerful, and important, it’s important not to overlook the basics.

One of the most important marketing factors playing into your book’s success is its cover. People believe in the saying that books aren’t judged by their covers. In actual fact, they absolutely are.

Your book’s cover is one of the most important influences the first impression a potential buyer has of your work.

Read on to discover three ways in which your book’s cover is one of the most powerful weapons in your marketing arsenal.

Catching A Reader’s Attention

When book browsers are checking out online marketplaces, such as Amazon’s Kindle store, they are overwhelmed by a wide range of titles.

The sheer volume of book titles available via the Kindle platform means that book buyers don’t spend too much time looking at any one book. It’s important to have a cover which is able to grab a reader’s attention and cause them to stop and consider the book further.

Some of the key factors to make a book’s cover worthy of a browser’s attention are the colors it uses, the size and font of the title and author name, the image used for the background and the brightness and other technical aspects of the cover.

There is no one size fits all formula for a great book cover. Different things work in different genres, and trends come and go over time.

However, it’s vital to avoid certain key mistakes, which are always sure to repel readers.

Making a book cover too crowded means it is not easy on the eye and not persuasive for readers to pay closer attention. Making the title or author name in too small text also puts readers off checking out a book further.

Perhaps the key mistake self-publishers make is creating their cover themselves, without really knowing what they are doing. This almost always results in an amateur cover which makes the entire book seem low-quality, regardless of the written content.

Showing Your Book Fits Expectations

The second reason that your book’s cover is crucial for marketing is that it informs a reader what your book is about.

Titles aren’t always clear, especially in the case of fiction. However, different genres have particular conventions and expectations when it comes to book covers.

If you check out a genre section of the Kindle store, you will soon see that there are conventions in terms of color, type of image, style of font etc. for that particular genre. A horror book, for example, will tend to have darker colors and images than a romance book.

When browsing through an online book store, your book’s cover allows a reader to make a snap judgement as to whether your book is a good match for their expectations in terms of genre.

To utilize this to your advantage, make sure that your book cover design is appropriate and is well received by readers of the genre. Test this ahead of time to see whether your potential cover feels right to actual fans of the specific genre you are writing in. Many self-publishers make the mistake of asking other authors, rather than fans of the genre, for their opinion. Feedback is only useful from the right people.

Don’t miss out on the chance to show readers that your book is right for them. Respect genre conventions.

Showcasing Your Title And Author Name

When you really think about it, what is book marketing all about?

Getting your name out there as an author, and making readers aware of your book titles, right?

Your book titles are a prime opportunity to get your author name and book titles out there in front of the eyes of readers.

This can happen in a variety of ways. Firstly, on online bookstores themselves. Even if book buyers don’t choose your title on a particular occasion, they still become familiar with your author name by being exposed to it. Book covers are also often featured on promotional sites, in online advertising, and in mailing list mailouts. As a result of that, it’s important that your author name, and book title, are clearly visible against the backdrop of your image.

If you spend some time checking out books released by major publishers, and unsuccessful self-published books, you will notice that the title and author text is always very clear on the professional books, and is often less so on the self-published books. There are countless comedy lists showcasing the worst book covers ever, just in case you need a clear example of what to avoid!

The bottom line is that making your author name and book title unclear on your cover hurts you in two ways. It not only ensures that readers miss out on being exposed to your brand – but it also brands your book as unprofessional and low quality.

Book Cover Marketing Summary

Hopefully by now you see that –

Book covers are a crucial marketing factor
Book covers should grab a browser’s attention
Your cover shows your book is right for a genre
Your author name and book title should be clearly displayed

As much as we might like to think otherwise, readers do judge books by their covers.

Don’t miss out on a prime marketing opportunity.

Give your cover the attention it deserves, and you will reap the benefits in extra sales and visibility.


How To Market Your Book - Expert Methods & Resources

Do you ever feel like your book is a tiny fish in a vast ocean swimming with larger, meaner predators?

If you are struggling to get your book noticed, don’t become despondent. It doesn’t necessarily mean your work is bad. You definitely shouldn’t give up. Instead, learn how to market your book.

I’m a firm believer that the majority of self-publishers have more trouble marketing their work than they do create it. Completing the creation of a book, from its initial idea to its final rewrite, is a mammoth task in and of itself. It’s not surprising that writers often have little energy left in the tank for marketing. Plus, there are a seemingly endless array of marketing tactics and methods. It can be difficult to know which to trust and which to avoid.

Thankfully, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Read on to discover the best ways to market your book, as taught by some of the biggest names in the game.

Build Your Author Mailing List

Building an author mailing list is one of the most effective ways to market your book out there. After all, who better to market to than a list of people who have expressed interest in, or even purchased, your work in the past?

According to Jeff Goins, an author mailing list is so effective because it is personal, private and in your control. You don’t have to rely on a platform like Facebook. Instead, you can reach out to your readers directly and start a conversation.

A top tip for getting started is to offer something of value for free. People are far more likely to offer their email address if they know they will be getting something in return. This could be a short story, an excerpt from a nonfiction book, or a chapter of a full novel.

Investing the time into building your mailing list will let you market your books in one of the most effective and targeted ways far into the future.

Use The Best Book Promotion Sites

One of the keys to generating momentum for a newly launched book is to ensure it gets a lot of attention early on. Book promotion sites are one of the most effective ways to generate interest in your work, particularly if you are relatively unknown. An effective book promotion site is able to put your work in front of readers who would never have been otherwise exposed to it.

There is a mix of free and paid book promotion sites, but not all are created equal. It’s important to understand how exactly each site will promote your book, and who it will be promoted to. Some sites offer targeted services to fans of particular genres or topics. It’s always better to target the readers most likely to read your type of book rather than irrelevant and uninterested fans of other genres.

If you are thinking of spending money on a book promotion service, please do your homework first. Check that they have a solid track record of getting results, and take the time to compare their pricing and benefits to whatever else is out there. It’s good to invest in a paid book promotion site but invest carefully. Be cautious.

Showcasing Your Title And Author Name

When you really think about it, what is book marketing all about?

Getting your name out there as an author, and making readers aware of your book titles, right?

Your book titles are a prime opportunity to get your author name and book titles out there in front of the eyes of readers.

This can happen in a variety of ways. Firstly, on online bookstores themselves. Even if book buyers don’t choose your title on a particular occasion, they still become familiar with your author name by being exposed to it. Book covers are also often featured on promotional sites, in online advertising, and in mailing list mailouts. As a result of that, it’s important that your author name, and book title, are clearly visible against the backdrop of your image.

If you spend some time checking out books released by major publishers, and unsuccessful self-published books, you will notice that the title and author text is always very clear on the professional books, and is often less so on the self-published books. There are countless comedy lists showcasing the worst book covers ever, just in case you need a clear example of what to avoid!

The bottom line is that making your author name and book title unclear on your cover hurts you in two ways. It not only ensures that readers miss out on being exposed to your brand – but it also brands your book as unprofessional and low quality.

Run Facebook Ads For Authors

Facebook advertising can be a true game-changer for authors. The benefits are myriad. Targeted Facebook ads can build your author mailing list, grow your Facebook fans and drive traffic towards your free downloads.

Running your first Facebook advertising campaign as an author can be a little intimidating. If you keep the following keys in mind, it should simplify and demystify the process a little.

Target.

Facebook has over 1.8 billion active monthly users. This sounds awesome but is actually a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you can use Facebook ads to reach almost anyone on the planet. On the other, the vast majority do not and will not care about what you have to offer. Target your ads to the most filtered, niche audience possible, and you will see a lot better results.

Budget.

One of the discouraging aspects of Facebook ads for many authors is the worry that the cost and duration of an advertising campaign will spiral out of control. You need to set a strict budget and duration for your campaign. This will allow you to keep your expenditure in check, allowing greater profit overall.

Monitor.

By running different campaigns, for example by targeting different sets of Facebook users, you can assess what is and isn’t working with your Facebook advertising efforts and make changes accordingly. Only by monitoring your ads can you make effective changes to campaigns and invest money into what’s working instead of what isn’t.

