Best of 2018 (so far) for Self-Publishers and Book Marketers

We’re already almost a quarter of the way through 2018.

This year has seen a wealth of amazing content aimed at helping self-publishers and book marketers succeed and experience the best return on their time and effort.

It can be difficult to keep track of all the valuable content published amidst the never-ending stream of blog posts and social media content. As a result, it’s often easy to overlook some of the most useful blog posts.

To help you out, we at NerdyBookGirl have gathered together some of the best content from 2018 so far. We’ve extracted a key quote and a few takeaways from each article, but would urge you to read the full piece of content. Each site is also a quality resource in and of itself, so if you like any particular article, please check out the rest of the site.

Without further ado, here are the highlights from 2018 so far.

Writing.ie – ‘On Blank Pages and Being Inspired’

To start off, we have an inspirational piece from Writing.ie on the importance of remaining inspired no matter what your personal situation happens to be as a writer.

The article reflects on how even the most successful writers started out with a humble beginning. No one makes it overnight and the early struggles that writers experience are just part and parcel of the road to success.

KEY QUOTE –

“Why am I telling you this? Because every writer who is published, whoever hit a list or won an award or went to a fancypants publishing party was, once upon a time, struggling and aspiring, staring at a blank page and – quite possibly – weeping into their eighth cup of coffee that morning. I was so that soldier.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*No writer makes it overnight

*Struggling is part of the process

*Inspiration can be found by mixing with other writers

Draft 2 Digital – ‘Book Launch Best Practices’

Launching a book is one of the hardest things to get right. It also happens to be one of the key success factors which can make or break your book’s success in the long run.

Draft 2 Digital present their take on the best practices to keep in mind when launching your next title. They emphasize taking the time to learn and focus on the launch practices which produce the best results for your book, in order to only expend effort on activities which produce a tangible return.

KEY QUOTE –

“When it comes down to it, you’ll need to test and experiment and learn and grow, and ultimately do the things that get you the best results, consistently and with as little investment on your part as possible.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Defining a target market, and writing to market, are keys to launch success

*Sunday is the best day of the week to launch a book

*Your marketing activities need to be consistent

Jane Friedman – ‘Launching Your Second Book and Beyond’

Jane Friedman is one of the most reputable names in the self-publishing and indie author community and her blog is a treasure trove of useful information.

In this post, a focus is given to long-term approaches to author marketing, with a particular focus on book launches after the first. This is an essential read for any book marketer who sees their publishing career as being a long-term endeavor.

KEY QUOTE –

“Before you publish their first book, your marketing plans are mostly speculative. But once you’re a year or two in, you’ve seen which efforts were successful in terms of generating publicity, boosting your social media engagement, and converting into sales—in other words, what worked for you and what didn’t.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Know what worked and didn’t work from your first book launch

*Understand what makes your new book unique and interesting

*Focus on targeted forms of social media that produce results for your niche or genre

The Book Designer – ‘9 Types of Pitches to Use When Promoting Your Book’

Pitching your book to the various key players in the publishing world is a key skill you need to develop as an author. However, for many writers, it does not come naturally, and this guide from The Book Designer will be much appreciated. This article looks at nine types of pitches you can use. It caters to the specific nuances of pitching to different types of people and the things to keep in mind and focus on when doing so.

KEY QUOTE –

“Before you pitch anyone, you must identify your ideal readers, journalists and other people and organizations who you will be pitching. They must be a perfect fit. Your pitch must explain what’s in it for them or their audiences.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Know who you are pitching to and what their interests are

*Think outside the box and consider pitching to less obvious people such as radio

*Ensure your follow up pitch is well thought out

BookWorks – ‘Authors: Don’t Put All Your Eggs In The Facebook Basket’

In this article for BookWorks, the recent Facebook algorithm changes are explored, and it’s emphasized that authors should diversify their marketing channels and not rely on any one platform for results.

This is a useful reminder guide to the fundamentals of building an author platform and the different marketing channels that can be used in doing so.

