Publishing books on Amazon is a great way to make passive income, but only if you know what I am about to share with you.
Choosing a book topic and publishing it without ensuring people will buy it is akin to starting a niche website without doing any keyword research.
But that’s exactly what most self-publishers do. They , hit publish, cross their fingers and hope it’s a winner.
But sadly, self-publishing in today’s market no longer allows for such luck. If you try that, you’ll be hard pressed to reap any of the sales you hear about.
Besides, can you imagine spending all that time writing a book and investing in a good cover, formatting and editor, only to find out later that no one wants it?
That’s gotta suck!
That’s why in this article, I’m going to show you exactly how you can do some Kindle keyword research and book idea validation so that you can ensure you’re on the right path before you start writing.
Think of this like keyword research…but for Amazon instead of Google.
This article is a follow-on to that shows how you can publish a book and make passive income – something I think any online marketer should consider.
We’ll then build upon that and give you a key strategy to ensure you can gain organic book sales in the largest market in the world.
What You Will Learn
- What makes a profitable book
- Step-by-step process to discover book ideas that will sell
- Tools to help you do this more effectively and efficiently
- How Amazon’s Search Engine Works
- How to rank your books better on Amazon
Who Am I To Talk About Book Marketing and Amazon Keywords?
I’m Dave Chesson, the author of the fastest growing book marketing website, . But when I’m not plunging head first into ebook marketing tactics, I’m plugging away on my next book.
As a father and active duty military guy, my time is precious. I can ill afford to write books that don’t bring in consistent income or worse…don’t sell at all.
I’m sort of the example of a guy who fits it in whenever I can. I actually wrote my first book while sitting on a South Korean warship patrolling dangerous waters…how about that for versatile 😉
But, if you were advantageous enough to try to look me up on Amazon, you probably found nothing. That’s right, .
Because what I am going to show you will help you find highly demanded kindle niche topics that have little competition.
So, of course, I don’t announce my golden nuggets – like most niche website owners wouldn’t announce their most profitable set of keywords.
But I won’t deny the success it’s had:
So, without ado, let’s talk about how you can find those highly profitable book ideas or keywords that aren’t saturated with ginormously popular competitors.
The Beginning of the Amazon Market
When Amazon first opened (KDP), they changed the book world forever. Regular people, like you and I, no longer needed highbrow publishers in order to get our books in the market.
In its initial launch, there was major money to be made for the early adopters. With little to no competition and Amazon’s giant amount of preexisting traffic, you could write just about anything and turn some excellent profit.
Many refer to this as the .
But today, it’s no longer that way. What used to be little to no competition, now holds over 4.7 million different ebooks. But don’t fret, because there still is a lot of untapped Amazon niches ready to be discovered and I’ll show you how.
What Makes a Profitable Book Idea?
In order to write a book that taps into Amazon’s already existing shoppers, the best book idea is one that has all of the following:
- Has shoppers on Amazon looking for it
- Those same shoppers actually buy books on that subject
- The competition isn’t so great that you can’t rank #1 in Amazon searches
If you write a book that follows these three points, then you’ll be in an excellent position to gain organic traffic and sales – it’s that simple.
So, using the below steps, you’ll not only be able to figure out if a book idea will be profitable, you’ll also be able to figure out which kindle keywords you should target with your book.
Like niche websites, your keywords will be your secret traffic source that keeps your book selling.
So, let’s discover some kindle keywords in order to base our book around.
Step By Step Kindle Keyword Research
In the below steps I’ll show you the free way of doing this research, but it is important to note that there are tools that do a lot of this for you which we’ll cover later.
Step 1 – Find keywords people actually search for
In order to find profitable organic book ideas we need to know what keywords people actually type into Amazon.
Unlike Google, this isn’t that simple because Amazon doesn’t provide a free tool like . There are some paid tools that will do this for you and even tell you the , but we’ll get into that later.
Instead, let’s look at the free method.
For this, I like to start by generating a list of popular keywords on Amazon.
One-way to do this is to make use of the Amazon autosuggestion feature.
When you type a phrase into Amazon, you will notice that it begins to suggest endings to your search phrase. This is because Amazon is trying to guess what you might be looking for by using past search data of other shoppers.
To use this right, start by typing in a broad phrase and see what Amazon adds to the end of it.
You can also dig even further by adding a letter after your broad phrase to see more specific details like so:
“keyword book idea a”
“keyword book idea b”
IMPORTANT: It’s best that you use incognito mode in Chrome when doing this because the Amazon suggestion feature uses your accounts information as well as cookies to tailor the results. But in incognito mode, you’ll get the most raw data – which is what we want.