Implement Amazon Book Ads

Amazon Book advertising is lesser known and lesser used than Facebook advertising. It can be considered one of the current ‘hot topics’ in ebook marketing, and with good reason. Amazon has made key improvements to their advertising targeting and, as a result, authors are seeing better results than they have in the past. Why?

Amazon is a buyer’s platform. Its users are all shoppers with a history of buying behavior that Amazon understands. This does not apply to Facebook.

Amazon book ads are probably the best chance to get your ads in front of fans of similar authors and styles of writing. If you target your ads, you stand a great chance of reaching readers that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible.

How To Market Your Book? Take Action

Marketing your book effectively requires you to get your hands dirty and take a risk. The methods for marketing your book in this post are tried and tested, but they need to be tried and tested by you.

Truthfully, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to marketing books. Learning how to market your book specifically is something which requires you to test different platforms, monitor your results and understand the reasons why your efforts are or are not working.

By combining the ideas and methods of the book marketing experts listed above with your own firsthand experience, you stand a great chance of experiencing book marketing success.


Amazon Role Models

One of the problems we all face when starting out trying to make money online is knowing exactly what to do, and who to listen to.

It’s absolutely overwhelming. There are a whole host of voices vying for our attention and, more often than not, our cash.

Perhaps the most common mistake when starting out is thinking that we have to discover the right way to do everything for ourselves. We end up spending a lot of time and wasted effort figuring out the most basic of tasks, and inevitably making a lot of mistakes along the way.

I am a firm believer that there is no need to reinvent the wheel in life – and making money online is no different!

Over the coming weeks, NerdyBookGirl will be presenting a series of case studies about people who have absolutely crushed it at making cash on Amazon.

As an introduction to the series, read on to discover how to make the most of Amazon role models, and why they are a serious shortcut to success.

The Killer Benefits Role Models Bring To The Table

The benefits of having a proper role model to follow are too many to fully list. However, some of the key benefits are as follows –

  • Learn from the mistakes of others
  • Follow a tried and tested path
  • Shorten your learning curve
  • Adopt efficient processes

Perhaps the best reason to have a role model for your Amazon endeavors is to avoid fundamental, rookie errors which you would inevitably make on your own.

Think about any new skillset or process you set out to master in your life. There were probably a lot of simple mistakes you made starting out which look absurd in hindsight.

However, as trivial as they may seem in retrospect, the time you spend making and learning from those basic rookie errors is the time you will never recover.

By following the advice of a role model, you eliminate all of the basic rookie stumbling in the dark, and instead, take a more disciplined and focused approach to start out generating wealth on Amazon.

Paying attention to the wisdom of a role model also stops you from trying out an idea which simply wouldn’t work.

If you are new to Amazon then you may have an idea for a product which you think is a sure ticket to success.

However, as plausible as it may seem to an outsider, an Amazon role model may be able to nix your idea right away.

Why? Their experience and familiarity with Amazon allow them to more accurately assess if any given product has a real chance of doing well or not.

This may be down to something as simple as your idea violating one of Amazon’s rules or regulations – something you simply wouldn’t know as a newcomer.

The right role model can also point you down a refined path of learning. Think about a wise professor or teacher – they can give you a helping hand with regards to the best resources, the right things to read and the tried and tested names within any given field.

By following the learning tips and guidelines of a role model who has experienced success on Amazon, you can dramatically shorten the time it takes for you to progress. The end result? More money made in less time.

Who wouldn’t want that?

Who Makes The Right Role Model?

Hopefully, by now, you are sold on the benefits of Amazon role models in general.

Like anything else online, it’s absolutely vital to be discerning and only pay attention to the right people. After all, following bad advice is almost always worse than not following any advice at all.

So, how can you know who to trust when drawing inspiration for Amazon?

You should be able to see some kind of tangible track record of success from anyone you are considering following. If they claim to be able to help you sell a lot of fiction books, for example, you will want to see evidence of their own success, as well as satisfied clients who have in turn been helped by them.

A lack of a clear and credible track record is a major red flag which you always need to listen to, no matter what.

The second key thing to consider when vetting potential role models are the concept of suitability. Basically, ask yourself if someone is the right person for you to learn from.

Something to keep in mind when considering this is how closely the person you are going to be learning from one’s own activities resemble what you want to get into.

For example, if the person you are considering as an Amazon role model has published fiction, but you want to publish non-fiction, wouldn’t it be better to find a role model more closely aligned with your own activities?

Yes, you can almost always learn something from anyone successful – but it’s better to learn as much relevant information from a person as possible.

Another thing to think about when seeking out a role model is what the person’s motivation is, and whether they would be a good fit for your personality.

If it seems like someone is entirely motivated by making money, steer well clear of them. There is no harm or problem with legitimate teachers/experts charging for their services – however, if money is all they care about, you are sure to have problems with them in the future.

Instead, seek out a role model who seems to genuinely care about helping people and sharing their knowledge with them. You are likely to benefit a lot more from the search for a person. You also want to consider whether the potential role model’s personality is a good fit with your own – we are a lot more likely to take on board the ideas and information from a person we genuinely like and get on well with, rather than someone who is very different from yourself.

How To Make The Most Of A Role Model

Once you have found the right role model, it’s important to make the most efficient use of them in order to gain the maximum level of benefit for your own Amazon efforts. Consider the following rules for making the most out of a role model relationship –

1. NO ONE IS PERFECT

A trap you must avoid falling into is seeing anyone role model as infallible or seeing them as some kind of guru whose advice cannot be questioned.

Understand that even the best online money making experts, even the people with the most knowledge and experience, are just people like you or me. They still make mistakes and can still give bad advice.

Of course, if you have been careful to find the right Amazon role model, then they will give less bad advice than you would expect on average. However, it’s still crucial to avoid following them blindly. Instead, listen to their ideas and suggestions, but always remain a critical, logical frame of assessment towards them.

2. TRY THINGS FOR YOURSELF

It can be tempting to fall into the trap of becoming addicted to ideas and information.

This occurs when you spend an excessive amount of time learning about the many ideas and avenues which exist for you on Amazon – instead of actually putting them into practice and seeing which you are able to experience success with!

It’s a lot better to take one, actionable piece of advice your Amazon role model talks about, and actually implementing it before moving on and trying out anything else.

This will ensure you avoid the trap of information overload and instead focus on seeing what really does and does not work for you.

3. CONSIDER IF ADVICE IS A GOOD FIT

Sometimes, your Amazon role model may offer you some advice which is good advice – just not for your circumstance.

Always consider if whether the advice on offer is right for you. For example, some good ways of making money on Amazon may require some form of upfront cost, for example taking out Facebook ads to drive traffic towards a particular product.

This may be a tried and tested strategy which has worked for many – but if you don’t have the advertising budget to make it work, it’s not right for you.

Never fail to consider whether you have the resources at your disposal, and the timescale over which to use them, in order to make any Amazon strategy work out.

4. NEVER FEEL CONSTRAINED

Realize that an Amazon role model’s job is to guide you – not to constrain you.

You should never feel as if you are held back simply because a role model suggests you should do things a certain way, but you want to try out something else.

Never be afraid to trust your intuition, and to try things out for yourself. Learning from your own mistakes can be valuable at times.

Ideally, you will use the ideas and advice of your Amazon as a foundation, on which you can then build your own approach.

Role Model Roundup

So there you have it – the main reasons why you need an Amazon role model in your life, and some of the best ways to ensure you thrive on the advice offered.

So, who should you consider as a candidate for your Amazon role model?

Don’t worry – NerdyBookGirl has got you covered.

Starting soon, we will be presenting you with some case studies on tried and tested Amazon champs, and how you can apply their ideas and experiences to your own online endeavors.


KD Spy vs KDP Rocket vs Kindle Samurai [2019]

Welcome to the showdown between the big beasts of the world of Kindle keyword software!

In this article, we will delve deep into the tools which claim to turbocharge your Kindle publication efforts through strategic keyword research and competitive analysis.

If you’ve ever had the experience of investing your hard earned cash into a product or service which failed to live up to the hype, you know how badly it sucks. It can even cause us to become cynical, doubtful that any products are trustworthy and live up to the hype.