KEY QUOTE –

“Consumers (readers!) use keywords to find a new book or to locate information on a topic they want to learn more about. Learning about keywords and how they work is a great way to build your audience and sell more books.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Don’t rely on any single marketing channel

*Your mailing list is a worthwhile long term investment

*Optimize your blog posts to gain organic search traffic

Write To Done – ‘How I Went From Being Scared Witless To Being a Published Author’

This article from Write To Done explores how authors gain confidence, self-belief, and discipline to help them along their author journey.

This is a heartfelt guide to finding time for writing and saying no to the things and people that hold you back from getting where you want to go. If you struggle with confidence or feel that you could use a boost of inspiration then this is a great place to start.

KEY QUOTE –

“Your biggest challenge in writing is the belief that you can do this. Lack of belief causes you daily problems in discipline – the discipline needed to be a successful writer. It stops you sitting each day and writing the words you need to hit your target and finish that post, or book or screenplay.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Give yourself permission to take time to write

*Say no to negative people that don’t believe in you or your work

*Believe in yourself over the opinions of others

Adazing – ‘The 6 W’s of An Awesome Author Network’

It’s an old but true saying that it’s not what you know, but who you know, that helps you to succeed.

This is very true in the case of authors. Having a strong network of fellow writers and book marketers is a key factor to help you learn and get to where you need to go. This guide from Adazing teaches you everything you need to know to build the author network you need and to do so in the right way.

KEY QUOTE –

“A successful network is a web of mutually-beneficial relationships.  They say that a rising tide raises all ships. You want to be able to contribute to others just as much as you want to find ways that your connections can help you.  If you approach building your network with a “what’s in it for me” mentality, you’ll struggle.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*You have to contribute as well as take

*You can build your network both online and offline

*Author networks can provide mutual marketing opportunities

The Write Practice – ‘How to Write a Brilliant Twist Ending’

If there’s one storytelling device that audiences have proven to love time and time again, it’s the twist ending.

A well-executed twist ending is a kind of thing which gets readers talking, both online and offline and generates an incredible word of mouth buzz. If you want to learn to write an effective twist ending, check out this guide from The Write Practice, along with a practical writing exercise at the end.

KEY QUOTE –

“But it’s totally worth it. For many of us, great storytelling twists motivate us to tell our own stories. We long to recreate the catharsis of an unpredictable twist.

So do it right. Focus on choices and the seemingly contradictory reasons why characters make them. Don’t simply hide backstory, but use it to complicate the difficult decisions every character has to make.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*A twist ending can generate word of mouth buzz

*A twist ending works well when revealing a hidden motive

*Don’t rush your twist ending as it takes time to find the right end

Location Rebel – ‘How To Wake Up Earlier, 3 No-Brainer Tactics’

As book marketers, there are endless demands on our time, and it can be difficult to find enough hours in the day to get everything done that we need to.

This guide from Location Rebel offers three practical ways to get up earlier. This allows for more time in the day to work and the opportunity to take the entire afternoon as a period of leisure and socializing.

KEY QUOTE –

“Once you get past those first few excruciating minutes, and throw the covers off, turn the lights on, and get the coffee pot going – you’ll be treated to the very best hours of the day. The hours that many of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world swear by.”

TAKEAWAYS –

*Waking up even an hour earlier can create room in a packed schedule

*Waking up earlier will require an adjustment period

*Planning out activities the night before can assist motivation upon waking

Independent Publishing Magazine – ‘Millenials Market: How To Promote A Book on Snapchat’

Although it’s come in for some criticism lately, there’s no denying the fact that Snapchat is one of the most popular apps and social networks among millennials.

Many authors are outside of the target demographic and don’t know how to use Snapchat. As a result, they are missing out on a unique form of marketing and an effective way of staying in touch with younger readers in particular. This guide from The Independent Publishing Magazine will turn even the least familiar author into a savvy Shapchatter.

KEY QUOTE –

“Even if your products are amazing, they’ll be a wasted value if nobody gets to read them. Sometimes you have to stop thinking as an author and start thinking and behaving like a marketer. Snapchat’s the key to generating buzz among millennials. Use it wisely and skyrocket your book’s sales performance in no time!”

TAKEAWAYS –

* Millenials prefer Snapchat over Facebook as a social network

*Cross-promote your Snapchat profile on other social media platforms

*Use the ‘stories’ feature to market your book creatively and artistically


Awesome Self-Publishing Resources For 2018

How was your 2017 in terms of self-publishing success?

