Now that we’ve learned how to determine daily book sales based off of Amazon rankings, the next step we need to cover is how to find potential book topics. The goal is to create a list of a bunch of potential topics that we can later check for profitability.
To be clear, not all the topics we find using these methods are going to be good topics for us to publish books on. This method is about finding topics where we KNOW at least one book is selling well, so we’re hoping that the one book is a sign that other books in that topic are selling as well.
Anyway, the first step in this method is navigating to the Kindle nonfiction bestseller list. To get there from the Amazon homepage:
- To the left of the search bar, hover over “Shop by Department”.
- Hover over “Books & Audible”.
- Click on “Kindle Books”.
- In the sidebar on the left, under the orange heading “Popular Features” click on “Kindle Best Sellers”.
- In the sidebar on the left, click “Nonfiction”.
- You should end up on this page.
Here we can see the top 100 paid and top 100 free nonfiction Kindle books. As you can probably tell, especially on the top 100 paid, the list is dominated by traditionally published books with huge marketing budgets as well as books by celebrity authors. However, we’re searching through these lists with the goal of finding self-published books.
The logic behind looking for self-published books on the bestseller lists is that if one book by an unknown author can sell really well about a topic, maybe if we write one too we can achieve the same results. Like I said at the beginning of this post, not all the topics we find using this method are going to be good topics for us to publish books on. They’re just ideas that we’ll eventually figure out which ones will be good topics and which ones won’t.
Now you’re probably wondering how to tell which books out of these 200 are self published. It sometimes can be hard to tell for sure, but here are some good indicators:
Most self-published authors don’t have professionally designed covers. If the cover of a book looks like it was thrown together by a 12 year old with photoshop or a cheap gig on Fiverr, then that’s a good sign it’s self-published. For example, take a look at the two covers below (both Kindle books currently available) and tell me which one is self-published and which one is traditionally published?
Granted this won’t work in the top 100 free list, if you’re looking in the top 100 paid list you can tell a book is self-published sometimes based off it’s price. Most self-published Kindle books are either $0.99 or $2.99. On the contrary, most traditionally published books are NOT $0.99 or $2.99.
Self-published books are oftentimes shorter than the average traditionally published book. From my experience, most traditionally published books are over 200 pages. If you see a book that has less than 100 pages, that screams self-published.
Down in the “Book Details” section where you’d find the Amazon Ranking, look to see if a publisher is listed. If not, there’s a good chance it’s self-published.
Number of Reviews
Traditionally published books with huge marketing budgets and celebrity authors tend to get hundreds, if not thousands, of reviews. While this may not always be the case, if a book has over 100 reviews, there’s a good chance it’s not self-published.
While CreateSpace has made it easier for self-published authors to make their book available in print, many self-published authors don’t take advantage of that. If there is not print version available, then it’s almost always self-published.
Once you’ve gone through both the top 100 paid and top 100 free nonfiction Kindle book lists and picked out all the ones that you think are self-published, create a list of all their titles. If you see that there are multiple books on your list about the same topic, great! That’s a good sign!
We’ll come back to how to verify if these topics are profitable or not in a future post coming soon, so if you haven’t already, make sure to sign up for the OIT mailing list located in the sidebar, or directly under this post!
In the mean time, if you have any questions about this method, please go ahead and ask them in the comments section below!