Thankfully, help is at hand. We have taken the time to test, explore and review the three big players within the world of Kindle keyword software: KD Spy, Kindle Samurai and KDP Rocket.

So, read on to discover –

  • How Kindle Keyword Software Can Help You
  • Kindle Keyword Software Deals & Guarantees
  • KD Spy VS Kindle Samurai VS KDP Rocket –  Features Compared
  • The NerdyBookGirl Pick For Best Overall Choice

By the end of this article, you’ll have a full understanding of how to make the most of your chosen Kindle keyword software, and which is right for your needs.

Benefits Of Kindle Keyword Software

Perhaps you’re sitting there thinking ‘why should I even care about this software?’. If so, I totally understand. It’s not immediately obvious why you would want to invest in something like this. In a nutshell, using keyword software can help you in the following ways –

  • Using carefully researched keywords in your title and subtitle can help the right readers find your book
  • You can write a book safe in the knowledge that there is actual demand for your idea before you get started
  • You can see how competitive certain niches are and whether they are worth your time
  • You can look for beatable competitor books which you can gain a solid competitive advantage over

Some people have moral qualms over keyword software, seeing it as ‘gaming the system’ or some other form of tomfoolery. In actual fact, there is no way to ‘game the system’. Do you really think Amazon would allow it? They have strict policies over keyword usage. If you violate them, your book will get taken down – simple as that.

Therefore, using keyword software is very much playing by the rules, and is simply a way of giving your book a helping hand.

Kindle Keyword Software Deals & Guarantees

Before we go deep into the features offered by each of our analyzed keyword software, I want you to feel safe in the knowledge that you can spend money without any risk. Therefore, let’s take a look at the guarantees offered by each software.

KD Spy – 60 Day No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee

Kindle Samurai – 30 Day Conditional Guarantee (will only refund you if they can’t fix an error within 72 hours)

KDP Rocket – 30 Day No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee

As you can see, you can try KD Spy an KDP Rocket with complete confidence in getting a refund if it’s not to your liking.

You need to be a bit more cautious with Kindle Samurai as they only offer refunds in the case of errors that can’t be fixed within 72 hours. This is a serious disadvantage over KD Spy and KDP Rocket.

KD SpyKDP Rocket Kindle Samurai
Price$47$97$9
Guaranteed Refund Period 6030None
Standalone SoftwareNoYesYes
Windows Compatible YesYesYes
Mac Compatible YesYes3rd Paty Only
Shows Google Demand Data
NoYesYes
Shows Amazon Demand DataNoYesNo
Level of Keyword Analysis BasicDetailedBasic
Level of Competition AnalysisBasic DetailedBasic
See Book Cover In AppNoYesNo
Read Reviews In AppNoYesNo

Kindle Keyword Software Showdown – Idea Research Comparison

Let’s take a closer look at one of the main purposes of Kindle keyword software – researching your book idea. We’ll explain the basic principle behind the process, before looking at each of our three contenders’ capabilities in turn.

The basic principle behind finding a good book idea is to ensure that there is demand for your idea in order to justify the investment of time required to write and publish it. This requires taking a quantified, analytical approach, in order to judge whether the amount of people looking for your idea justifies pursuing it further.

Now let’s take a look at each Kindle keyword software’s idea research capabilities.

KD SPY IDEA RESEARCH

KD Spy is more heavily focused on finding Kindle categories than it is on researching keyword ideas. However, it claims to be useful in that area as well, so let’s see exactly what it offers.

One way in which you can use KD Spy to research ideas is to check out its ‘word cloud’ feature which shows you the words used in titles of books selling well within a certain category. This isn’t especially useful as you just end up with a list of really obvious words that are heavily derivative and are unlikely to represent a new, original, book idea. It’s also next to useless for fiction, because who wants to base their title off a mashup of other fiction book titles?

The other main way to use KD Spy to research an idea is to conduct a search with a seed keyword. The software then uses what seems to be Amazon’s autosuggest function to generate a list of ideas based on what you’ve entered. You are given a red, yellow or green light for each, with green being the easiest to compete in, and red being the hardest. This is a bit basic as there is no easy way to differentiate between two ideas with the same color rating.

You can then go into each idea individually in order to look at more data on it, but this does not make it easy to compare multiple ideas at once, and KD Spy does not attempt to show you the number of searches for an idea on Google or on Amazon.

Overall, using KD Spy for the purposes of finding a good keyword based idea is not ideal. The software is more geared towards finding categories and therefore isn’t the best choice for idea research, as it lacks too many needed features, such as Google and Amazon search volume.

Kindle Samurai Idea Research

Kindle Samurai makes no secret of the fact that its main purpose is keyword research. It’s more limited in scope in that sense than KD Spy and KDP Rocket. So let’s see exactly what it’s made of and how it can be used to research a book idea.

With Kindle Samurai, you can enter an idea and it will use a mixture of Google search data and Amazon autosuggest to generate a list of keywords. The interface for generating keywords is a little bit clunky and confusing, especially in comparison with KD Spy and KDP Rocket. In general, Kindle Samurai is very much a no-frills option on the visual presentation side of things. It’s clear enough, but definitely not pretty. Think of using a spreadsheet and you have a good idea of what the user experience resembles.

For each keyword analyzed, you can see data such as the number of Google searches, the number of results for each keyword, the average price for books ranking in that keyword, and whether Samurai thinks the keyword is ‘bad’, ‘difficult’ or ‘excellent’. This is again a basic level of analysis, similar to the traffic light system used by KD Spy, which is not that useful. You have to do a lot of work to meaningfully figure out the difference between two keywords rated as ‘excellent’, for example.

Overall, Kindle Samurai is better for research than KD Spy, but has a lot of disadvantages. It’s also really ugly, so if you don’t enjoy staring at plain looking spreadsheets, this isn’t the software for you.

KDP ROCKET IDEA RESEARCH

KDP Rocket has made significant improvements to its functionality since launching. Let’s take a look at the process of using KDP Rocket to research a book idea through the use of keywords.

KDP Rocket has a much more intuitive layout than the other two keyword tools mentioned in this article – you can easily click a big, bright ‘keyword search’ button on its home screen. This attractive presentation is nicer than that found in KDSpy and a LOT nicer than Samurai, but what about the functionality? After all, a pretty package is useless if it fails to deliver core functionality.

To research idea keywords with KDP Rocket, you simply enter a seed keyword, and Rocket gives you a list of possible ideas, based on Google as well as Amazon search data.

The absolutely killer feature which gives KDP Rocket an advantage over KD Spy and Kindle Samurai is its presentation of both Google search volume for an idea, and estimated Amazon search volume as well. The estimated Amazon search volume is not found anywhere else – this alone makes KDP Rocket seriously worthy of your attention. After all, knowing how many people are searching for a keyword on Amazon itself equals some very useful, very actionable competitive intelligence.

The final way in which KDP Rocket has improved upon its older rivals is by offering a score between 1-99 showing the difficulty of competing for any given keyword. This is much better than the overly simplistic analysis found in KD Spy and Kindle Samurai. After all, it’s much easier to instantly know the difference between ideas with scores of 20 and 30 than it is to trawl through the data related to two ideas marked ‘green’ or ‘excellent’.

Overall, KDP Rocket offers a higher level of functionality than KD Spy and Kindle Samurai, and is more aesthetically pleasing and intuitive.

Kindle Keyword Software Showdown – Idea Research Verdicts

Best – KDP Rocket
Runner Up – Kindle Samurai
Worst – KD Spy

KD Spy comes in last place due to its extensive limitations as an idea research tool. Kindle Samurai offers a good basic level of functionality, while KDP Rocket is the clear winner due to several unique features not found elsewhere.

Kindle Keyword Software Showdown – Competitor Analysis Comparison

Finding a good idea is only one half of the cake – it’s also essential to determine what the competition is like for each idea, and to identify areas of potential competitive advantage, in order to ensure your book is able to convert search volume into sales volume.

In this section of our showdown, we’ll take a look at the competitor analysis capabilities of our three pieces of Kindle keyword software, before ranking them on this aspect of the book research process.