Perhaps you achieved all the goals you set and are aiming to take things to the next level in the new year.

Maybe 2017 didn’t quite go as planned. You might not have completed everything you intended, or maybe life threw you a curveball and things didn’t work out the way you hoped.

No matter how the past year was for you, 2018 represents a chance to refocus, hustle hard, and turn your dreams into achievements.

To offer a helping hand, we’ve gathered up some of the best content from round the web.

If you find any of the following useful, please take the time to check out the blog or website and see what else they have on offer. Each and every blog or website is a rich resource packed with useful ideas you are sure to love.

Enjoy, and here’s to your success in 2018!

Self-Publishing School’s Newbie Guide

One of the most common problems I find with self-publishing content is a presumption of existing knowledge.

I get why it happens.

For writers, publishers, bloggers, and other authorities, the knowledge and skill needed to release a book is almost second nature. A lot of people offering advice have been active in this niche for years.

For newcomers to the self-publishing world, this can feel very discouraging. It’s easy to feel like you’re late to the party if you don’t have a grasp of the basics.

Self-Publishing School is a great place for newcomers. Their content is easy to digest and presented in a friendly and non-intimidating manner.

A prime example is Self-Publishing School’s 13 step guide on how to self publish a book.

Chandler Bolt breaks down the lengthy process of publication in 13 simple steps which anyone can easily understand.

If you’re just starting out, or know someone who is, Self-Publishing School is more than worthy of your time and attention.

Develop Habits With The Help Of NYT Bestseller Jeff Goins

If you didn’t achieve everything you wanted to in 2017, the chances are you didn’t have the right habits in place.

Jeff Goins is a bestselling author and all-around helpful dude who shares concisely written, personal gems of wisdom on his blog, GoinsWriter.

In his guide to setting habits, Jeff talks about how choosing the right daily habits has been a lot more effective for him than setting goals that never seem to get fulfilled.

It’s definitely worth it to read Jeff’s full article, as he has a way of expressing profound ideas concisely that is inimitable.

To get you thinking along the right lines, envision something you really want to achieve in 2018. Next, try and imagine the regular habits that will make it come true.

If you want to write a novel, what kind of daily writing habit would you need to put into place to make it happen? If you want to learn a new skill, how much time each day should you dedicate to it?

Jeff’s blog is full of beautifully written content that has the feel of a friend offering heartfelt advice. No matter what problem you face, Jeff probably has a blog post to help you out.

An Injection Of Inspiration Courtesy of Jane Friedman

Self-publishing is not easy. It requires focus, a tolerance for risk, multiple skill sets, and a little bit of luck.

It can be easy to become dejected and put writing and publishing on the back burner when life gets tough.

If 2018 gives you some difficult hurdles to overcome, I’d urge you to check out Audrey Berger Welz’s guest post for Jane Friedman.

Consider the following extract –

“Truthfully they expected I had about twenty minutes of life left in me, but I surprised them. I lived! They went in and operated, again, and again, and again—four major surgeries in two weeks. I was put into a medically induced coma for close to three weeks, and was on feeding tubes for about a month. Later I was told that I had had less than a one percent chance of survival. Yet I held onto my dreams. I hadn’t quite finished my novel and was oh so close. I hadn’t held my book in my hands, so I could not die.”

Isn’t that one of the most inspirational things you’ve read in a long time?

Drawing on positive and inspirational role models is one of the best ways to find inner strength and determination when we most need it.

In addition to this inspirational guest post, Jane’s blog is packed full of smartly written, useful content from someone who has truly walked the walk in the world of writing and publishing.

Keep Your Knowledge On Course With Create If Writing

We probably live in a time when knowledge is more readily available than ever before.

How cool is it that we can learn almost anything from our computers?

It’s often possible to take a high-quality course which makes a genuine difference to our daily life and work without paying a single penny.

Kirsten Oliphant runs the Create If Writing blog which is an upbeat, quirky place full of cool content.

Particularly useful is the list of free online courses specially chosen with self-publishers in mind.

Kirsten’s list covers a wide range of topics including writing, social media, blogging, and even broader life skills. No matter what you are looking to improve upon in 2018, there is almost certainly a free course on the list to help you on your way.

