The world of book publishing has changed dramatically over the last several years. Doors that were previously locked have been sprung open by self-publishers who have great stories to tell but have been frustrated with traditional publishing.
I’ve published several successful eBooks recently, and I have a detailed case study about my latest project going on over at Wired Product if you’d like to follow along.
In this article I’ll give you the non-fiction formula I used to get from raw idea to published product in 5 weeks. And while we’re at it, let’s talk about some tips for getting your eBook started as well!
Step One – Choose a Non-Fiction Topic to Write About
Believe it or not, this is where most would-be writers stop dead in their tracks. Some writers know exactly what they want to write about and nothing will deter them or knock them off course.
They have a story to tell and it will be told whether or not anyone reads it.
I have great respect for these types of writers, but remember that we’re focusing on writing for profit, and in doing so we’ll need to stick to the formula.
We’ll be talking about non-fiction eBooks in the example because that’s where I’ve had most of my experience.
A non-fiction book is the perfect place to begin your self-publishing career. Non-fiction books are shorter than fiction and can be brought to market more quickly and easily, giving you a much-needed boost of confidence.
Non-fiction books should be targeted to one specific problem. Inside the book you’ll provide the solution to the problem in a convenient and understandable format.
And I can hear what you’re saying right now….
Why would someone pay for information that they can find for free on their own?
I get this question all the time, and it’s a valid one. There’s one simple answer.
People are busy these days, and they will most definitely pay for anything that will save them time AND solve the urgent problem they’re currently experiencing. I know because it happens a bazillion times every day. People will always pay for convenience.
Which Topic should you write about?
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular subjects for non-fiction eBooks.
· Relationship Troubles
· Things People Are Passionate About
From among these categories you should pick something that you have some experience with and that you have a keen interest in. There are a couple of reasons for this.
First, any books you create about a subject in which you have no interest will probably be reflected in your writing. Readers will be able to tell whether or not you are “into it”.
Secondly, although it’s possible to strike gold with a one and only book, more than likely you’ll be writing many books in the category you choose. That’s why you must be certain you’re choosing a subject you’re passionate about.
Researching Your eBook Topic
And you should too. Proper research will ensure that your category has “legs”. In other words, I never choose a category that I can’t write at least 5 or 6 books in, and possibly many more.
In order to determine this you’ll need to do a bit of research. And there’s no better place to dig up information than inside Amazon itself.
We’ll also check out how often our keywords are searched for in Google using the Google Keyword Planner.
For this example we’ll use the Nutrition niche, which is the subject I’ve chosen to write about. But the term “nutrition” is way too general, we’ll have to narrow that down quite a bit to make our chances of success greater.
I have several friends who have been following an eating routine called the Paleo diet, so I decided to investigate this area.
We’ll visit theGoogle Keyword Planner first. It’s free to use and provides some handy information. If you don’t have an account it takes just a couple of minutes to create one.
Once inside, I entered our major search term, Paleo Diet, into the KWP and let it do its thing. Below are some of the first page results, sorted by highest to lowest search volume.
As you can see, the main term gets a whopping 450,000 searches per month! That’s a lot of activity, and leads me to believe we have a popular subject here, but we need to do a bit more investigating before we declare a winner.
Research Popular Titles on Kindel
Let’s visit theAmazon Kindle nonfiction BestSellers page and drill down until we find our niche.
On the left side of the page I’ll navigate down until I find books about the paleo diet. Here’s the breakdown:
Health Fitness & Dieting>>Diets & Weight Loss>>Diets>>Paleo
The next step is to click on the top 3 titles to see if they’re selling any copies of their eBooks. We can easily tell by checking one important number; the Amazon Bestsellers ranking. See the screen capture below.
I typically look for a book that’s ranking under 30,000 in the Kindle store. Remember that there are millions of books out there. That means books in the 30,000 to 40,000 range are selling at least a few copies every day.
While it’s impossible to know exactly how many copies this book is selling, a number this low indicates that it could be dozens per day.
Let’s check another. The second book looks like this.
Here again, these numbers indicate that a lot of books are being sold. I checked a few more titles and all the numbers are in the same ballpark.
All in all, I’d say this niche is a very active and profitable one.
That was fun, let’s do another one!
I was browsing around in the subject of another of my interests, Aromatherapy. Here’s what I found inside the keyword planner.
Plenty of search volume here! Also, take note of one of highest result here, essential oils. Now let’s check Amazon again.
So we drilled down this way: Health, Fitness & Dieting>>Alternative Medicine>>Aromatherapy
Next, we’ll open a few books in different tabs to check the Amazon bestsellers rank
NOTE: When I opened the first book I noticed a problem. It was published only a few days before
I did my checking. In this case, you should not include the book in your analysis as the numbers are skewed. I disregard a book that’s less than 30 days old at the time I’m doing my checking.
Below is the number 2 selling book
As you can see, these numbers indicate brisk eBook sales.
What about number 3?
Still holding strong here.
It looks like we’ve identified another niche in which it could be profitable to write high quality eBooks!
Don’t Be Afraid of Kindle Competition
So, is this a green light to start writing an eBook on the Paleo Diet? Well, maybe…
You need to ask yourself a few questions before you enter any niche you’re considering.
Do you have personal experience with this subject? Lots of the products seem to be recipe books, can you write one of those?
Also, are you passionate about this subject?
Can you write more than one book on this subject?
These questions need to be answered before you make a snap judgment to write in a niche based purely on numbers.
Regarding competition, I see it as a good thing. It tells me books are being sold in a particular niche, and if I write an excellent book and take a unique angle, I may find success as well.
If you come from an Internet marketing background, you may be conditioned to seek out niches that have high search volume and low competition. While situations like this can seem to be the
Holy Grail for Internet marketers, in the Amazon Kindle marketplace it’s not really that big of a factor, in my opinion.
I really don’t worry too much about competition on Amazon. I think the market will continue to grow and there’s room for excellent books in any category.
Just what makes an excellent book?
Well, your unique voice as a writer is an important part of the equation these days. You must be different than your competition to be noticed, and you can accomplish this by developing your unique style and being original.
In addition to that, you must still write a high quality book. What, you were planning on mashing together some PLR that’s gathering digital dust on your hard drive?
Do us all a favor and please don’t do that. There’s already way too many of these types of books out there.
About the only time I’ll shy away from a niche that seems hot to me is when I see that all the top
books are written by celebrity authors or other authorities in the field. If too many of the top books look like they’re written by people with advanced degrees then I would say that unless you also have expert credentials in the same area, you should move on to easier territory.
There are plenty of niches to choose from, and at this point saturation doesn’t seem to be an issue.
Where can you learn more?
Next time, I’ll touch excellently how you should go about writing your kindle eBook.
For now, remember to sign up for my email list below and be kept up to date on my Kindle eBook case study:
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Self-publishing has opened many doors for talented writers who were previously shut out by traditional publishing houses.
It’s possible to create a career for yourself while doing something you love.
With a little research and planning, as well as some applied knowledge and hard work, you too can join in the self-publishing revolution.
Remember to follow the formula for success!