KD SPY COMPETITOR RESEARCH

If KD Spy is somewhat lacking as an idea research tool, it is a lot better as a competitor analysis software. This is somewhat frustrating as having one without the other is far from ideal.

To look at the competition on KD Spy, you need to first enter a keyword, in order to generate a results page. This is fine if you have the right keyword already, but as stated, finding it through KD Spy alone is less than ideal. On the results page, you can see the basic data needed to analyze the competition, such as the price of each competing book, the number of reviews, the average review score, the estimated sales etc. No complaints about the data here. However, the presentation is a little hard on the eyes, albeit not as much as Kindle Samurai.

It’s worth emphasizing once more that KD Spy is a browser extension, so you are required to have your browser open at all times while using Spy. This obviously leaves you vulnerable to the potential disruption of a browser crash ending your research session prematurely. This isn’t a major downside, however it’s something to be aware of.

One cool thing about KD Spy is the ability to track the rank of a book over a period of time – however this is only really useful if there is a specific title you are going up against. One downside to KD Spy is it does not allow you to see the book cover in the browser extension, only on the Amazon page itself. It also does not allow you to read the reviews for any given title in the extension.

Overall, the data provided with which to analyze the competition is decent, but the lack of a good idea research capability means that you’ll probably have to validate your initial idea elsewhere.

KINDLE SAMURAI COMPETITOR RESEARCH

Some people think that you can’t use Kindle Samurai to analyze competition. They’re wrong. You can – but probably shouldn’t!

For any given keyword, Kindle Samurai will show you the data for the front page for that keyword only. This is a serious limitation in comparison to KD Spy and KDP Rocket. It also presents the data in its trademark ‘ugly spreadsheet’ aesthetic. The data presented for each title is a little lacking – it offers the basics like rank, reviews, pages etc. but doesn’t calculate earnings for you, meaning you have to do math for each and every title (who wants that?).

You also can’t see the actual reviews for each book, only the average score, and you can’t see the book cover either. Seeing as the book cover is an absolutely essential aspect of competitive analysis, and reading the reviews is a must to judge areas on which to gain a competitive advantage, there is absolutely no point whatsoever in using Kindle Samurai as your competition research tool.

Overall, this is not good enough. The number of results shown is too few and the data presented is lacking. Kindle Samurai is not a good choice here.

KDP ROCKET COMPETITOR RESEARCH

We’ve established that KDP Rocket is the best choice for researching a book idea. However, can it go 2 for 2 and clean up in the competitor research showdown?

You can research a competitor in one of two ways on Rocket. Either use one of your ‘keyword search’ results, and open it in a new ‘competition search’ tab, or directly search for a keyword to analyze the competition on.

One cool thing about Rocket is the way in which you can easily go back and forth between the ‘keyword search’ and ‘competition search’ tabs. The presentation is also a lot more easy on the eye than KD Spy or Kindle Samurai.

So, what about the functionality and data offered?

KDP Rocket offers all of the standard data, such as the price of the book, the number of reviews, the average review score etc. However, it also offers aspects not found in either competing software.

Some of the unique aspects to KDP Rocket’s competitor research process include its calculation of both daily and monthly earnings, and the ability to see a full list of reviews as well as the book cover within the actual software itself. This is awesome. You can also see whether the reviews are verified or not – something not offered by the other Kindle keyword software, despite the fact verified reviews have a lot more weight on Amazon than unverified reviews.

This detailed, rich, qualitative and quantitative mix of competitive data, coupled with the seamless integration with the ‘idea search’, means KDP Rocket is a really powerful book research solution.

Overall, this is a fantastic function of KDP Rocket. It is impressive due to its presentation, unique data offered, and seamless integration with Rocket’s keyword search.

Kindle Keyword Software Showdown – Competitor Research Verdicts

Best – KDP Rocket
Runner Up – KD Spy
Worst – Kindle Samurai

KDP Rocket, once again, is a clear winner here. It offers better data presented in a nicer way. KD Spy is good, but the lack of a good idea search capability makes its competitor research a lot less useful than it could be. Kindle Samurai is simply not good enough when compared with the other two options.

Kindle Keyword Software Showdown – Final Verdicts

Now that we’ve taken a detailed look at the capabilities of all three software packages, let’s sum up the pros and cons of each, and see who might be the ideal customer for each option.

Kindle Keyword Software Showdown – The Winner

So, by now, a clear winner has emerged – KDP Rocket.

I truly feel that this is the best choice out there for both idea research and competition research, and I’m confident if you try it for yourself you will agree with me.

I like the fact that KDP Rocket has been created by a trusted, known name in the self-publishing community – Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur.

I feel that the $97 price can easily be recouped through the profitable book ideas you’ll find with KDP Rocket. I also feel safe making this my top pick as the no questions asked money back guarantee means you can give it a go for yourself without worry.

You can read my in-depth exploration of KDP Rocket here.

So, there you have it. A guide to the world of Kindle keyword software.

Now go and rock it with Rocket, and send your book research into the stratosphere (what do you mean my puns are awful?!?).

KD SPY FINAL VERDICT

Good Points

Good for tracking a particular book
Decent competitor research functionality
Good for exploring categories

Bad Points

Only available as a browser extension
Subpar as an idea research tool
Averagely attractive layout

Is It Right For Me?

If your main focus is on Kindle categories, KD Spy could be worth checking out as a budget option. If you want to research your book idea, or analyze the competition, there are better options.

KINDLE SAMURAI FINAL VERDICT

Good Points

Cheap
Decent basic keyword research tool

Bad Points

No money back guarantee (only a conditional, obtuse promise to fix issues)
Spammy sales tactics (a fake discount countdown timer on the sales page)
Horrible presentation
Very lacking competition research capabilities

Is It Right For Me?

If you want to spend the least amount of money possible, and don’t mind the lack of a refund guarantee, you might want to check out Kindle Samurai. However, if you are in anyway serious about book idea research, you’ll eventually want to buy something better. So why not cut the wait time and buy something better right away?

KDP ROCKET FINAL VERDICT

Good Points

The highest level of functionality
The most attractive and intuitive presentation
Unique functionality in both idea and competitor research modes

Bad Points

A slightly more premium price (more than KD Spy) for an undeniably premium product

Is It Right For Me?

If you are serious about finding a book idea with real profit potential, and conducting the highest level of competitor research out there, KDP Rocket is well worth your attention. $97 for lifetime access is excellent. This does everything KD Spy does, but better. It also does a lot more.


Featured Niche - Self Help

Welcome to a new series on NerdyBookGirl in which we will take a look at some of the best niches to consider placing your self-published book.

The series is intended to help you in one of two ways – either to open your eyes to a niche you might not have considered publishing in before, or to help you narrow down your existing idea and find a natural home for it.

For a particular niche to make the series, it needs to offer both evergreen potential, and also represent something most people could potentially publish in. That means if you see a niche featured here, we don’t just think it’s a niche which makes money, but a niche which could make you money.

So, without further ado, let’s crack into our first NerdyBookGirl Featured Niche, self-help.

What Is The Self-Help Niche About?

Perhaps you have an idea of what a self-help book is all about in your mind. Perhaps you’ve made use of such books yourself in the past.

What most people fail to realize, however, is that self-help is typically a much broader spectrum of books than they perhaps realized. It runs the full range from kind of slushy, touchy-feely titles, through to pull no punches, Fight Club style advice.

Broadly speaking, any book in existence has one of two purposes – to entertain or to solve a problem.

Self-help is very explicit about its purpose – it sets out to solve problems. The scope of the problem it seeks to solve may vary from very general, non-specific problems, through to more specific, niche topics. The whole gamut of problems and their prevalence can be found in the body of self-help titles.

The lasting appeal of self-help is due to the fact that human beings will always seek advice to the things which bother us or hold us back in life. That is why some of the top self-help titles are still selling immense numbers of copies decades after their original publication.

Simply put, there will always be a market for good advice.

Within the broad umbrella of self-help exists a number of more niche submarkets, such as self-help for single people, self-help for marriage or self-help for people with a range of psychological health conditions. More specific niche variants of self-help may be dealt with in future installments of this series – however, for the purposes of this article, we are considering self-help as a broad, umbrella genre.

