Competition matters. You acim be able to carve a niche for yourself if you don’t know which spots have already been taken by your competition.
Amazon is the best place for you to start researching your competition. Simply key in a general keyword that people looking for your book might search for. Then, take a look at which of the books in the search results are good enough to be considered legitimate competition.
By good enough, we mean those books that have good reviews, several buyers and enough reviews to tell you what the book is all about.
You should also take a look at the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section, where you might find additional books to add to your competitors’ list. A lot of the time, book titles don’t contain the keywords you are looking for, so it’s worth taking a look at this section, too.
After you have filtered out the books that aren’t your competition, the next step is to find out how you can make your book better than the books left on your list.
When you’re pretty sure you have the most popular books on your topic, it’s time to read through their reviews one by one.
Be sure to have note-taking software or your good, old notebook handy because you have to take notes of the most salient points in the reviews section. The following is what you should look for.
- Common Comments.
The most common problems tend to crop up in the reviews. When more than one person points out a particular weakness, you’ve found yourself a target. Make sure you address that flaw in your own book.
In reading reviews about dating books for middle-aged men, for example, you might find that one thing a lot of reviewers agree upon is that the content is presented in a cold, hard and completely un-relatable manner.
You might be able to explain this by the fact that a lot of dating books are written by dating therapists and psychologists, not people who have conquered the dating world again in their middle age.
Now, if you’re that kind of person, if you were able to find the love of your life or several juicy flavors of the month while dating in your 40s and 50s, then your book won’t be based on psychology but on your own personal experience.
You’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. You’ve experienced it for yourself. Most self-proclaimed love doctors haven’t. That could just be what makes your book better.
- Unanswered Questions. Reviews are very helpful in letting you know which issues are left unaddressed or not quite properly addressed by the book’s author.
These are where questions, objections and other unpleasant reactions by real readers are raised. Take note of all of these and see if you can address these issues in your own book.
For example, one common complaint you might find in a dating book for older men is that the author thoroughly suggests ways on how to make yourself desirable for the kind of women you want to attract, but there is little said on how to actually approach a woman and ask her out.
After looking through other books in your competitors’ list and you find that a lot of reviewers share the same questions, you found yourself a unique book to write.
- Length. You would be surprised to know that some e-books being marketed on Amazon are less than a hundred pages long.
If you’re going for an e-book, this might be fine, but a real, printed book jam-packed with information and has lots of gold nuggets to offer should have at the very least a hundred pages. Anything less than that is not a book. It’s a long article that’s formatted in e-book form.
People know when they are shortchanged when they’re expecting a good, long read and realize they finished reading everything in an hour.
Take advantage of this long article phenomenon and step up to the plate. Show your readers you can offer more than an hour’s read and give them more information than what is normally available.
- Publication Date. If your competitors’ books are five years old or older, you’re in luck. You can easily set your book apart because it contains the most updated, and therefore most relevant, information of all.