Now that we have a list of terms people ‘have’ typed into Amazon using Amazon’s auto-suggestion, we need to figure out how ‘many’ people have actually typed that word.
There’s nothing worse than writing a complete book and finding out later than only 5 people actually are searching for it.
Again, there is no free way of doing this, so, instead of just leaving it to chance, I like to use Google as an indication.
Google, like Amazon is a search engine and many people start their journey searching for something in Google. Therefore, using the free data from Keyword Planner or any other tool like , you can still gain some relative understanding of what is a popular term or not.
Step 2 – Is Your Book Idea Profitable?
This step is crucial and should not be overlooked – despite being easy to do so.
Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of finding a keyword phrase for your book idea which has high demand and seems relatively simple.
However, unless people are willing to pay for the information, then it is not worth spending any time creating a book around.
The first thing to do in order to make sure your book idea stands a good chance of making you money is to verify the following:
- Type the keyword phrase you have already validated via KW Finder or Google Keyword Planner into the Kindle store on Amazon.
- Choose the top 14 books that show up in the search results and write down their , known as ABSR. The ABSR is basically a measure of how well any given book is selling within the Kindle store. It weighs heavily upon recent sales and is therefore, a very current measure of success.
To find it, scroll down to the bottom till you see the following:
- Run each ABSR number through the . This free calculator will convert the ABSR into number of books sold per day for that book.
- Find out how much money that person is making daily by multiplying the number of books sold per day by the price. If the book is priced between 2.99 and 9.99, then multiply this number by 0.7. If the book is priced at any other price point, multiply by .3. This is because Amazon only pays out a certain percentage based on the price of the book – their way of controlling the pricing system. Example: 8 books sold per day at a price of 4.99:
8 x 4.99 x .7 = $27.94 per day
- Follow the above process for all of the 14 books that you identified in step 2. Add up the total earnings and then divide by 14 to get the average earnings per day by books that rank for that keyword.
- If the average earnings per day seems like an acceptable figure for your book idea, then you can continue with the process.
Step 3 – How Tough Is The Competition?
By this point, you know whether or not there is demand for a given book keyword phrase and whether there is any profit to be made by ranking for that keyword on Amazon.
But our last and final step is to try to figure out if we can even rank for that term.
Sadly, figuring out the level of competition without specialized tools is a little difficult. Some of it can be numerically drawn, but as you’ll see, most of it is very subjective:
Consider the following factors when making the final call:
- Look at the ABSR of the top 10 books in the search result. If the majority of them have an ABSR of 30,000 or less, then it will be a very difficult keyword.
- Can you see the keyword in either the Title or Subtitle. If so, then those books are heavily targeting the keyword and it will be difficult.
- Are the book covers that show up in the search results easy on the eye, or is this an area where you could outdo the competition? As you’ll see later in this article CTR is very important to rankings and good book covers get great clicks.
- Do they have a great book description? As you’ll see later, conversion rate to sales plays another big part in rankings.
- How well known are the authors? Unknown authors with a small or no following are the easiest to beat. Beating a celebrity/influencer is very difficult and not usually worth it.
Ultimatley, you need to look at the competition and ask yourself, “can I beat them.” If the answer is no, then you’ll have a hard time ranking well against the competitors.
If the answer is yes, then you’re in luck.
Step 4 – Rinse and Repeat
If you didn’t find the right idea on your first search, don’t be discouraged because that usually is the case.
However, instead of just going back to step one, look at the results you had and try to figure out if it is best to niche down more and work with what you have, or if you just need to start all over with a completely new idea.
Either way, once you decide, head back to step 1 until you’ve found the right keywords to target for your next book.
Fast Tracking Your Research
The above steps can be tedious and very time consuming, but just like with Google keyword research, there are some Amazon centric tools that can help you with the above:
is simple to use tool that works on both Mac and PC which basically does everything discussed above.
How do I know this?
Because I created it.
All you have to do is put a potential keyword into it, it gives suggestions on better keywords, tells you how much money authors are making ranking for that keyword, estimated number of times Amazon shoppers type it into Amazon and the relative Competition Level of that keyword (1-100).
Basically, it’s like the Long Tail Pro of Amazon. Plus, it’s only a one-time fee of $97.
Best Seller Ranking Pro
helps authors figure out which category they should target.
By doing this correctly, you can not only gain the coveted “Bestseller” tag for your authority claims and sales conversion, it can help to get your book out in front of more authors and make more sales.
BSRP will show you the easiest categories to target and exactly how many books you need to sell in order to be #1 bestseller which helps with your rankings.
How to Rank Your Book On Amazon
Using the steps above, you should now have some keyword phrases which meet all of the criteria – there is demand for it, it’s profitable and the competition is manageable.