Why Self-Help Represents A Good Niche

Unlike many other well-selling topics, self-help is truly evergreen.

The public’s interest in certain flash in the pan topics, like vampire romances, or Pokemon go, may wax or wane – but people seeking advice with the things which give their life pain will never go away.

As mentioned, self-help can range in scope from very general topics, such as how to be effective, through to very niche topics, such as how to apply Stoic philosophy to business negotiations.

This means that there is no shortage of ideas whatsoever for you to access the self-help genre from a creator’s perspective.

No matter who you are, or the kind of life you have had, you will have faced problems at some point. Chances are, you will have approached these problems from a frame of reference which is different from other people who approached similar problems.

This means that you have a unique background in solving particular problems in a particular way. Your experience may be able to speak to others in a way which touches and reaches them like nothing else out there can.

Say, for example, you have a health condition, which you have learned some really good approaches to managing over the years. You also happen to be a woman in her early 30s.

Your advice and experience relating to your illness are likely to be a lot more relevant to another woman in her early 30s than, for example, an older man in his 50s. Your perspective is therefore inherently valuable as it offers the chance to reach people who may not otherwise be reached.

Another key reason why self-help is an important niche to consider is the fact that it represents a genuine chance to make a difference to people and bring some benefit to their life.

If you are someone who is motivated by helping others, and seeing the difference you can make in life, then self-help is a genre you should absolutely consider writing in.

It represents a good combination of a genre with sustained interest, a multitude of ways to approach writing about it, and the genuine chance to benefit others.

Strategic Angles To Access The Niche

So now that we’ve taken an overview of self-help as a genre, and looked at some of the main reasons it represents a good opportunity for you to write in, let’s consider some of the strategic angles you can use to break into this marketplace.

A NICHE VARIANT OF WHAT’S SELLING

A key strategy for entering into the self-help genre is to consider what is already selling, and considering whether there is some way you can make a more specific, niche version of an already successful title.

For example, let’s consider the area of self-help which is based around helping people to develop habits.

A plausible top-selling title within this area of the self-help genre may be entitled something like ‘How To Form The Right Habits’.

You may see this title and think about different ways in which you could make a more niche variety of the broad idea, for example, ‘How To Form The Right Business Habits’ or ‘How Millionaires Form Habits’.

Don’t be afraid to consider niche brainstorms of almost any successful title. By changing elements such as the target market’s age, gender, purpose or background, you are likely to be able to find a lot of potential varieties of a title which is already working.

Don’t just assume that any niche variant will automatically work. Make sure to do some market research into the demand for your idea, and also to consider it from a common sense perspective. A lot of topics will only be right for a particular age group or gender, for example, and trying to niche down their market inappropriately is a recipe for failure.

A BOOK VERSION OF A HOT TOPIC

A lot of the most popular and successful books actually start life somewhere else, such as in blog format.

This conversion of existing source material to book form is a strategy you may wish to consider when looking for a way to enter the self-help market for yourself.

An effective way to do this is by seeking out a topic on which there are several blogs publishing regularly, getting engagement from their readers – but on which there is no book currently published.

This requires spending some time browsing the search engines to locate potential ideas. Searching for your self-help idea followed by ‘forum’ is a way in which you can discover active areas of discussion around almost any self-help topic.

If you are able to find an active, passionate forum which is based on a topic which does not currently have a book based on it, then you may have stumbled across the next self-help goldmine.

A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE YOU HAVE

The previous two strategies for entering the self-help genre for yourself have focused around seeing what is already selling, and finding a way to put your own approach to that.

This strategy instead takes the opposite starting point – thinking about a unique perspective you have which there may be some demand for.

Start by brainstorming all of the roles and identities you have in life – for example father, student, boss, husband etc.

Then, brainstorm all of the situations you have faced, overcome or have some experience in, such as cancer survival, stress management etc.

You may be able to come up with some combination of perspective and experience, such as Stress Management For Married Bosses, that stands a chance of helping people with their own problems, and in turn generating you money.

Before you launch full throttle into your own idea, carry out a little bit of market research. Make sure your perspective and idea actually are unique, and try and ascertain that people are searching for similar material on Google. You can find out how to do this here.

Self-Help Summary

By now you know –

  1. Why Self-Help Is Worth Your Attention
  2. Why Almost Anyone Can Enter The Self-Help Market
  3. Specific Strategies For Your Self-Help Success

Let’s end on a note of caution – although it’s fine to make money through helping others, money should never be your sole motivation.

In order to experience success in self-help publishing, it’s better if you genuinely care about helping others.

Why?

Simply put, the depth and quality of help you offer are likely to reflect your commitment to making a genuine difference in your reader’s lives.

The quality of your help determines the quality of your book, which in turn lead to your reviews and sales figures, which of course end up determining the almighty revenue figure for any given project.

The bottom line?

The more help you offer, the more money you’ll make.

It really is that simple.

Now go and help yourself by exploring whether a self-help publishing project is a good option for you.


KDP Rocket Review

What This Review Will Cover

KDP Rocket – Who, What and Why?
KDP Rocket Features
Who Is KDP Rocket For?
KDP Rocket Practical Info
KDP Rocket – The Prof Verdict

KDP Rocket – Who, What and Why?

In this day and age, it’s important to know the story behind a product, and the person behind the product, before parting with your hard earned cash.

So does KDP Rocket have a legit origin story?

The software has been created by Dave Chesson, who has shared his book marketing knowledge online and has grown to be a major name within the niche. You might even have used Dave’s tools before – he’s the man behind the widely used Kindle sales calculator.

Dave’s spoken of his frustration at the tedium of trying to validate a book idea before writing it. KDP Rocket was his solution to his own personal pain point. He claims that it automates and improves upon his own book idea and competition research process.

Enough with the backstory. Let’s get to it. We’ll start by checking out KDP Rocket’s features and seeing if they live up to their promise.

KDP Rocket Features

When you open KDP Rocket, you are presented with a nicely laid out home menu screen, which contains three options – ‘Idea Search’, ‘Competition Search’ and ‘AMS Keywords Search’. This review will explore the ‘Idea Search’ and ‘Competition Search’ features of KDP Rocket as advertising will be covered in a different, in-depth article at a later date.

By clicking on either ‘idea search’ or ‘competitor search’ in the above image taken from the start screen of KDP Rocket, you can begin your research process.

The video tutorial allows you to watch a runthrough of KDP Rocket’s key features. It’s useful but doesn’t really require any further attention here.

Instead, let’s look at each of KDP Rocket’s two main features in turn and see exactly how they work and what they are used for.

KDP ROCKET FEATURES – IDEA SEARCH

The Idea Search feature of KDP Rocket can be reached through the home screen, like this –

Or by clicking on the bright orange Idea Search button found at the top right of the software at any time, like this –

Clicking Idea Search allows you to enter a keyword into the search box, as shown here –

Think of this keyword as your ‘seed’ or ‘basic idea’ from which a more detailed topic will emerge.

For the purpose of this review, we decided to go with the example idea of ‘Twitter Marketing’, in order to illustrate Idea Search and show you how it works from the inside.

After searching for your initial book idea, you’ll come to a screen which looks like this –

So what exactly is happening in that image, and why is it useful for you? Let’s break it down.

When carrying out an idea search, you are presented with the following headings for each keyword displayed –

A keyword is simply the list of keywords generated by Rocket related to your idea. You’ll notice that Rocket took our initial idea of Twitter Marketing and really ran with it, showing niche variants of the idea like ‘Twitter Marketing Excellence’ and ‘Twitter Marketing Blueprints’.

Number Of Competitors is the number of books that currently rank for a given keyword on the Amazon platform. This gives you a useful way of initially gauging competition levels before delving any deeper into the competitive research process.

Average Monthly Earnings shows how much money the books ranking on the front page for a keyword are making a month. This is a good way of making sure your book idea is actually a profitable opportunity ahead of time.

Google Searches Per Month is, unsurprisingly, the number of times your keyword is searched for on Google each month. This is a good way of gauging general interest levels in your idea.

