It’s not a good idea to publish a book just because you THINK it will sell. Instead, you need to do a proper research and get proof that your book can be part of a profitable non-fiction book publishing business. The niche you choose to write in will make-or-brake your chances of success. You can implement all the best book marketing strategies and do all the right things, but if you happen to pick a niche that doesn’t have a strong market, you’ll struggle to sell books.
What if you determine that there is NO sufficient demand for your topic and most probably it won’t sell? Would you still spend months of your life writing a book about it? Considering that it will earn only a few dollars? Even if the money is not important to you, what is the point to write and publish a book that nobody is going to read?
Writing a good quality book takes a lot of time and energy. For example, you will need to spend at least 100-200 hours to write a 160-page book. That’s not including the time it takes editing and formatting a self-published book or promoting it for the launch. Completing your manuscript will require commitment, research, creativity, and last but not least, time (and a lot of it). Make sure you spend this time on a book that can earn sales.
These are 6 questions you need to answer to find a profitable niche for your non-fiction book:
1. Is your audience passionate about the topic?
Are the people in your chosen niche irrationally passionate? Moreover, are YOU irrationally passionate about your topic? Do you spend tons of your time researching it? What’s more – do you spend money on information about it (books, online courses, private lessons etc.)? Even if you are not going to get any profit for it? If yes, that’s a good sign. But are there others as irrationally passionate as you?
Are there Facebook groups and fan pages, YouTube channels, podcasts, or blogs in your niche? Does your audience have its own special language? For example, in the digital marketing world, you hear words like “lead magnet”, “split testing”, and “landing pages”. In the horsemanship world that I belong to, they talk about “lateral flexion”, “horse collection” and “connection”. A passionate market always has its own vocabulary. It’s a sign of a strong community. Are they WILLING and ABLE to spend money on information? You can get an answer on this by checking out the other products in your niche. What are their prices, reviews, and sale ranks?
ALWAYS choose a niche that you’re passionate about.
Do you love cooking? Write a book about cooking. Do you like travelling? Write a book for travelers. Do you love being a mom? Write a book about parenting. You’ll understand your customer needs better and you’ll enjoy the learning process ten times more, which is the key to successful non-fiction book publishing.
2. Is your topic broad enough for book series?
If your goal is to sell a lot of books and earn a decent income, the topic you choose should be broad enough so that you can divide it into several books and organize them in book series. It’s a lot easier to build your non-fiction book business if you focus on writing multiple books within a chosen niche rather than writing many random books on unrelated subjects that have different target audiences. You want to avoid fragmenting your marketing efforts.
Building ONE audience is hard enough. It’s better to avoid spreading yourself across multiple niches.
I know this might be difficult for somebody. It was for me. I couldn’t choose my niche, and I didn’t even understand who my audience was; therefore, my first books were complete failures.
My point is this – you shouldn’t be looking for a SINGLE best-selling book idea. Instead, you should find a niche that leads to a whole catalog of titles. That’s how you win with non-fiction book publishing! For example, if your topic is the ever-popular “Social Media Marketing,” you can divide it into smaller and more specific topics for several short and easy-to-read books, like, “7 Tactics to Build Your Social Media Content Calendar” or “Grow Your Social Media Following in 30 days”. You want to choose a broad market with multiple problems. Check out my Free Online Tools book series as an example.
3. Are there established gurus in your niche?
When you are evaluating the potential of your chosen niche, find out if this market has established celebrities and gurus. There must be thriving businesses already selling information products in your market. Look around at the other experts in your niche and see what they are selling. Are there other books and online courses? What topics do they cover? Check out Udemy courses and see what instructors cover in their lectures. Read their reviews. Identify your place into this niche ecosystem and decide what your book will offer that others don’t.
You want to find a niche with its own subculture already established.
So, you are not the first one that tries to break a new path. A BIG mistake new authors tend to make, is trying to create their own niches. If you have an idea of such a unique book topic that no one else is selling, most probably it’s because there is no demand. You need to find a niche that is already profitable and has an audience that is eager to learn.
It doesn’t mean you should write books about the same topics as everybody else. Develop your own angle to present your ideas from a different perspective. A good example is the book “The 1 Page Marketing Plan” by Allan Dib. The themes he is covering in his book are traditional marketing fundamentals that every marketing student learn in a university. However, he presents them in a very interesting and conversational angle making his book a bestseller in various categories.
