Many authors skip doing competitive research for their but that’s a mistake. Doing your research helps you figure out what categories you can be competitive in, and whether your book cover, title, and keywords are right for your audience. Here are the tools that can help.
Reminder: This consumer’s guide is a companion reference to the Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors, 4th Edition, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to create, publish, distribute, and market, and sell your book.
IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
Amazon Advanced Search
Amazon Advanced Search is where you do your competitive research. Find books like yours that have been published recently, figure out what your cover needs to look like, narrow down the best categories for your book, find keywords that work, and see how bestselling book descriptions and author bios are structured,
Book Review Targeter
Book Review Targeter can help you do research and get book reviews. See its full description in the Book Reviews section.
Google Adwords Keyword Planner
Google Adwords’ keyword planner is a really good research tool to figure out what keywords you should use when uploading your book for distribution. You’ll need a Google account to use it.
Start by searching words or phrases related to your book. You’ll see how often keywords are searched and how their search volume changes over time. You’ll probably want to choose low- to- medium competition keywords. Narrow is better. Your book may get lost in a high-competition search term.
Google Cloud Vision
Get insights about your images pretrained API models or easily train custom vision models. It quickly classifies images into thousands of categories (such as, “sailboat”), detects individual objects and faces within images, and reads printed words contained within images. You can build metadata on your image catalog, moderate offensive content, or enable new marketing scenarios through image sentiment analysis.
KDP Rocket is a $97 desktop application for Mac and Windows PCs that helps you find Kindle keywords that readers type into the Amazon search engine to find the books they’re looking for. It’s a valuable tool for competitive analysis showing you lots of information: how many times customers type in a keyword, the ranking of other books with that keyword, and how many books are competing for the keyword. You’ll be able to find your potential competitors along with the reviews, book cover, and earnings. For Mac and Windows computers. $97 desktop application.
Kindle Spy is a $47 browser extension that helps you figure out what Amazon Kindle categories you should choose for your book. See what books like yours are using and what categories are too popular (saturated with so many books that yours will get lost) and which you can actually compete in. Because BISAC codes are similar to Amazon categories it can help you choose these wisely, too.
Pickfu for Surveys
Pickfu helps you get unbiased (not from your friends and family) feedback before you publish on your book cover, titles, graphics, marketing copies, even your book idea, by creating a poll. It’s easy to set up, they bring the responders, and you can slice and dice responses by age, gender, ethnicity, income, and education. Costs about $20/poll or discounted for bulk.
Other survey tools include:
Yasiv.com is a free tool created by Amazon that provides visual mapping of purchases made by Amazon customers. Start by searching for a book like yours to see a map of other books that readers have bought. This tool really helps you understand how people are searching on Amazon for books in your category.
How to market your book
The Self-Publishing Boot Camp courses will help you with every aspect of self-publishing. Marketing starts at the very beginning in the Self-Publishing Freedom course, with building your platform and finding your readers. Then when your book is done, your fans will help you market, as you’ll learn in the Marketing and PR course.