I’ve had some people ask me, basically what my secret is with KDP.
What makes my income so much higher than other people who are really trying in this business and not seeing the same results!?
I would like to lift the curtain somewhat on some factors that I believe have led to my own success specifically.
I’d also like to share EXACTLY how this happened to me and how timing and luck were also important in my particular case.
My results, as far as I’m aware and from what I have been told, are not typical to most and I think that’s important to mention.
I don’t want to lead people to think they can throw up some books and start having success because, most won’t.
That said, you will STILL have some people that do!
I can only speak theoretically about some things that may have helped me to do well because, of course there is no way for me to know absolutely one way or another.
I also know that some of these things aren’t the ONLY reason I’ve made sales.
One of my top 10 selling books right now was created in 2021 and I’ve managed to gain traction in this niche – despite the additional competition that is in it now.
With this book though, I did rely on Ads to get some initial sales and with the others, I didn’t have to.
It was my best niche already, but I wanted to improve on the books that had been my top sellers and really just prove that I could still come into this niche and start gaining traction.
I was competing against myself in this case, as part of an experiment.
It just shows that people can come into the niche I chose and still make sales – despite many of the books having many 100’s of reviews.
If you can create a cover that really appeals to a very targeted audience, you can generate sales with no reviews.
Once you have those initials sales, this can lead to reviews… Which leads to more sales and with any luck…..
There is a snowball effect.
This won’t always happen and that can be the difficultly.
It takes a lot of discipline and motivation to keep creating books over time and especially when you don’t get the results you want.
Sometimes you can try really hard on a book and it doesn’t work out and this can be incredibly discouraging and demotivating.
I had a book I really tried with – but I just could not get the initial sales.
I spent a bit with Ads and I felt the design was good — but the niche was too competitive.
There is a fine line.
Because you want a niche to have enough of an audience that people are searching – but not SO much that you are like a needle in a haystack.
I’ve had the most success trying books in niches closely RELATED to some of the highly competitive ones.
So, they may be similar in many ways, but the keyword I target will not have the volume of traffic or competition that the related one does.
While this may lead to less sales than the highly competitive term, it can still have a snowball effect and with any luck, you will also start showing up for some of these more competitive search terms down the road, once your book has gained traction for the less competitive keywords.
The trouble is, in really high competition niches – you will have traditionally published authors bidding on those keywords and they have a much bigger budget and profit margin to work from.
As low content publishers, we may only be making $2-$3 per book in many cases. That doesn’t leave very much room for advertising expenses!
The Beginning – What Led To My Initial Success:
After doing a whole bunch of notebooks and it only leading to a handful of sales here and there – I decided to take the advice to go for books with slightly more content.
I guess you could call them medium content – but really just books with additional aspects like prompts, or a different design template on various pages, (so not just one identical design per page).
I stumbled across a niche with very little competition. One other low content publisher was there at the time.
The design of their books was something I felt I could compete with and the sales weren’t amazing but somewhere between 100k-300k per book often.
My thought was, that this niche could get more sales. So I created several books in this niche. The first one took off very quickly.
Being published in Q4 probably had something to do with this. It quite quickly was making daily sales. Then I got a few reviews and by my third month seriously doing KDP, it made around $500 in December and accounted for half of all my book sales.
Since then it has still remained my best selling book. Even though, I have several others in the niche that do make sales, no others have overtaken that one.
The niche now has tonnes of people in it, mostly including copycats who have tried to do a very similar looking book.
That is part of the issue for many people. They simply try and replicate a book that’s already there.
This is not worth your time when the main book has hundreds or thousands of reviews. Because people generally will choose the original book.
So, if you’re going to target a niche where you believe there is an opportunity, really try and put a unique spin on what is there and think about audiences that may be underserved in that niche.
A Narrow Niche At First Can Become More:
So, the search volume for my main keyword is quite low.
But I also target other keywords in my subtitle and the backend which are competitive.
What happens is you rank for those low competition keywords first and then you start ranking for more and more competitive keywords as your book gains sales and reviews.
Consequently, you may find a lot of my competition ranking for those very low competitive terms without much search volume – but then you search for the higher competitive terms and they will not be in the search results.
That is an additional reason why it’s so hard to compete with established books.