Estimated Amazon Searches/Month is one of the most impressive aspects of KDP Rocket. It calculates an approximation of how many people are looking for your idea on Amazon. After all, Amazon is a buyer’s search engine, so Amazon demand for an idea is a clear indicator of its profit potential.

Competitive Score gives you a value between 1 and 99 estimating how difficult it would be to rank for your idea keyword on Amazon. This is similar to some search engine tools. This is basically a great way of figuring out how much effort your project will require, and if it’s worth pursuing.

The final column of the idea search screen will show one of two options – ‘analyze’ or ‘check competition’.

Clicking analyze will pull all of the data for a given keyword. This is great as it keeps KDP Rocket running fast by avoiding pulling data on keywords you think aren’t right for your project.

Clicking check competition will bring you to the ‘Competition Searches’ feature, which we’ll get to soon.

KDP ROCKET IDEA SEARCH – THE VERDICT

So is this feature useful and well put together?

The best things about KDP Rocket’s idea search are its clean layout, the fact it expands upon your initial idea for you, the average monthly earnings calculation, and its ability to estimate the number of Amazon searches.

If you’ve ever tried to figure these things out manually, you’ll know this is a real timesaver.

On the negative side, newbies might not immediately understand exactly why all of this information is useful.

Overall, Idea Search is excellent. It provides a wealth of information and, best of all, integrates seamlessly with KDP Rocket’s ‘Competition Search’ feature, which we will get to now.

Clicking ‘New Competition Search’ on the top right of KDP Rocket at any time –

Or clicking ‘check competition’ for a particular keyword on the Idea Search screen –

We’ll explore Competition Search by analyzing one of our Idea Search keywords from the previous section, in this case, ‘Twitter Marketing Tips’.

When reaching the Competition Search screen, you will see the following –

The screen consists of the following headings –

Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.

A title is the main title of each book, as it is registered on Amazon. It’s worth noting that each result on the Competition Search screen is an actual book found on the Kindle store at the time of your search.

Subtitle shows the subtitle of the book as it officially appears on Amazon. I say this because sometimes the subtitle on the cover of the book and the official Amazon subtitle will slightly differ.

The author shows the author name for each title. If you see Stephen King or JK Rowling here, you know you are in for a tougher time!

Age displays the number of days since the book was released onto the Kindle store. This is useful in judging whether a title is an evergreen, or whether there is a gap in the market for new titles.

ABSR shows the Amazon Bestseller Rank for each title. This is a number which shows how many copies a title has sold recently in relation to other titles. The larger the number, the less successful a given title is. For example, a book with an ABSR of 10 is doing amazingly, while a book with an ABSR of 400,000 is not doing so well.

KW T shows whether a book has your keyword phrase in its title. By placing a keyword phrase in the book title, you stand a better chance of ranking for that keyword, all else being equal, against a book which does not have the keyword in the title.

KW ST shows whether a book has the keyword phrase in its subtitle. This is a ranking factor similar to, but less significant than, having the keyword in the title.

#Reviews is, simply, the number of reviews a title has on the Kindle store. Books with a lot of good reviews are harder to beat than books with fewer reviews.

A review is the average review score on Amazon, out of 5. Books with a lower average review score are, of course, easier to beat out than books with a higher average review score.

Price shows you the price in $ for each title. You can gauge the market price for your idea and potentially look for an opportunity to either undercut the competition and compete on price or charge a premium price for a superior product.

DY Sales shows an estimate of the daily sales for each book, based on its ABSR number.

Mo. Sales show an estimate of the monthly sales for each book, based on its ABSR number.

Sales Page offers you the chance to see a book’s Amazon sales page, in your browser, in order to see if it looks like a possible area where your title could gain a competitive advantage, or to see the general standard you’ll need to match or exceed in order to compete.

Clicking on any particular title will bring up a useful summary of its info, its book cover, and its reviews at the bottom of the screen, like this –

The above screen is super useful when considering competing against any particular book, as book covers are one of the main factors in whether a book sells or not, and offer a real opportunity to attain competitive advantage over another title.

KDP ROCKET COMPETITION SEARCH – THE VERDICT

Competition Search is a seriously powerful weapon in your book marketing arsenal. Too many times authors fail to carry out basic business principles like competitive analysis before launching a title. To be fair, the process used to be so tedious that reluctance to carry it out was understandable, if not justified.

KDP Rocket makes everything so simple and straightforward that there is no excuse not to do due diligence before writing and launching a title.

The Competition Search feature is my favorite part of KDP Rocket as it gives you both quantitative and qualitative data upon which to base your book idea research. You can accurately judge how difficult your competition will be to beat across a range of key metrics such as price, number of reviews, average review score etc. You can also quickly and easily spot opportunities for competitive advantage in terms of book cover and weaknesses identified by the reviews.

The only real downside to Competition Search is the fact it may be a little intimidating for newcomers. The tutorials address this concern, but someone unfamiliar with marketing who comes across a screen full of acronyms like ‘ABSR’ ‘KWT’ and ‘KWST’ for the first time may be slightly overwhelmed at first glance.

Who Is KDP Rocket For?

Now that you know what KDP Rocket does, let’s consider who it is right for.

If you are any of the following, you will find KDP Rocket useful –

  • An aspiring author looking to write your first book, wanting to make sure it stands a chance of success ahead of time
  • An experienced self-publisher looking for a commercially viable opportunity in an increasingly crowded marketplace
  • An online entrepreneur who has no interest in writing a book personally, but is simply looking to make money through the process of outsourcing
  • Someone looking to grow their existing online business through an ebook, and wanting to get an overview of the commercial situation within your niche

The beauty of KDP Rocket is it allows you to go into the process in as much depth as you want. It would help you with a situation of any complexity, from something as simple as seeing if anyone is searching for your idea, to something as in-depth calculating the estimated monthly net profit you will generate over a period of time.

KDP Rocket Practical Info

KDP Rocket costs $97 as a one-off payment, no subscription required
KDP Rocket works on both Mac and PC
KDP Rocket comes with a 30 day money back guarantee

KDP Rocket – The Prof Verdict

Overall, I can safely say this is an absolutely solid product that is head and shoulders above anything else out there right now, including Kindle Samurai and KD Spy.

It manages to blend rich levels of numerical data with a crisp, clean interface which is easy to navigate and intuitive to use.

Finally, the creator of KDP Rocket is a trustworthy name. It’s reassuring to buy software developed by a genuine self-publisher with a spotless track record for quality content and advice related to self-publishing.

If you think ebooks represent a chance for you to increase your online earnings, KDP Rocket is a must-have tool that gives you the best chance possible of commercial success.

The 30-day money back guarantee means there’s no reason not to check it out for yourself and see if it’s right for you.


How To Find A Winning Book Idea

Writing a book is an exciting and consuming task.

It’s easy to get caught up in the process of creation without thinking carefully about the commercial prospects of the work.

Not every book needs to be written with a purely financial motive. After all, there’s nothing wrong with creating for the sake of doing so. On the other hand, the time and money spent on creating a brand new book are in no way insignificant. After pouring your heart and soul, not to mention many months or even years of your life into creating something special, it’s great to have your efforts validated with significant sales.

So how do you give your book the best possible chance of success?

It’s essential to think from a marketing perspective before you write your first word. The first stage in the marketing process is market research. The basic purpose of market research is to make sure there is demand for your idea, and that you have a chance of offering something better than the existing books on your idea.

Assessing demand and competitive potential can be achieved either manually or through the use of specialist software. We’ll now take a look at both approaches.

Researching Your Book Idea

A common piece of advice offered to writers is to ‘write what you know’. While it’s definitely important to have knowledge and enthusiasm about your chosen subject matter, it’s not enough to guarantee that your output will be well-received.

It’s important to ensure that a market exists for your book and people will be served by the information or story you provide.

Google and Amazon are two of the most useful places to assess the demand for your book idea.

Using the free tool KWFinder, you can put search phrases related to your book idea into the tool, and it will return ideas on the types of related topics people are actively interested in, along with relative demand levels, as seen below.

