Authors can and should conduct analysis of their competitors. How do I know what I’m writing will sell? Are other authors selling similar content? Is there a gap that could be filled by my work?
These are important questions which can be answered by competitive (cooperative) analysis, and I’m sharing my process using KindleSpy to help me out.
Write a Cooperative Analysis
First, why cooperative analysis? I like to think of authors as a collective building a body of work together, which define and shape the genre. Some may disagree with me, but I liked the term when I read it in Marcy Kennedy’s guidelines:
- Compile a list of comparable, but more successful, authors
- Study their book descriptions
- Study their commonalities (pricing, categorization, cover design)
- Read their reviews (avoid what they “did wrong”)
- Determine what makes you special
While this list is pretty self-explanatory, I think the most difficult task is determining your set of comparable authors. If you’re not already reading the popular authors in your genre, how do you find them?
This is where I began using KindleSpy to help me out, and I suggest you try the same.
Use KindleSpy to Find Comparable Authors
Purchase and install KindleSpy in your browser (Chrome or Firefox). Watch the installation video, get familiar because it’s about to get weird. Or it did for me, anyway, because it has me questioning whether I’m writing in the correct genre!
Once I installed KindleSpy, I searched for “civil war historical fiction young adult” in the Kindle Store (the dropdown to the left of the Amazon search box).
There are 225 books in this category, not bad, but not good either. There are few books, so I could jump to the top of the pile if I wrote something amazing, but, sales are slow because it isn’t a popular search term.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the correct search terms or categories which make the popularity, potential, and competition indicators green. You want something that is super popular (searched often), with great potential (revenue per keyword), and low competition (you’re unique enough).
Once you find the correct keywords you’re hoping to write for, study the top 20 list of authors per Mary’s suggestions. Learn how they use the search keywords, how do they categorize the book, what sort of covers do they market with?
Utilize the keyword and word cloud analysis to determine how to make your book findable in the Kindle Store, which of course influences your marketability!
This cooperative analysis is the another step of my authorpreneur plan series, where I’m sharing how I’m controlling my fate as an independent author. You can read my previous posts where I defined my goals and stories, identified my readers, defined business operations, and outlined a draft of my product plan through 2017.