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Testing Stage 2: Scouting the Competition

Testing Your Book Idea: CompetitionOnce you have finished with the Listening stage of Testing Your Book idea, it is time to go scout your competition. Who is out there writing books like the one you want to write?

How Many Competitors Are There?

Take the heart of your book’s big idea and head out to Amazon. Shop for titles that cover the book’s concept. See how many titles come up under that concept. For example, my idea for a book that covers self-help and motivation for kids has 182 other books competing for my audience’s attention. That’s a pretty small number compared to books on art for kids which has 25,761 titles to it.

What Are the Rankings on the Top 10?

Make a note of the top 10 books sold under the topic of interest for you. What is their sales ranking? Art for Kids, the top book in the category of art for kids, has a sales ranking of 1,704 out of all the books sold on Amazon. To translate that into books sold per day, you want to hop over onto a site called Kindlepreneur. This ranking means that the author sells between 70-100 books per day, which means that there is a demand for that concept.

Think Positive for Kids, under the self-help and motivation for kids category, has a sales ranking of 14,938 and probably sells 5-15 books per day. That means there is a market for this kind of book, but it’s not a very big one.

More Competition Equals More Money

Here’s a counter-intuitive reality of the sales market. The more books there are on the market, the more room there is in the market to make money. Authors are being published because there’s a high demand for the content being sold.
That’s why publishers continue to produce books in that category. When the money dries up, you see fewer books out there. Publishers aren’t as willing to take a risk on a book with no competition because they worry that there won’t be a market for it and it will be hard to make money from it.

What Can You Offer That They Can’t?

Look around at what is being offered. Look for a gap you can fill. How can you approach the subject in a way that no one else can?

Check In

What did you find when you did your scouting? How many competitors did you find? How strong is the market? What do you think that you might be able to offer your readers that they can’t?

Need Help?

If you’re feeling discouraged or you can’t see what you can offer, let me know. We may include your book idea in a case study for next time.

Coming Next Week: Finding Your Unique Selling Position

This is what we’ll be discussing in the next article in the series: Testing Stage 3: Your Unique Selling Position.

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