As we can see from the above image, ‘learn to play guitar’ is a more popular search topic than ‘guitar lessons for beginners’. If you were thinking about writing a book of this nature, you would already have a clearer idea of what people really want.

While checking for demand on Google isn’t exactly the same as checking on Amazon, it still indicates the extent in general that people are interested in your topic.

KDP Rocket is software which allows you to check out a wealth of data related to your book idea.

As seen below, after you enter an initial phrase related to your idea, KDP Rocket will provide a list of relevant topics that people are searching for on both Google and Amazon. In addition to showing the demand on Google, KDP Rocket also estimates the level of demand for your idea on Amazon.

The benefit of estimating the level of demand on Amazon is it helps to ensure that people are actually willing to pay money for your book idea. After all, there are a lot of topics which would interest people enough to search for on Google, but not to spend money on to buy an actual book.

This process of research can also help your creativity. By checking out what people are looking for on Google and on Amazon, you may be pointed in a slightly different direction than you had assumed.

Whichever way you decide to carry out your book research process, doing so gives you the peace of mind to proceed with writing, safe in the knowledge that people are legitimately interested in what you have to offer, and are ready to spend money on it.

Researching The Competition

If you’re thinking of buying a book, the odds are you don’t impulsively click ‘buy’ on the first book that seems slightly relevant. After all, the online book marketplace is so vast, there are almost always multiple books related to any given topic.

Instead, book buyers are likely to consider the various upsides and downsides of the books on offer to them and choose the most appealing option.

Some of the factors that affect the competitive appeal of any given book include the –

⦁ Book Cover. Readers DO judge books by their cover, so if you spot only awful looking covers on your competitor’s books, you know exactly where your potential competitive advantage exists.
⦁ Reviews. Book buyers will consider the number of reviews, the overall review score and also the quality of the reviews, such as whether they are verified or written in an authentic way.
⦁ Subtitle. A book’s subtitle can drive home the message of what a book is about, and also help it show up in the search results for certain phrases. Finding competing books with poor or nonexistent subtitles is a great area of opportunity.
⦁ Book Description. Chances are, if a book looks appealing, a potential buyer will take the time to read its description. The enticing and well-presented book description is an effective way to convert an interested browser into a definite buyer. If the competing books have badly written or ugly descriptions, you know how to gain an advantage.

Just as with your initial idea search, your competition research can be carried out either manually or using KDP Rocket.

To carry out the process manually, spend some time browsing around Kindle, or your online bookstore of choice, and open all of the books which would potentially compete against yours in new browser tabs.

Make notes on the relative strengths and weaknesses of each of the books, and note down opportunities you have to beat out your rivals with a better offering.

If you decide to use KDP Rocket to analyze your competition, you’ll see a screen like this –

Without having to leave KDP Rocket, you are able to quickly and easily see the following competitive data related to your book idea –

⦁ Age of book
⦁ If your chosen keyword is in the book’s title and subtitle
⦁ How many reviews a competing book has
⦁ The review score of any competing book
⦁ The book’s sales page
⦁ Competing book covers

This allows you to carefully find a competitive angle without having to go through the laborious manual process of endless browser tabs and notes.

Regardless of whether you choose to carry out manual research or instead opt for KDP Rocket, you need to answer the following simple questions when researching your competition –

⦁ Is it realistic for my book to compete with those already on offer?
⦁ What are the strengths of my competitors?
⦁ What are the weaknesses of my competitors?
⦁ What is the smartest approach for my own book?

If you find the competitive situation for your book is too strong to overcome, think of going for a more nuanced and niche approach to your initial idea. Narrow down the focus of your book, and you may well find a more appealing competitive reality.

Book Market Research Final Thoughts

We’ve now seen the two most important aspects of book market research. To recap, you should always –

⦁ Make sure people are interested in your idea, and willing to pay money for it
⦁ Check whether you stand a chance of competing with existing books
⦁ Assess specific ways that your book can outdo the competition
⦁ Consider finding a more niche or narrow book idea if the competition looks too difficult

Have you had any personal experience in carrying out the market research process for books? What’s worked well for you? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.


Kindle Categories

Kindle categories cannot be overlooked.

Spend some time around the self-publishing community and you will come across countless tales of authors crafting well-written books, agonizing over their choice of cover, and testing out titles.

Despite all of this effort, the book doesn’t sell as well as it could.

Why?

Many writers overlook the magical marketing ingredient of Kindle categories.

There’s a commonly held belief that categories are nothing more than a browsing aid for buyers. This is far from the truth.

Read on to discover the benefits that come with careful category selection and a step by step method to figure out the best Kindle categories. You will also learn about a way to simplify the entire process.

Kindle Categories – Why Bother?

I get it. Categories are boring. After creating an awesome book, choosing categories may seem like a pointless formality.

Don’t fall into this trap!

If you take the time to understand Kindle categories and make them work for you, there are three major benefits you stand to experience. They basically boil down to one thing – more sales.

MAKE YOUR EBOOK STAND OUT TO BUYERS

A bestselling book instantly sounds attractive.

Even the most famous lists of bestselling works, like the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times, use categories. If you make the monthly New York Times list for a book category like Espionage or Expeditions, you still have a New York Times bestseller.

Amazon also recognizes bestsellers – however, there are over 13,000 categories you can potentially become a bestseller in!

No-one is claiming that an Amazon bestselling book carries the same credibility as a New York Times bestseller.

However, Amazon will mark bestsellers with an orange icon, as seen below.

Put yourself in the shoes of an Amazon browser. If you saw a book with the bestseller icon, up against books without it, which would immediately catch your attention?

Interestingly, a book with a ‘bestseller’ icon does not mean it has sold more copies than a book without one – it just means that the book is doing better within its particular category.

The immediate visual attraction of the bestseller icon cannot be overstated. This is one major reason why following the steps to find the right categories is so essential.

AMAZON INTERNAL PROMOTION

If you manage to make the top 10 within any Amazon eBook category, you will reap benefits that extend beyond the boundaries of the category.

Buyers won’t have to come across your book’s sales page through chance – Amazon will actively promote your book within your chosen categories, and in others.

Ranking within the top 10 of any category also makes Amazon more likely to make your book a ‘recommended buy’.

Promoting a book is one of the hardest and most frustrating aspects for most writers. Why not let Amazon do some of the work for you? By taking Kindle categories seriously, Amazon will help your book to sell more copies.

AMAZON EXTERNAL PROMOTION

You’ve already seen how Amazon will promote your book within its own system if you take the time to rank within a particular category.

Guess what?

Amazon’s marketing efforts reach far beyond their own site.

If you have ever seen an email suggesting a list of books to buy based on your previous purchases or come across a Facebook ad which seems to understand your eBook preferences, this is no coincidence.

Think about it. Amazon will spend resources on external marketing for books which are ranking well – after all, Amazon stands to profit.

By ranking well within a category, yourself and Amazon both stand to benefit through external marketing exposure leading to better sales.

Now that you know categories can help Amazon do the hard work for you, read on to discover the exact process for category selection.

How To Choose The Best Amazon Keywords

Let’s take a look at the step by step process through which you will be able to make Kindle categories work for you.

The phases will be illustrated through the situation of someone exploring potential categories for a gardening book they wish to release. Gardening is a broad topic – but you will soon see that it has a lot of potential to uncover some great, specific niche Kindle categories.

PHASE 1 – COMPETITOR RESEARCH

The first stage to finding the most important Kindle categories for your book is to begin browsing through your competitors’ offerings.

A lot of the time, you may not be able to find any categories outside of the obvious ones you were already aware. However, now and then, you will be able to come across a great, obscure category that never even crossed your mind – heck, you might not have known it even existed.

You want to check each competing book out, one by one, and scroll down until you come across the following data –

From this image, you can see that the book has several categories.

PHASE 2 – FIND THE MOST SPECIFIC NICHES

When it comes to Kindle categories, it is always wise to go as specific and niche as possible.

Many Kindle writers make the mistake of choosing a broad category for their book, rather than delving deeper into the dark, dense jungle of Amazon subcategories.

In the following image, you will see that underneath the broader category, there are a range of smaller, more specific categories that can be chosen.

