Book Idea Validation Mastery


There is nothing more frustrating than writing a book and finding out later that no one will buy it…or that the sales drop after a couple of months.

Even after all of your marketing efforts, begging friends, and doing promotion site pushes, there it sits with no sales and no movement.

But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be this way.  You CAN do some simple research to validate your idea and ensure there is a hungry market for what you want to write BEFORE you write it.

This will help ensure your book idea will succeed and you’ll have sales.  This can also help you to tweak your idea a bit so as to give it the best chance for REALLY reaching a market and being discovered on Amazon.

Now, in Kindlepreneur fashion, I’m not talking about some wishy-washy tactic like “go to the store and look at what’s selling.”I’m talking about some real concrete steps that can give you necessary information.  I know for a fact that many major Publisher companies use this same information in their decision matrix.

Therefore, in this article, I’m going to show you the exact process that I take every time I go to research a book idea as well as the following:

  • How to perform book market research
  • Validate your book ideas
  • Choose the keywords to get your book seen once published
  • How to gain book discoverability and keep it that way
  • What to do if your idea doesn't work out – you can still write it!

There are a lot of steps to this, however, if you’d like to skip all that and use a simple tool that does all of this for you, and saves you hours of time, and gives you better data, then click here.

What it Takes to Make a Book a Good Idea

So what does it mean when someone says a book is a good idea? There are contextual pieces to this equation like it being a topic you are passionate about or a topic you really know. But for the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus solely on the marketing aspect of the idea and whether or not Amazon has a pre-existing market actively searching for the kind of book you want to write.

So the real question should be: Is this a book idea that Amazon will help me to sell?

Now, famous people like Gary Vaynerchuk or Tony Robbins can sell just about any book. Because of their pre-existing fame, platform, and reach, all they need to do is write a book, and engage their fans…which for them, equates to instant best-seller and multi-million dollar profits.

But, sadly, that’s not us…or at least not yet.  Instead, most of us must depend on creating a book that is discoverable and has a unique positioning without hordes of competition.

To get that, you need your book idea to have the following three criteria:

Pre-existing Market: A pre-existing market is proof that people are actively looking for your kind of book. They are searching the internet and trying to find the subject you are thinking about writing.

Proof that the market is willing to pay: There are many things out there that people type in that they don’t intend to pay for. Sometimes they do, but they find they can get it for free somewhere else. With this, you want to verify that your idea is profitable and the market is willing to pay you what you think it is worth.

Low enough competition: Even if there is a hungry market that is willing to pay for your book, if there is too much competition or the competition is too good, then your idea will sink. A book on “How to Lose Weight” may have lots of people willing to pay for it, but your book will never be discovered in the sea of other “How to Lose Weight” books.

Sounds like a lot, but don’t be discouraged because I have a process and tool that will help you collect the above information and help you make an informed decision on whether or not your book idea will make you money.

Book Idea Research: Step-By-Step Guide

The following steps are the exact steps I use to figure out whether or not a book will sell. It includes the manual method that anyone can do, or a more effective and efficient method if numbers and time are an issue.

Step 1: Learn If & How Many People Search For Your Book Idea?

First and foremost, you need to know if people are actively looking for your kind of book. To do this, start by typing in your idea into Amazon.  When you do this, Amazon will try to guess at what you're going to write by autofilling in responses that they've seen others type in before – like this:

Through this process, you can build  a list of Keywords that shoppers have used when on Amazon. You can also supplement this list by using Google suggestions as well – although not as good as Amazon, sometimes this can help discover other ideas and more.  You can use Google's own Keyword Planner (free but not complete) or something like (paid, but stellar Google SEO tool).

However, if you'd like to see how many people actually type in those phrases into Amazon, instead of hoping they are popular or not, you'll need to use the Publisher Rocket tool.  This software, will:

  • List all of the Amazon suggestions like above
  • List Google suggestions as well
  • Tell you how many people typed that phrase into Amazon per month

See the # of Searches on Publisher Rocket Here

Step 2: Find Out if the Idea is Profitable

I made the mistake once of forgetting this step. I had a high demand idea that had low competition. However, it turns out it wasn’t the type where people would pay for the information – but were willing to look around….double whammy!