4. Who do you want to serve?
Most of us start with a book topic idea, never thinking about who we want as our readers. However, these are the people you will be interacting with, and you will “walk a mile in their shoes.” You will try to understand their problems, answer their questions and ask them to buy your books, and maybe also other products or services. You will devote a lot of your time to these people.
Therefore, before you write a single word, you need to make sure you can answer these questions:
- Who are my dream clients?
- What do they look like (age, gender)?
- What are their goals, dreams, and desires?
- Where do they hang online?
- What blogs do they read, and email newsletters do they subscribe to?
Find these people on the Internet, open their profiles, read their comments, and try to understand their pain points. You can easily find real people that represent your audience on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn groups, and other media. Write out their characteristics and then choose an actual picture to represent them.
It’s amazing how your perspective changes when you have a physical picture of your ideal customer—instead of a blurred image in your head. In the marketing world, these are called customer avatars. They are fictional, composite characters that reflect the key attributes of your audience.
For example, if you want to write about productivity techniques, you may have a Freelancer and Small Business Owner avatars. While they both use the same product, their pain points may be significantly different. While the freelancer needs to manage his own time to be more productive, the small business owner may be concerned about effectively managing his staff’s time. Therefore, you would need to address two different audiences. Maybe you would even need two different books?
The main mistake many authors make is that they assume that their book will be for everyone.
It doesn’t work like that! There’s no book that has been written for everyone! Although technically anybody can read it, not everybody will find it valuable. Therefore, you must identify the people that will benefit the most from your book. That group is your target audience. Knowing your target audience will help you to address their needs precisely. The more specific you are, the higher chances you will attract the right audience. What’s more, you will know who to market to.
5. What result will readers get after reading your book?
Do you know what problems your readers have? You need to be very clear on what result you want to give them. What will they gain after reading your book? How will their life change? Once you (and they) can see a clear benefit, it’s much easier to sell.
Non-fiction buyers usually buy because they want to get a specific knowledge or inspiration to solve a problem.
You need to switch your mindset from “how can I get value?” to “how can I give value?” and write a book that is so valuable that tons of people in a specific niche will want to buy it. Moreover, you would want to buy it.
Read this article to learn how to choose the TOPIC for your non-fiction book.
6. Is there a demand for your niche on Google?
Use Google Keyword Planner to get an idea on how popular your chosen topic is. If you type in this tool a word or a phrase, you’re considering for your Kindle book; Google will show you the EXACT amount of searches monthly. This will give you an idea of how many people are searching for this topic on Google. A valuable information, isn’t it?
For example, if you search for a keyword “social media marketing”, you will find out that it has more than 100 thousands monthly searches, which implies that this is a popular topic with high demand. However, it is rather broad. So, you would need to narrow it down to find a more specific niche, for example, keyword “social media content calendar” has less monthly searches and is more precise therm.
The best way to use Google Keyword Planner for evaluating the demand of your chosen niche is to create a list of related keywords and see how many monthly searches they all get on average. Although you can’t rely just on these data, because people usually search Google for finding free information (not paid), it can still give you some insights on how popular your niche is.
Google Trends is another great tool that will help you to evaluate the interest in a given keyword or topic. It shows how search habits have changed over time and whether the interest in your niche is increasing or decreasing. It’s a good tool for making sure that you are not going to invest your time in writing a book about a still-popular-but-waning topic.
Let’s say you’ve used Google Keyword Planner and done the research to create a list of the keywords that are related to your non-fiction book topic and has a significant number of monthly searches. Now it’s time to run them through Google Trends to see what the search tendencies are – whether they are climbing or going down.
If you have several niches in your mind, you can compare them in this tool to see which of them has a higher potential. If one of the niches shows significantly higher popularity within Google search results, most probably you should choose that one. Look at the example below; Facebook marketing is a much more popular topic than Twitter marketing. Therefore, choosing Facebook marketing as your book niche has much higher potential.
I hope by now, you already have some ideas about your potential niche for writing non-fiction books. The key here is to choose a niche that you feel passionate about so that it’s interesting to research and write about.
It can be tempting to skip the research process and jump straight into the writing process. However, DON’T fall into this trap! There is no point to spend your time to write a book for a niche that has no demand.