Happy New Year From NerdyBookGirl!

Hopefully, you’ll take action and check out the above resources.

After all, there’s no time like the present to start walking the path towards your goals for the new year.

NerdyBookGirl will continue to bring you a mix of ideas and inspiration throughout the coming year.

Until then, Happy New Year, and here’s to a successful 2018 for us all.


Best Ways To Invest In Your Self-Publishing Career

“There is no more profitable investment than investing in yourself. It is the best investment you can make; you can never go wrong with it. It is the true way to improve yourself to be the best version of you and lets you be able to best serve those around you.”

― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Like anything in life, it’s important to spend both your time and money improving your skills and knowledge in the area of self-publishing.

It’s important to seek out smart investments that stand a good chance of adding to your self-publishing capabilities in order to give you a better chance of success. It can be difficult to know the best investments to make. In actual fact, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to investing in yourself as a self-publishers.

The best choice of investment you can make in your self-publishing business depends upon the stage you are currently at, and the investment you think will be most aligned with your aims and objectives at the time.

With that in mind, we’ll now consider some of the smartest self-publishing self investments you can make, and some tips on making a smart choice for where you are at in your career.

Courses For Self-Publishers

Self-publishing has many skills and techniques which must be learned in order to give yourself the best chance of success.

Even something as simple as writing a book has a lot of different steps which must be understood and put into practice. That’s before you even get to advanced ideas such as creating long-term strategic marketing strategies, building an author platform, working across different genres, or offering services to other authors as an additional stream of revenue.

Some of the best types, of course, you may wish to consider investing in include –

  • Writing courses. You may wish to take a general writing course if you are just starting out. You can also consider taking a specialist course to improve an area of writing you feel less confident about, such as world building, or dialogue. You can also take a specialist course for writing in a certain genre if you think it represents a good business opportunity, but aren’t sure of the conventions and tropes you will need to draw upon.
  • Editing courses. Although it’s always a good idea to make use of a specialist pro editor, it’s useful to have the type of skills that editors possess. This helps in several ways. You will be able to self-edit your own work which will save time and make the job easier when you turn your work over to a pro. You will also be able to consider offering editing services to other authors to give you an additional revenue stream.
  • Technical courses. Being a self-published author in the current business environment means you will benefit from having a certain amount of technical ability. Some of the technical areas you may wish to invest in include building and maintaining websites, running an author mailing list, and using apps to manage aspects of your business such as design, formatting, and marketing.
  • Marketing courses. Taking a scattershot approach to marketing is unlikely to produce the best results possible. Instead, it’s smart to learn from the best. No matter whether you take a course on Facebook advertising, Amazon advertising, or any other form of marketing, you are likely to get better results if you’ve learned from a reputable course.

Specialist Software For Self-Publishers

We’ve looked at some of the best knowledge investments for self-publishers in the form of courses. Now, it’s time to consider some of the best specialist types of software self-publishers should consider purchasing, the and the benefits that come from doing so.

It’s astounding how many self-publishers just use the basic tools available to them, such as Microsoft Word. If you are serious about success, you need to equip yourself with the tools that will give you an advantage.

  • Writing software. Although it’s possible to create great work with even the simplest of tools, when it’s time to produce longer works, the job is a lot easier with the use of book writing software. Some of the advantages of using specialist software include being able to have all your research in one place, being able to edit and reorder your work with much less hassle, and syncing across devices, such as writing on your home machine and editing on a tablet.
  • Cover design software. If you take the time to learn book cover design, you can save yourself a lot of money on pro cover design, and you can also offer cover design services for other authors in order to create additional revenue for your business.
  • Admin software. If you are receiving income from multiple different sources, such as some ad revenue, some book royalties, and some payments for services to other authors, it can become difficult to keep track of everything. Investing in financial admin software can make it easier to manage your books, keep track of your taxes, and avoid any financial problems down the line.
  • Marketing software. Marketing can become almost a full-time job in and of itself. Some of the benefits of using a specialist marketing tool include being able to manage multiple marketing platforms from a single app, schedule a batch of content for a time period in one go, and to respond to and manage social connections in one place. Using marketing software can save you time to spend on writing and other things you enjoy.

