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SPQ 003: How Do You Determine the Profit Potential of a Niche or Book Idea?

Written by Steve Scott on December 22, 2014. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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How Do You Determine the Profit Potential of a Niche or Book Idea?

Picking the right niche is essential for self-publishing success. In this episode, Steve outlines his process for choosing a profitable book niche.

The Question…

Thom asks, “Do you have a specific step-by-step system in place for determining the profitability of any given niche or title?” People ask Steve this question all the time. Early in his publishing career, he made the mistake of creating books based on what people were already writing about. This was a mistake because it doesn’t add much to the marketplace. Instead of doing the same thing everyone else is doing, target a specific niche and focus on providing solutions for that audience.

Biggest Takeaway…

Steve’s Answer…

Once you have a niche in mind, think about the problems people in that audience face. In the self-publishing niche, people want to know about writing books, formatting books, selling books, building author platforms, and using social media as a marketing tool. There are five book ideas right there. Really drill down into one niche to come up with a lot of ideas that provide value for readers.

Steve uses the following process to determine if a niche might be profitable.

  1. Open the Google Keyword Planner and type phrases related to your niche. You want to find at least 10,000 exact matches total, not 10,000 matches for each phrase.
  1. Find out if there’s any competition. It’s a mistake to find an untapped, hidden niche. You want to see that people are already making money from a topic. Look for podcasts, Amazon books, YouTube videos, blogs, and so on to show that there is a demand. Also look for affiliate products.
  1. Look to see if there are information buyers in the niche. Look at Udemy and other course sites to see if people are paying for courses on the topic.
  1. Check iTunes or Download.com to see if there are any software solutions available in the niche. Look at the number of reviews for each piece of software. The more reviews it has, the more likely it is that it sells well.
  1. Do the “50 Questions Test.” Try to come up with 50 topics related to the market. If you can think of dozens of ideas without stopping, you’ll be able to create a lot of content. If you struggle to come up with a few ideas, you’ll probably struggle to create content for this particular niche.
  1. Find people who are passionate about the topic. Check Quora, Facebook, and forums to see if people are asking questions or discussing the topic online.

A niche should fit most of the above criteria, but it’s okay if it doesn’t fit all of them. Steve couldn’t find any affiliate products for the habits niche, but it fulfilled the other requirements.

Authors should also use Amazon as a research tool. Steve uses what he calls the “30,000 Rule” to determine if a topic might be profitable. Go to Amazon, type in keywords related to your topic, and see what books are out there. Click on one of the relevant books and check its Amazon ranking. If the ranking is 30,000 or lower, it’s selling at least five copies per day. That’s enough for Steve to say it’s a good idea and move forward with it.

Key Takeaways

SPQ 003: How Do You Determine the Profit Potential of a Niche or Book Idea? from Steve Scott

Resource Links

7 Steps to Identifying a Profitable Niche: The article where Steve describes the process he used to identify the “habits niche” as his market.

Keyword Planner: Google’s keyword selection tool

Udemy: A global community of instructors teaching courses in marketing, business, and other topics

Clickbank: Clickbank has tools for digital marketers and affiliates

Commission Junction (now CJ Affiliate):CJ Affiliate connects digital marketers with affiliates

The Power of Habit: Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed

iTunes:Apple’s digital marketplace

Download.com: Download software for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android

Mind Jogger: Productivity app

Lift.do: Goal-setting app

Quora: A place for sharing content on the Web

SpeakPipe: Submit a question to the Self-Publishing Questions podcast

  • Honoree Corder

    Subscribed! Rated! Reviewed!

    Big congrats on this podcast Steve. I know I speak for many when I say it’s great and much appreciated.

  • Why thank you Honoree! And a big thanks for the review…it definitely helps. By the way, you’re officially the first person to comment on the podcast. 🙂

  • Discovering this has made my 2015 get off to a great start. Thanks so much for starting your podcast!

    • Steve Scott

      Glad to see you’re starting the new year by listening to the podcast. Hope you enjoy it!!

    • Glad to see you’re starting the new year by listening to the podcast. Hope you enjoy it!!

  • Steve,

    Finding the right niche sure is easier when you use the right tools and follow a clear process. Thanks for the great tips.

    One thing I do is when I come across different resources in a niche or topic I’m researching I set up a folder in Feedly (RSS reader) and that way I don’t have to keep going back to see if their is new content being posted. I just open up Feedly and see what is new. You can also do this with forums where you find great questions that people are asking.

    Finally, The Power of Habit is one of my favorite books, I’m currently doing a deep dive chapter by chapter on my website. I put it up there with Carol Dweck’s Mindset and Baumeister/Tierney’s Willpower as my favorite self improvement reads.

    Have a great day.

    George

    • Steve Scott

      Good suggestion! Didn’t think of that one. That said, I try to minimize my information intake and focus on what I want to focus on. I find there is a lot of *noise* with feed readers if you’re selective about who you follow.

      Love love love Willpower, but could never get into Mindset. Maybe it’s because I read a couple of similar books beforehand, so it seemed a bit redundant.

    • Good suggestion! Didn’t think of that one. That said, I try to
      minimize my information intake and focus on what I want to focus on. I
      find there is a lot of *noise* with feed readers if you’re selective
      about who you follow.

      Love love love Willpower, but could never get into Mindset. Maybe
      it’s because I read a couple of similar books beforehand, so it seemed a
      bit redundant.