Therefore, we need to verify if people are willing to pay for this kind of book or if they are looking for free deals, or its not enough for them to actually whip out their wallet and buy books on this subject or genre.

Step 1. Type your potential book idea phrase into Amazon for Kindle

Amazon Keyword search bar

Step 2. Select the top 14 books (number of books that show up on the first page of the Amazon search results) and find their Amazon Best Seller Rank (ABSR), price, and Number of reviews.

Amazon Best Seller Rank number location

Step 3. Take the ABSR number and place it in my free Amazon Best Seller Rank Calculator below.  This will tell you how many books are sold per day.

Step 4. Multiply the number of books sold per day by the price of the book and “30” so as to give a rough estimate of how much money the book is bringing in per month – yeah, I know there are months that don't have 30 days…but let's just keep it simple 😉

(Number of Books Sold Per Day) X (Price) X (30) = Estimate Revenue Per Month

Step 5. Now, do the above for all 14 books that were selected. Add up all the Earnings Per Day and divide by 14 so as to get the top 14 average earnings per day for that group.

(Add up all Earnings per Day)/14 = Average Earnings for that Search Phrase

Step 6. Now ask yourself if that seems like a good number.

PS: Publisher Rocket will pull all this data for you with a click of a button and allow you to access the book cover, and important information about those books (by clicking the green button to the right of the phrase:

Click to See How Much Money Books Are Making

Step 3. Discover How Hard the Competition is

So, by now, we should know relatively how many searches are made for the phrase, and whether or not it is profitable. We now need to figure out if the competition is too great and whether or not we can get our book in a position to beat the others.

Step 1. Record the number of search results that appear for the phrase.  To do this, type in the phrase in Amazon and look for the number of results that show up:

Number of Kindle keyword competitors for ninja books for kids

Step 2. Take the ABSR of each of top three books and average them together.

Step 3. Take the ABSR of the top 14 books and average them together.

Step 4. Finally, look at the book covers, the happiness of the customers, descriptions, etc and give the book a grade from 1-100 with one being terrible and you could be it and 100 meaning perfect in every way like Mary Poppins.  This will be our Quality competition analysis.

By having these four numbers, you’ll be able to compare the competitiveness of this phrase or book idea both quantitatively and qualitatively.

Going back to the information you're recording on your excel sheet, let's look at the ABSR of the first book. Our goal should be to outrank that book because the book that ranks #1 for a phrase gets the most sales.

But sometimes a niche/idea/phrase is just too juicy and ranking #2-6 is sufficient for enough sales to warrant writing the book as well. That’s why I’ve included Step 2 and 3.

So, what constitutes what is too competitive as compared to good enough? Well that depends on many factors to include:

  • How many searches per month for that book idea: Is there enough room?
  • Quality of the Titles and subtitle: Are they optimized for showing up for that phrase?
  • Quality of the Book Cover: Are they super ugly and easy to beat?
  • Quality of their description and sales copy: Are they masters?
  • The author, their fame and legitimacy: Hopefully Tony Robbins isn’t one of your competitors

If you don't know how to rate the above, don't worry about it if you're using Publisher Rocket.  We actually took most of that information and created a competitive score for you. That way, you can use our intuition and experience to figure out if its easy or too competitive.  You can also use Rocket's Competition feature to learn key insight into each of the books you might be competing against if you wrote the book.

Check the Competition Score on Rocket

Step 4. Rinse and Repeat

Most likely you didn’t strike gold on your first try. Therefore, rinse and repeat. You can either go in a completely different direction, narrow down your search, and look at what Amazon suggests.

Completely Different Direction: Sometimes you can just see the writing on the wall and know it's a bad idea – congrats then, because your research just stopped you from wasting a lot of time writing a really good book that the market doesn’t want.