Platform Building For Self-Publishers

The key difference between amateur and pro-self-publishers is between those who think ahead and invest their time and energy into building a long-term author platform, and those who think in the short-term, not thinking further ahead than their next release.

Building a long-term author platform requires smart choices and clever investments. Some of the ways you can invest in your long-term author future include –

  • Advertising to build your mailing list. Perhaps the most important part of building an author platform is growing and maintaining a mailing list. By using the advanced targeting capabilities offered by Facebook, you can carefully target your ads on the specific people who are most likely to become fans of your work.
  • Investing in your website. There’s no need to have a super fancy website. However, investing to make sure the user experience is as good as possible, and the site is as quick, clear and functional as it can be, is a great way of investing in your long-term success as an author.
  • Video creation. A video is one of the most effective forms of content. It has a high engagement rate and is also very shareable on social. Investing in decent video shooting and editing equipment can give you an advantage over your competitors and give you a capability not many people have.
  • Hiring an assistant. Virtual assistants can be hired quite cheaply and for as little as a few hours a week. By letting a virtual assistant do things to build your long-term author platform, such as website or mailing list admin, you can focus on the high-level creative tasks that only you are capable of.

Self-Publishing Investment Final Thoughts

It’s important to invest in your self-publishing success. Some of the key investments include –

  • Investing in knowledge and skill to improve your own work and unlock additional revenue streams outside your core author activities.
  • Invest in software to help you produce better work in less time.
  • Invest in platform building and ways of establishing a long-term strategic presence.

What are the best investments you’ve ever made as a self-publisher? What has been the worst?

Please let me know in the comments.


Inspiration For Writers

It isn’t always easy to feel inspired as a writer.

Sometimes, you feel overflowing with creativity and inspiration. It can be difficult to keep up with the sheer cascade of ideas you have.

Other times, writing is like getting blood from a stone. Each word is a genuine struggle and even thinking about writing is painful and unproductive.

For most writers, their level of inspiration usually falls somewhere between the two extremes. Some writers experience a fairly consistent level of motivation while others have a far greater ebb and flow.

No matter how inspired or not you may be feeling, it’s always valuable to have some go-to ways of topping up your inspiration. The following five sources have proved powerful for countless writers, and may just give you the boost you need.

Books

It’s incredibly rare for a writer to not also be a reader. Therefore, it’s only natural that books about writing are some of the most valuable and treasured sources of inspiration for writers.

The best books on writing will offer both emotional inspiration and practical advice. A perfect example is ‘On Writing’ by Stephen King.

Writing offers the inspirational story of how Stephen King went from a financially struggling teacher to one of the most successful authors ever. In addition, it also provides King’s own method of writing and editing as well as plenty of practical advice.

The type of writing book you find most inspiring is likely to depend upon your situation. If you are lacking self-belief, it can be useful to listen to someone who has overcome a similar, or more serious, struggle than yours. If you are struggling with a particular area of writing, such as outlining or writing dialogue, reading a specialist book by a master of that aspect of the art could be the light at the end of the tunnel.

Books are wonderful as they provide an incredible depth of information relative to their price. It’s often possible to learn far more from a book than from a video course for a fraction of the cost.

Support Groups

Sometimes, we need a personal and human element to our writing inspiration.

One of the best ways to get inspired is to join a writing group.

This can be either an offline, in-person group or an online option such as a Facebook group or writing forum.

Some of the key benefits to writing support groups include the personalized advice you will receive, the chance to give back by contributing and helping out others, and the personal connection that comes with being part of a group of people over time.

Support Groups

Sometimes, we need a personal and human element to our writing inspiration.

One of the best ways to get inspired is to join a writing group.

This can be either an offline, in-person group or an online option such as a Facebook group or writing forum.

Some of the key benefits to writing support groups include the personalized advice you will receive, the chance to give back by contributing and helping out others, and the personal connection that comes with being part of a group of people over time.

TUCKEN READING LIGHT

You’ll like this one.

If you are seeking support from a writing group, there are a few things to keep in mind. You should seek out a group which has the right vibe or feel for your own personality. Some groups are formal, others very informal. Finding a place you will want to spend time and will feel at home is important for making the most of your group.