They have WAY more visibility and while they have that, they will keep getting a huge amount more sales and reviews so that it can make it incredibly difficult to ever reach their level, unless – (for example;) you are prepared to spend a vast amount on advertising at a loss to try and really generate traction.
A Bit Of Luck:
I came across another niche about a year after this, where there were plenty of people but I felt the niche was somewhat underserved at the time.
Meaning, I felt maybe I could create some designs that would appeal to specific set of the audience.
This may be in terms of style of the actual cover, age group, gender or so on.
Take a look in the niches you’re interested in and ask yourself whether there are people you could appeal to in this niche, which isn’t really being covered.
I went ahead and created three books in this niche, with similar interiors, (still unique) and unique covers.
ONE out of these three books took off.
The other two also made sales, but on a much smaller scale.
For whatever reason, the style and colour of one of these covers appealed to people and this became another one of my best selling books.
I decided to experiment with a new author name.
The author name I decided wouldn’t be based on just one niche, but would be based on style.
I had tested one book in this style & it started to sell well. So, I decided to test this style in other niches.
So, the covers would have similarities in design and would be part of a brand – but the books within it were not all in the same niche.
Some of them complimented each other – but others did not.
I just wanted to test whether a particular style of cover could work across a variety of niches.
It turns out they did.
This pen name has turned into one of my best selling author names.
This taught me a couple of things.
The first being that experimenting and trying new things can really lead to great results.
But also that when you get a best selling book in ONE niche… You can use elements of that idea to create books that sell in other niches as well.
That may be the style of the actual cover, or the interior layout of the book as well – which could be used as a template to fit other niches and become still become something totally unique.
Don’t Overthink it:
If you spend too long trying to find the BEST niche, you will never actually get started.
I’ve never overcomplicated the whole process of trying to make a book and so far, some of the books that have worked out best for me – I did the least research on.
I’m not telling you to just not bother researching or doing keyword research. But it’s not the be all and end all.
I guess it depends on the type of person you are.
I’m not particularly analytical – I like the creativity that comes in creating something and that’s what inspires me above the numbers looking right.
I would struggle to create a book in a niche JUST because all the tools I had at my disposal told me it was a great option.
Actually, I HAVE done this before and it’s never worked out for me.
I thought I found a great niche and created several books in it — I think I made one sale. Maybe it’s because I really didn’t understand that niche at all and therefore, probably wouldn’t struggle to appeal to people who were looking for something that I just couldn’t provide.
So, to an extent I would say to go into areas that you are drawn to.
I apologise if that seems vague but if you are drawn to no areas book wise and are just doing it to make cash, this probably is going to be more of an uphill struggle.
If you’re disciplined you could do it.
But for me personally, I can struggle to stay motivated even in areas I DO enjoy being creative in, let alone find boring.
But I don’t want to say something generic like follow your passion — because there may be zero money in your passion honestly.
So, you want to be where there is definitely money being spent – but where you feel you could provide some value and not just be churning out uninspired BS for the sake of making a few dollars.
What Factors Attributed To My Success?
So, in summary, I think the following factors were big contributors.
Without a doubt, starting in 2019 was a bonus. Even more so for those starting out before me in 2018 and earlier, had a great head start on KDP.
Stumbling across niches at just the right time, was also a lucky factor that contributed to success. However, you can make your own luck by keeping your eyes open for opportunities at all times and by actually taking action on Amazon.
Experimenting with different aspects of KDP was a huge contributor to my success so far. If you’re curious and attempt to try things, this can lead to great results.
Don’t just rely on numbers and statistics – be creative and try and think outside the box.
Filling a gap in the market:
There will always be new niches that come along and there will always be new gaps in the market. Again, this comes down to having a bit of creativity and keeping your eyes open.
Doing a twist on what is already out there:
Don’t just blindly copy what is already out there and expect to have success. These days more than ever, you really need to try and create something unique. Or put a twist on something that has already been a success.
Trying to reach audiences that are underserved:
There are often audiences within a niche that are either underserved or ignored entirely. If you can develop an eye for who these people are and appeal to them, then you can really capitalise on this.
This may be as simple as a different age bracket, a certain style of cover, or a sarcastic twist on an idea that’s successful already.
………. So, those are the key things that I can come up with that I think attributed to my success.
No, there is no SECRET – but these are the only things in my mind that I imagine played a role here.