Narrow Down Your Search: What will most likely be the case is that as you start looking at books in your category, you’ll start to find out that you can niche down and get more specific…this will help you reduce your level of competition, but will also reduce the level of traffic as well. But hey. What’s better? 1% of 1000 or 40% of 100?

To get ideas on how to niche down, you’ll want Amazon to assist you. Have you noticed that when you go to type in a phrase into Amazon’s search box, it gives you suggestions? It gives those suggestions because it knows what people have typed into it.

So, start writing and see what Amazon suggests. Take a couple and repeat the processes above to see if any are a winner:

Amazon Keyword Suggestion tool for ninja books

Or just type in other search idea into Publisher Rocket and click “Go Get Em Rocket.”  Process easily and efficiently repeated…just like that.

What if My Idea Didn't Work, But I Still Want to Write it?

This tactic of validation one's idea is not about forcing artists to change their art, or stop them from writing.  Instead it is here to help authors understand whether or not Amazon will help you sell your book.  Does Amazon have an existing market hungry for what you have to offer.

If the answer is no, and you still want to write that book, that's totally fine.  But you can't depend on Amazon to send you shoppers.  Instead, your marketing tactics will need to focus on finding the right market somewhere else, and sending them to your book.  If you already have fans, or a large email list, or fame, then this is very easy.  You can just direct them to your latest works and it will do well (hence why building an email list is important).  But if you don't have any of those things, then here is a list of tactics and some resources to help you:

So What’s Next

Whether or not you use the lightening fast and bodaciously awesome Publisher Rocket – yeah, I’m biased – or the steps listed above, we authors need to do our research. We can no longer just wing it because there are now over 4.7 million books on Kindle.

Now, the steps above don’t promise success. But just like any successful business does its marketing research, it's critical for an author (business) to take measures to ensure they can answer the above questions and provide actionable data in order to make that critical decision.

You as an author have the ability to research the potential of your book idea and can now decide whether or not to move forward on the subject.




  1. alvaro on April 23, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    hi. does Publisher Rocket work for amazon in other countries/languages? Like in Spanish for the mexican store?

    • Dave Chesson on April 25, 2020 at 10:07 pm

      Currently it works for US, German and soon will be UK. We have other markets planned but aren’t sure exactly when that will happen.

  2. pas_de_deux on February 7, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Hey Dave new to Publisher Rocket (less than a month purchased as Jeff W.). Awesome tool really opened my eyes into why my LC and Medium content books weren’t selling- so worth the investment!Kind of a newbie question for keyword competition. Closer to zero is best relative to the other scores but what about a medium area. Would a good rule of thumb be 50 and under. Niche down if above 50?Thoughts?
    Thanks in advance 🙂

  3. David Irvine on November 26, 2019 at 1:45 pm

    This article doesn’t give you any tips. It is just one big indirect marketing write up to pay for Publisher Rocket. Unsubscribe!

  4. Alfaruk Aliraqi on September 24, 2019 at 3:16 am

    Dear dave first of all thanks for creating this amazing blog. secondly for me publisher rocket this a magical software will do everything you need all what one needs is just buying it and let it does the tasks for you.

  5. Greg Leischner on April 27, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    When I did the initial Amazon analysis, I noticed that among the first 14 books shown under my keyword term, none of them had the same ‘hook’ or specific topic that I would be using. Also, some of the titles had a dismal ABSR in my keyword search result listing category; but had a much, much better ABSR in a different category. For example, the #1 book result in my keyword category had an ABSR of 413,404 – but had an ABSR of 440 in the “business startup” business category. It looks like the category selected has a HUGE impact on saleability.

    • Dave Chesson on April 29, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      Hi Greg. The Amazon Bestseller Rank (ABSR) is the ranking of your book over all other books in all of Amazon based on sales. The Category ABSR is the relative ranking of all the books inside that particular category. It uses your Amazon ABSR to determine this. So, if the #1 bestselling book in a category has a Amazon ABSR of 95,010….then you’d need a 95,009 in order to be the new #1 bestseller in that category.