However, targeting keywords is only half the battle. When we are ready to launch our book, we need to be able to get our book to show up for those keywords in Amazon and rank well.
Just like Google, ranking at the top is very important. How important?
It’s not as dramatic as , but just remember, in Amazon, each click can result in a direct buy and a difference of 15% in sales based on ranking #1 or #2 is HUGE!
So, how do we get our ready to publish book infront of those ready to buy readers?
1. Get your book indexed by Amazon
2. Improve your rankings
That may seem obvious, but unless you’re familiar with how Amazon’s A9 algorithm, it’s not quite the same as with Google.
Getting Your Book Indexed By Amazon
First we need to convince Amazon that our book should show up for a particular keyword search. To do this, you should consider some or all of the following:
1. Choose the Keyword as one of your 7 Kindle Keywords
When you go to , Amazon will ask you to insert 7 kindle keywords/phrases with each separated with a comma.
Back in the day, this is all you’d need to do, but competition is tight and Amazon doesn’t just go for it anymore.
2. Have the Keyword in Your Title and or Subtitle
Amazon’s A9 algorithm indexes your title and subtitle and they both play an important part to your book getting indexed for a search term.
3. Inside the Book
Amazon does review the text in the book and having your keyword in the book is a good sign you should rank for that term.
4. Words Used in the Review
Granted you can’t directly affect this, but this is one way your title plays into effect. Many reviewers will refer to your book using the title.
If your title has the keywords in it, then they’ll naturally put it there for you.
Increasing Your Book’s Rankings in the Search
Now that you’ve gotten your book to index in Amazon’s search, we now need to increase the rankings. Remember, books that rank #1 get, on average, 27% of the clicks while #2 only gets 12%.
To do this, keep in mind that Amazon’s A9 was built for one thing: make Amazon more money!
Therefore, as you’ll see, each of the below factors are about showing A9 that your book will make them more money if they present to more people for that term:
1. Search Path Click Percentage
If someone goes to Amazon, types in a keyword, finds your book and clicks it, then they just proved to Amazon that your book was what they were looking for.
If your book consistently has more people choose your book over others, then A9 will take notice start ranking you over the others.
How to affect this:
- If you know someone wants to buy your book, don’t send them a link. Instead, tell them the keyword to type in and the title of your book.
- You can use , but I personally don’t trust them.
- Having good titles and book covers that catches a readers eye and clearly shows what the book is about will help increase the clicks for those random searchers.
2. Conversion Rates
It’s all about the money, right? Well, if people click your book but they don’t buy it, then A9 will see that your book isn’t ‘the one’ and will start to drop your rankings.
However, if your book continues to prove that people are buying it, then Amazon will reward you with higher rankings.
How to affect this:
- Ensuring you’ve got a great book description that converts is key.
- Ranking for the right terms helps because you’ll have a much higher amount of the prime market looking for your book.
- Choosing the right price can help. Go too low and people won’t value the book. Go too high and people will look for a cheaper option.
- Review grades are important to making shoppers believe your book is the right one and worth their time and money.
3. Recent Verified Review Grades
Verified reviews are reviews left by someone who purchased the book on Amazon. Having recent good verified reviews significantly helps to increase your rankings.
This tells Amazon that not only did people buy it, but that they enjoyed the product.
How to affect this:
- Request for a review at the end of your book.
- If you have readers and followers, email them and ask them to leave a review – some people just forget to do it.
- Look at your competitors reviews and see if any of them have their . Email them and see if they’d like a copy of your book in return for a review.
4. Sales Consistency
There are a lot of that push for a big sales spike.
While that helps, Amazon prefers to rank books that consistently bring in sales, than those that spike every once in a while. Therefore, work to create consistent sales and you’ll be rewarded.
How to affect this:
- Create outside traffic sources that point to your book. If you have a niche website that covers the topic of your book, use it as an advertisement platform for your book. Also, look into dropping legitimate links in forums or things like Quora.
- If you have an email list, add an email in your Autoresponder that talks about your book.
5. Number of Options for Purchase
It is easier than ever to not only create a ebook, but also a soft cover, hard cover and audio book. There are many conversion software and services that will do it for you.
But what is most important is that those books who have all options for the buyer get better rankings.
This could be because A9 factors that into their decision matrix. However, I believe it is because having more options increases your conversion rates.
There are many book readers who detest ebooks and need to feel the paper in their fingers as they read. There are others, like myself, that love audio books and will choose them when they can.
However, if your book doesn’t offer these, then you’ll lose that sale and another book that ranks for it will nab it.
