Where do readers look for books like yours? Will your book meet the expectations of those readers? If you want your book to sell, you'll need to do some market research and competitive analysis to learn what readers expect and meet those expectations.
Here's what you'll get done in this module.
- Set up and organize your research
- Find books like yours
- Identify common elements of the better selling books
- Develop or improve your book and brand
- Create a list of books like yours that are selling well today
- Follow the authors who are writing books like yours
- Connect with these authors
- Create a media list for the future
You'll use a couple of different tools in this process:
- Amazon Advanced Search to find books like yours
- Google Spreadsheets to collect and organize data about books like yours
- Google Search to find out what authors like you are doing to promote their books
Optionally, you may also use:
- Publisher Rocket, Kindle Spy, or Kindle Samurai
- Pinterest, Dropbox, Google Docs, or Evernote
Do this market research before investing in expensive editing services. Why? Because you may find you need to make adjustments in your story, character, or setting. I have three examples:
- One historical fiction author I know realized her protagonist was about a decade too old, so she made her younger to match the expectations of readers.
- Another author was positioning himself as a thriller writer when he really wrote literary fiction.
- Still another author changed her cover (post-publication) because she was getting bad reviews. Not because her book was bad, but because her cover wasn't sending the right message to the right readers.
Here's the first cover. She used an animated GIF on her website but of course the image on retailer sites is static.
Here's the improved cover that delivers a more accurate message and an emotional promise to readers.
This book is now getting great reviews and has won several awards.
Here's what some of the other books in this genre and subgenre look like, found in Amazon's "also bought" section below the book description.
Fitting in... not exciting, but necessary
A few authors I’ve worked with have insisted that their book is unique. They tell me proudly that there’s nothing like it! I'm going to tell it like it is and let you know that being unique is a bad thing. If there are no books like yours on the market, people probably aren't looking for it.
Anna (of the book covers above) probably has the most unique book of any of the authors I've worked with. She had a hard time figuring out where her book belonged--more paranormal than romance--but by placing her book in the right categories and using the right keywords, she reaches her audience.