  6. Gary Townsend on December 22, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Is there anything different that would need to be done for low content books? The main issue there, as I understand it, is that these are almost always print only, and not Kindle books.

    • Dave Chesson on December 23, 2018 at 3:50 am

      No, except make sure you switch the Calculator to book data when analyzing the ABSR.

  7. Kaumin Patel on July 12, 2018 at 5:06 am

    hii there , It is an awesome blog , i just want to know that should i consider the sponsored ads while doing the research

    • Dave Chesson on July 12, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      I like sponsored ads (just not display ads – I’ve personally had a hard time with them). If you’re looking to do AMS, be sure to check out my full free course:

  8. James H Bloom on July 4, 2018 at 12:43 am

    Hello There.
    I just finish A hardbound book called In The Moment 135 pages for Barnes & Noble of inspirational Quotes with photos.And also just finished a paperback book 225 pages on Create Space of Inspirational quotes. Both under approval right now.Interested in marketing them.

    • Dave Chesson on July 4, 2018 at 3:20 pm

      Hi James, sounds like a great book and I’m sure you’ll do well in marketing them!

  9. Helen S. Fletcher on October 16, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Hi Dave – I just went on KWFinder and it allows 2 free searches in 24 hours not 5. It probably changed since you wrote the article. However, the first search yielded good results for my title. Thanks for the informative post.

    • Dave Chesson on October 17, 2016 at 3:13 am

      Hi Helen…oh. Great find. I’ll now updated the information to reflect that.

  10. Lisa on September 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    I love this! I will keep this in mind when I am researching for my recipe e-book. Hoping to have one released by next April!

    Personally, I know what direction to go into but it is very competitive. Might just have to narrow it down. :/

    • Dave Chesson on September 13, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      Hi Lisa, I know what you mean. But keep in mind that as you begin, this isn’t just a hunt for keywords. This also helps you to discover that niche, AND the words to use to connect with THAT market. 😉

  11. Ayodeji Awosika on August 11, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Great post Dave,

    I’m going to have to look into your software when I’m ready to write the next book. I’m glad you still offered these detailed steps in addition to mentioning your software.

    • Dave Chesson on August 12, 2016 at 2:45 am

      That sounds great. I’m a firm believer of providing information as well as solutions to easier methods. Plus, the above really shows the level of depth I used to go through to find niche keywords and topics to write about. I personally happy to have KDP Rocket so I don’t have to do all those steps anymore.

  12. Max on July 30, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    Good post Dave!! About the books…. what is the secret to have 3 categories using createspace? Much of my books topics have rank around 20.000 (10 sales per day) and I have seen that the competitors with this rank have 3 categories.

    • Dave Chesson on August 12, 2016 at 2:47 am

      Hey Max, sorry for getting back to you so late. With 3 categories, its pretty hit or miss. However, I have seen the following things that affect it and increase your chances of getting 3 categories:
      1. High popularity
      2. You contacted them and requested a specific category (you can find the instructions on how to do this and why on this article:

  13. Eric Z on July 29, 2016 at 9:55 am

    Awesome Dave! I am loving KDP rocket! 1 question : I was doing it the old way with goog’s keyword planner and noticed a big difference in the searches per month. Is that because google s default search is averaged over the year and Kdrocket is not? Also Merchant words has different results?? . Great job all around !!

    • Dave Chesson on August 12, 2016 at 2:51 am

      Hey Eric, yeah, we had to use another API than Google’s for KDP Rocket because Google doesn’t give out APIs to non-Adwords agencies anymore. Instead the new one is a little lagging in updating but…that’s not exactly a bad thing. Just recently, many SEO’ers are saying that Google is hiding information now. As for merchant words, they claim to scrape Amazon, but I’m not sure about that.

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Hey Guys, I’m Dave and when I am not sipping tea with princesses or chasing the Boogey man out of closets, I’m a Kindlepreneur and digital marketing nut – it’s my career, hobby, and passion.


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