I understand the need to use data to improve my book sales, but I definitely don't enjoy spending my time with categories, keywords, spreadsheets and ad results.
I'd rather spend my time researching obscure artefacts in dusty museums, writing more books, or just getting on with life. 🙂
But recently, I've been co-writing sweet romance with a (much-loved) family member, and I want the launch to go well.
So I am starting again in a new category which I don't know very much about – except that it is extremely competitive. (Just to be clear, my co-author DOES read in this genre but is not the publisher, so I need to upskill in order to do the best I can for the brand).
This is a new author name that won't be blogging, tweeting or even emailing much. We will be relying on the books themselves, as well as Amazon and Facebook advertising to drive traffic and sales. This new author will not have an author platform.
So I was faced with a problem.
How do I research this niche without driving myself crazy-miserable in the weeds of data?
Perhaps you understand this feeling. I suspect it is all too common in the indie author community right now because we want to use data, but we aren't too keen on the process for getting it or working out how to use it.
Then I discovered K-lytics and the awesome genre reports available, as well as some of the ways to use the data there. Alex, who runs K-lytics, is an absolute data geek and he spends his time combing the Amazon US rankings and categories for insights that will help. He loves this stuff – so you don't have to!
There are a number of genre-specific reports available, priced $27 – $50, which was definitely a price I was willing to pay to get an initial view of the data so I could proceed.
The report provided me with data on:
- Category analysis against the market as a whole
- Which sub-categories might be the most appropriate
- The top authors writing in the Clean & Wholesome niche
- Most common keywords used in book titles and sales descriptions
- Book covers of the Top 30 bestsellers, providing an overview of what cover design might be appropriate for the genre
- A list of the top 100 selling books (at the time of the report) including their price, sales rank, sub-categories, number of reviews and other information to make research easier
- Top 100 sales descriptions listed out, which is really useful as a template for writing your own
With this report, I was able to decide on the sub-genres to use as my categories, use the author list as a starting point to research comparison authors for Amazon Ads and Facebook Ads, plus determine keywords that I can consider for book titles and sales descriptions, and create a model template for my book descriptions.
The reports have taken me from almost zero to having a much better idea of how to progress from here.
Because let's face it, Amazon is massive and navigating where a book might find an audience is a lot easier when you have somewhere to start.
Based on how useful the romance information was, I also downloaded the Mystery, Thriller & Suspense report and ended up re-categorizing my London Psychic series based on the information I found. In the week since I made this single change, Desecration has improved its ranking. I'll be going through the same process with my other books.
Remember, you get 2 categories when you upload to KDP, but you can get into more categories through the use of Browse Category keywords, and you can also email Amazon Author Central to add you into others ones. You can also change them over time.
So if your book isn't selling, then maybe you can use data to figure out a better sub-category for it.
You can also use K-lytics data to figure out new niches that might be of interest.
For example, Gothic Romance is an up-and-coming sub-niche, which is interesting for me since I write dark books that could skew into this area, and have actually read some of the books classified there right now.
As well as the genre specific reports, you can also join K-lytics as a monthly member and get access to the core data behind the reports, as well as lots of other useful downloads and video seminars that explain the data.
This helps if you want to start with a clean sheet of paper and work out which sub-genres might best fit with what you want to write, or use it to give you creative ideas for new books targeting specific niches (otherwise known as writing to market), or if you want to check the viability of a new book idea.
To be clear, I am an affiliate of K-lytics, but I bought the two Romance reports and only after finding them useful, did I approach Alex to enquire about being an affiliate. I love to bring useful resources to my audience, and this has been super-useful for me! I can't believe I didn't know about it before, so I wanted to share it with you.
Have fun with your data exploration!