How to affect this:
- To create soft cover books, look into Amazon’s own print on demand service, or .
- There are many audio book services out there that will you’ll either pay upfront to convert to an audio book, or will request a percentage of the profit.
Wrapping it Up
In this article, you’ve learned about the importance of validating your book idea through the process of keyword research.
You’ve learned about the exact process of identifying a profitable, in demand, low competition keyword and how to optimize your book in various ways in order to rank for that keyword.
You’ve also learned about the Amazon A9 search engine and the way in which it operates.
It’s now up to you to which stands the best chance of climbing the Amazon rankings because writing a book that doesn’t earn you money is extremely costly!
The level of competition for Amazon Kindle books is increasing each and every day.
Therefore it is vital to validate your book idea ahead of time through proper keyword research.
After all, the time spent on keyword research pales in comparison to the time and money you would waste and the disappointment you would feel for a book idea that didn’t sell.
Respect your time. Validate your book idea properly.
If you have any questions, please post them in the comments!
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TED talks are a great way to develop yourself and relax at the same time. All you have to do is sit back, relax and watch a video that will teach you something awesome.
I’ve watched nearly every TED talk over the years, so I wanted to share what I consider to be the very best TED talks for digital marketers – whether you are an SEO, blogger or social media specialist.
Each of the talks below will help you to develop your digital marketing skills and best of all? They cost absolutely nothning to watch but are jam packed with lessons you cannot find anywhere else.
All of the talks below are listed in order of duration-
Talks 0-6 Minutes
#1 – Derek Sivers: How To Start A Movement
Duration: 03:09 –
In this short but content packed talk, Derek goes into detail about how to create a community and why it is important to help build momentum for you business.
This is a fast paced, entertaining talk will teach you everything you need to know to start a movement of your own.
#2 – Matt Cutts: Try Something New For 30 Days
Duration: 03:28 –
Now I know Matt Cutt’s isn’t exactly a favourite in the SEO community for a lot of you – but he is a pretty cool guy behind the scenes.
He takes a light hearted look at trying something new for 30 days and a fun way at setting goals. He has written a novel and learnt to play the ukulele.
#3 – Richard St. John: 8 Secrets Of Success
Duration: 03:33 –
Richard has spent more than a decade of his life researching success which he has boiled down into 8 simple secrets that anyone can follow.
Although this is a short video, it is packed end to end with great information that should be compulsory viewing in every school in my opinion.
#4 – Renny Gleeson: 404, The Story Of A Page Not Found
Duration: 04:07 –
Renny Gleeson takes us through the story of 404 pages and how to turn them into something cool.
He looks at a range of creative and funny 404 pages that turn the page not found error into something useful.
If you want to customise your 404 page check out .
Talks 6-12 Minutes
#5 – Kevin Allocca: Why Videos Go Viral
Duration: 07:21 –
Kevin is a YouTube video trends manager and one of the world’s leading experts in viral videos.
In this video he shares the 4 key reasons that videos go viral and you can engineer each of those reasons for your own marketing campaigns with real world examples.
#6 – Dan Cobley: What Physics Taught Me About Marketing
Duration: 08:09 –
In this engaging talk Dan combines his passion for physics and marketing to explain the fundamental theories of branding.
He breaks down Newton’s second law, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, thermodynamics in layman’s terms and shows you how to apply them to your marketing to create deeper connections with your audience.
#7 – James Veitch: What Happens When You Reply To Spam Email?
Duration: 09:48 –
As a digital marketer it’s likely you have received your fair share of spam email in your time. Everything from pharmaceutical sales to unclaimed money in a foreign bank account.
But what happens if you actually reply to these emails and engage the people that are trying to scam you?
This hilarious talk focuses on exactly that when James put the spammers to the test in true comedy fashion-
#8 – Black: My Journey To Yo-Yo Mastery
Duration: 10:29 –
One of my favourite talks about finding your passion in life and then finding a way to make money with it.
Black dedicated his life to expecting fame & fortune after he become the world Yo-Yo champion – that’s not quite how it worked out though.
Follow your passion. Even if no one else cares about it.
Talks 12-18 Minutes
#9 – Amanda Palmer: The Art Of Asking
Duration: 13:47 –
Amanda is an artist that relies entirely on her fans and other artists to help her become a success much like bloggers rely on their regular readers and new traffic.
This talk focuses on the relationship between artist (blogger) and fan through the power of asking after Amanda was able to raise $1.2 million from her fans.
#10 – Steve Jobs: How To Live Before You Die
Duration: 15:04 –
If you haven’t seen this talk where have you been for the last years?
Steve Jobs teaches you how to live before you die through a series of personal stories and experiences in his life.
