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How to Develop a Bestselling Book Idea

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August 21,2014


By Penny C. Sansevieri, Adjunct Instructor NYU & CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

With so many people jumping on the publishing bandwagon, it’s clear that anyone can write and publish a book these days. But there’s a difference between writing a book versus writing a book that will sell. Once you understand how to use keywords and research to your advantage, you can create a bestselling book, in particular, a book that will be a hit on Amazon. Here’s what you can do:


Where can you find ideas?

It starts with keywords. There are people who understand Search Engine Optimization to such a degree that they write books based on the most popular keywords that were top searches in Google. Why? Because those keywords are proven sellers. I don’t recommend this as a strategy for your book, but it does illustrate how important it is to write on a topic that already generates interest. This approach can help you resolve the following issues for your own book:


  • Book topic: You want your book to respond to the needs and questions of your audience. What do they want to know? How can you help them achieve their goals? You might not have to completely overhaul your original idea, but you can tweak your focus to respond to readers’ needs. And, since book production is a much faster process these days, you can respond to hot topics and trends quickly.
  • Book title: This is where the keyword research comes in handy. You want to use your keywords in your book’s title. This helps direct readers interested in your topic to your book instead of someone else’s when they’re searching online or on Amazon.
  • Book subtitle: You also want to use your keywords in your subtitle. Or, if you have a title you just love and it doesn’t include your keywords, you can make sure the keywords appear in the subtitle.
  • Book focus: Learn what your readers want to know about; this will help you address their questions and needs. You may understand your market, but dig deeper and learn specifically what they want. For instance, if you are a consumer finance expert learn what consumers search for online in your area – those are the topics they want to learn more about.


You should narrow your focus instead writing about a general topic. A real estate agent might want to write about buying or selling your first home, but that’s a really broad topic. It makes more sense to reach out to specific audiences: Buying Your First Home for Singles, Buying Your First Home for Seniors, etc. Think about creating a series of books within your topic that specialize in one issue. Also, multiple titles work in your favor on Amazon because the more you publish, the more you trigger Amazon’s algorithms.


Mastering Keyword Research on Amazon

You can use Google for your basic keyword research, and then take what you’ve learned and apply it to Amazon.

Step-by-step, here is what you’ll need to do:

  • Go to the Amazon page, and search in the Kindle store tab.
  • Enter your search term (keyword). You should get 5-10 suggestions. Click on one of them.
  • Examine the books that show up in the search results and click on the “customers also bought” section.
  • Focus on books that have a low sales rank. Depending on the category, it could be as low as 20,000 or as high as 50,000. These books are the hot topics and market segments that are bestsellers.
  • Ensure there are a variety of books in this category. This means more than five. You want to avoid categories that are too popular or too niche because you won’t sell much in either area.


Additional Strategies

You also want to check out the competition. If your competitors’ books are on Amazon you might be able to take advantage of the “look inside the book” feature. Read reviews of competitors’ books – and understand that their negative reviews could be helpful to you. See if the negative reviews are a result of readers wanting something from your competitors’ book that they didn’t get. Those are topics you can tackle in your book!

Keyword research and a competitive analysis are two key components of writing your book. This process helps you find the best focus for your book and gives your book the best chance to become a bestseller. With more than 3,500 books published daily in the United States, you want to do all you can to make your book marketable and saleable.


Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Follow on Twitter @Bookgal.


Now that we have identified how keyword research is an important component of writing your book check out our article on how you can use Amazon as a search engine to help you sell more books.

Google+ profile of Penny C. Sansevieri, Adjunct Instructor NYU & CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

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