You also want to choose a group with the right level and type of information for your needs. If you are just starting out, an advanced group probably won’t be the best fit, and if you write nonfiction, but the majority of your group talks about fiction, you should look elsewhere.

Podcasts

Podcasts are an underappreciated source of writing inspiration.

There is something really special about being able to dip in and out of podcast episodes no matter where you are or what you are doing. You can use podcasts to make your commute a useful and enjoyable experience or to get some fresh writing ideas while on the treadmill in the gym.

The best podcasts for writers contain a mix of practical advice and general inspiration. Podcasts are perfectly suited to interviews, and as a result, offer some of the best opportunities to hear authors you admire talking about their work. There’s something really special about hearing a writer you love sharing their wisdom in their own voice.

It’s useful to develop go-to podcasts for different situations. For example, if you find a particular podcast which gives you inspiration whenever you listen to it, make a note of it. That way, you have inspiration on tap when it’s running low. If there’s a podcast which always makes you laugh, be sure to give it a listen anytime you feel frustrated and everything gets too much.

Online Courses

Online courses are some of the best ways to learn in-depth information. You get the personal touch of having an instructor cover the material with the convenience of being able to log in and cover the content at your own time and pace.

Learning from an online course is great if you prefer to watch someone else actually carry out the topic being taught. For example, if you are struggling with inspiration for brainstorming plot points, you can watch a real writer show you their actual process. This is often a lot more educational and inspirational than merely reading about the same process.

If you are looking to learn from an online course, be careful. A lot of courses are slickly marketed but talk the talk a lot better than they walk the walk. Before investing in a particular course, it’s worth thinking about whether –

The course covers the material you need
The course is taught in a way which will be inspirational and effective for you
Real reviewers have praised the course in a way which resonates with you
The course represents value for money and time

You can find online writing courses at Masterclass, which has the benefit of being taught by incredible superstar instructors, and Udemy, which has a wider range of courses and teachers.

Writing Retreats

Sometimes you might feel the best way to regain or boost your inspiration is to change your environment and attend a dedicated writing retreat.

This is a big step to take and is something which obviously can’t be used as often as listening to a podcast or reading a chapter of a writing book. However, if you need a supportive environment away from the mundanity of everyday life, a retreat might be your best bet.

Retreats are expensive but offer the most drastic chance to completely focus on your writing. They also serve as a form of vacation and can be superb for general rest and relaxation purposes.

Attending a writing retreat is likely to be a rare step and saved for special occasions. However, it’s a valuable option when you really need to turbocharge your writing inspiration at all costs.

Writing Inspiration Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article will provide you with a menu of inspiration to feast upon whenever needed. Whether you need a quick five-minute boost of inspiration from a podcast or a period of serious retreat and reflection, there’s something for your situation.

No matter how uninspired you may feel, there is always a solution. Be brave and hold on until you find it.


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 Publisher 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 Publisher Rocket.

So, read on to discover –

  • How Kindle Keyword Software Can Help You
  • Kindle Keyword Software Deals & Guarantees
  • KD Spy VS Kindle Samurai VS Publisher 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)

Publisher Rocket – 30 Day No Questions Asked Money Back Guarantee

As you can see, you can try KD Spy and Publisher 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 Publisher Rocket.

KD SpyKDP RocketKindle Samurai
Price$47$97$9
Guaranteed Refund Period6030None
Standalone SoftwareNoYesYes
Windows CompatibleYesYesYes
Mac CompatibleYesYes3rd Paty Only
Shows Google Demand Data
NoYesYes
Shows Amazon Demand DataNoYesNo
Level of Keyword AnalysisBasicDetailedBasic
Level of Competition AnalysisBasicDetailedBasic
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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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.

PUBLISHER ROCKET IDEA RESEARCH

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

Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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, Publisher 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 – Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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.

PUBLISHER ROCKET COMPETITOR RESEARCH

We’ve established that Publisher 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?

Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher Rocket is a really powerful book research solution.

Overall, this is a fantastic function of Publisher 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 – Publisher Rocket
Runner Up – KD Spy
Worst – Kindle Samurai

Publisher 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 – Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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 Publisher 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?

PUBLISHER 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, Publisher 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.