At the time of the talk he was diagnosed with terminal cancer – inspiring words from one of the world’s greatest innovators.
#11 – Kevin Slavin: How Algorithms Shape Our World
Duration: 15:23 –
As a digital marketer, nearly everything you do is affected by an algorithm in one way or another. Whether you are trying to rank a website or run Facebook Ads – algorithms are core to everything.
What you might not realise though is just how much algorithms shape our world and control our daily life including things like movie scripts, architecture, stock prices and even your grocery shopping.
Warning – this talk will make your jaw drop.
#12 – Gary Vaynerchuk: Do What You Love (No Excuses!)
Duration: 15:26 –
If you only watch 1 video in this post it should be this one. Gary Vaynerchuk is my kind of guy, down to earth and straight to the point.
He built his success by turning his back on his multimillion dollar business to follow his passion with .
#13 – Rory Sutherland: Life Lessons From An Ad Man
Duration: 16:40 –
Rory has spent his whole career in copywriting and advertising and shares his lessons in a fun talk.
He looks at how value is perceived and how by changing that perception we can add real tangible value.
This talk will teach you how to challenge peoples perceptions in order to increase perceived value and make more sales – whether that is affiliate sales, digital product sales or physical product sales.
#14 – Mena Trott: On Blogs
Duration: 16:46 –
If you don’t know who Mena Trott is, you could say she is the founding mother of the blogging revolution.
Mena and her husband Benn have created products like Moveable Type, TypePad, LiveJournal & Vox – they know a thing or two about blogging!
In her talk she shows how blogging can connect people all over the world to break down social barriers and cross cultural boundaries.
#15 – Seth Godin – The Tribes We Lead
Duration: 17:27 –
Seth Godin gets his first listing here with his tribes we lead talk.
He takes a look at how the internet has changed mass marketing and inspired trible like human social units.
A very thought provoking talk!
#16 – Stefan Sagmeister: The Power Of Time Off
Duration: 17:37 –
I’ve spent the last years of my life working stupid hours rarely taking time off. Although that’s because I’m an internet marketing addict we all need a break!
In an effort to readjust my work/life balance this talk from designer Stefan Sagmeister provided great inspiration!
Talks 18+ Minutes
#17 – Chris Anderson: How Web Video Powers Global Innovation
Duration: 18:53 –
Way back in 2010 Chris Anderson gave a talk about the importance of online video and how video is going to change how the entire world learns forever.
If you’ve been paying attention in the past few years you would have seen the rise of platforms like Udemy and more video training courses than you can shake a stick at in every niche you can think of.
Chris (the owner of TED) predicted this trend in 2010 and shares how small businesses and blogs can take advantage of this trend for profit.
#18 – Steven Johnson: Where Good Ideas Come From
Duration: 18:56 –
If you have ever had a problem coming up with good ideas then this TED talk is for you.
Steven explains how good ideas are developed over time and shows you how some of the most creative people in history were able to tap into their creative conscious to develop good ideas.
Watch this talk with your marketing hat on as the concepts he teaches are directly related.
#19 – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, The Secret To Happiness
Duration: 18:56 –
This talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi hit me personally.
He describes how we enter a state of flow that is ecstasy like achieving a heightened focus and immersion in what we are doing.
If you’ve ever had that rush from doing what you love you’ll know what I mean! Internet marketing is my ‘flow’ – what is yours?
#20 – Seth Godin: How To Get Your Ideas To Spread
Duration: 18:59 –
Seth Godin has done some remarkable things in his life – he is the guy that created Squidoo don’t ya know!
In this talk he explores why bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.
Some great advice from one of the world’s leading digital marketers!
#21 – Morgan Spurlock: The Greatest TED Talk Ever Sold
Duration: 19:28 –
I love everything Morgan Spurlock does and the unique angles he cuts with his documentaries.
This talk looks at the path Morgan took to create documentary – which is awesome by the way!
Be sure to check out his other stuff as well!
#22 – David Blaine: How I Held My Breath For 17 Minutes
Duration: 20:19 –
A bit of a curve ball but a true example of mind over matter!
David Blaine gives a very personal talk about what it took to hold his breath underwater for 17 minutes straight!
The talk is only 3 minutes longer than what he is able to hold his breath for!
Which Are Your Favourite TED Talks?
Those are all of the best TED talks that have stuck with me as a digital marketer & blogger. Each have taught me a valuable lesson that I have applied in my life and business in one way or another.
If you want to watch even more TED talks there are a bunch of others about , , & ! The ones in this list are just the ones that I consider to be the best TED talks for digital marketers.
So that leaves me wondering, which TED talks are your favourites and why??
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