Put yourself in the shoes of an Amazon browser. If you could find a more specific, specialized category that more closely related to what you wanted, you’d choose it wouldn’t you?

By putting your books into these highly specialized categories, you stand a much greater chance of reaching the right readers for your work.

PHASE 3 – CATEGORY COMPETITOR ANALYSIS

After following the first two steps to this method, you should have a wide range of potential categories in which to place your book.

Knowing the categories is not, on its own, enough – you need to know which categories are good options, and which are less favorable.

The guide by which you will evaluate your identified categories is easy – how competitive are they?

Sadly, Amazon does not directly tell you how many books are selling within a particular category.

 

PHASE 4 – COMPETITOR SALES RANK

The number of competing books within a particular category is not the only evaluation you need to carry out.

On the surface, a category with 3 books competing in it, and a category with 300 books competing in it may be an obvious decision.

But what if the 300 books weren’t selling, and the 3 books were selling like hotcakes and were written by some author with the last name ‘Rowling’?

Knowing how well a competing book is selling is important in judging how easily you will be able to compete against it.

As a general guideline, books ranking between the 100,00 and and 30,000 mark on Amazon have the optimum combination of enough sales to be worth your time, but enough chance of you beating them out and standing a chance.

PHASE 5 – SECURE YOUR TARGET CATEGORY

Now that you’ve found your target categories and analyzed their competitive situation, that’s job done, right?
Wrong, my friend. Very wrong indeed.

Much like finding the person you want to settle down with, you’ve still got to convince Amazon to say ‘yes’ to your category marriage proposal.

Sometimes, Amazon will make it easy and offer your category to you, on a plate, at your time of publishing.

Other times, it’s a little more difficult. This guide will help you out.

Kindle Category Cheat Codes

Maybe carrying out the steps needed to find the right Kindle categories sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry to you – maybe watching paint losing moisture even sounds like a pretty fun option at this point in time.

If so, don’t worry.

https://youtu.be/kB1OvSnH1wU

Check this video out.

Kindle Spy is a small, easy to use browser extension which works with Chrome or Firefox.

It allows you to do in seconds what would take hours to carry out manually.

If you use Kindle Spy well, you will be able to recoup its cost through your first book.

The software isn’t perfect and could be improved in several ways, but it’s useful all the same.

Kindle Categories Recap

Phase 1 – Competitor Research

Phase 2- Find The Most Specific Niche Categories

Phase 3 – Category Competitor Analysis

Phase 4 – Competitor Sales Rank

Phase 5 – Secure Your Target Category

Kindle Categories Conclusion

Following the above steps will help give your book the best chance in an increasingly competitive Kindle world.

Most authors are like the citizens of The Matrix – they are plugged into a complex system and they don’t know the extent to which the evil Amazon agents manipulate their reality through aspects like categories.

You are now like Neo – you can see the Kindle Matrix for what it is – even if that reality isn’t pretty.

Knowing how to choose the right Kindle categories is like calling into a specific Matrix phone booth – you give yourself the best chance of survival in a crazy code based world.


Fake Amazon Reviews

It can be difficult to find out exactly which money making ideas on Amazon are worth your time and effort.

If you are new to the world of Amazon then you will come across a lot of conflicting advice online.

It seems like almost everyone out there has a philosophy on the right and wrong way to make the most of Amazon – in fact many people are looking to sell you a product such as a course or an ebook on that very topic.

Due to the fact that so many people have vested interests in persuading you they know what they are talking about when it comes to Amazon, people will often cut corners and seek to present to you slightly scammy, black or grey hat tactics for earning income through Amazon.

One such tactic you might come across is the practice of buying or otherwise arranging fake reviews for a product, such as an ebook, which you have for sale on Amazon.

Allow me to set out this article’s position on this topic unequivocally – just don’t do it.

That’s right.

Just say no.

Why?

Simply put, it’s not worth it.

As you will see over the course of this article, choosing to go down the dark side of the force route of buying Amazon reviews almost always ends up being a bad idea.

Perhaps over every other reason, it all boils down to one thing – you don’t need to do it!

If you take the time to learn about legitimate ways of earning income through Amazon, then you will have no need to resort to these scammy, underhand tactics.

So why do people advocate using fake Amazon reviews in the first place?

It is a widely known fact that if your product on Amazon is well reviewed, it will receive a boost in Amazon’s own marketing efforts, as well as being more attractive to potential buyers.

Picking up on this fact, people attempted to game the system by purchasing reviews, aiming to trigger Amazon’s promotion mechanism as a result.

A dirty industry sprung up on Fiverr of ‘professional reviewers’ who would leave a five-star review of your product – for a price!

Amazon fought back against this type of manipulation, rightly looking to protect the integrity and reputation of their review system. As a result, many of the Fiverr reviewers were sued and their accounts removed from the internet.

Countless paid for reviews also vanished from products, meaning the money spent on them was entirely wasted.

In spite of all this, people still attempt to play the fake review game.

Don’t be one of them

Here’s why.

Why Avoid Fake Amazon Reviews? – It Hurts Your Reputation

Some of the fake reviews for Amazon products are so badly written as to be almost embarrassing. They are often in broken English and speak in vague terms that in no way describe the product they are reviewing and any strengths and weaknesses it has.

Having this type of review attached to your product screams of desperation. Anyone who notices that you have resorted to these tactics will know right away that you are trying to pull off something underhand.

In the social media era, word of your black hat marketing efforts can spread quickly. People will lose all faith in the products you are offering should you become known for trying to manipulate potential customers with fake reviews.

If your name becomes known for this type of scammy activity then it will always be attached to it through the longevity of google search results. This means you run the risk of being associated with a bad way of doing business far into the future.

Why Avoid Fake Amazon Reviews? – You Risk Being Banned

If Amazon catches you out using fake, paid for reviews, then you run the risk of having your Amazon account deleted.

Spend some time browsing self-publishing forums and you will come across tales of people who got caught out doing something they shouldn’t and had their Amazon account banned as a result.

This can actually result in accrued earnings being withheld and your titles disappearing from the sale.

Think about the frustration that would arise if you woke up one morning to find that your entire catalog of titles had vanished without warning. This has happened to countless authors – and you risk becoming one of them if you try and take your chances with fake reviews.

Building up an author’s name amidst the fans of a genre can take a long time indeed. It is also a slow but worthwhile process to build up a funnel of external traffic to a book’s sales page through efforts such as social media promotion and placement on chosen websites. This can easily become a wasted effort if Amazon determines that your use of paid reviews is severe enough to warrant an account ban.

The potential impact of an account ban cannot be overstated – it can take you months to build up a following within a genre again. Worse still, titles that had momentum build up over time, perhaps over the course of several paid for promotion campaigns, can vanish without a trace.

UItimately, choosing to mislead buyers through fake reviews is not only disrespecting them – it’s disrespecting your own time.

By buying a fake review, you are saying to yourself that the time you spent writing and promoting your ebooks is time you are willing to risk being sacrificed forever for the sake of a cheap promotional boost.

Why Avoid Fake Amazon Reviews? – You Risk Long Term Success

Ultimately, using fake reviews is a strategic error. This is due to the fact that it betrays a short term approach to ebook marketing.

A serious ebook marketer, looking to build a steady and reliable source of passive income through the selling of their work, seeks to build upon a foundation of quality content which is sensibly and intelligently marketed to genuine fans.

The wise ebook marketer realizes that it is better to build a more solid foundation over time than to chance rapid success on a flimsy, black hat tactic which may cause the whole house of cards to come tumbling down at any time.

The legitimate way to achieve success over time is to place a call to action within books asking for an honest review if the reader has enjoyed the work.

Smart authors also ensure that they sign readers up to their mailing lists – therefore having them as potential beta readers in the future.

Sending out early review copies of books, and using these to solicit genuine reviews, is another way in which authors are able to genuinely achieve what the fake review shortcut is looking to attain dishonestly.

Fake reviews ignore all of the above, legitimate ways of attaining Amazon success. Fake reviews ignore the legitimate long term potential of Amazon. They betray a lack of strategic vision and a blindness to the importance of building solid foundations – even if it takes longer to do so.