When readers go looking for a non-fiction book, many of them will buy more than one book. Therefore it’s essential for you to discover unique positioning angles for your book. One of the best ways to do this is by researching other similar books. The really huge markets in non-fiction are in health and/or wealth, love or relationships. If you want to see what I mean, look for books on dating. There are thousands of them, but only the top few hundred titles sell really well. For example, if you have an angle for a dating book and you can come up with a really attractive title, the world will beat a path to your door! Likewise, if you know a way that people can lose 5 pounds in a week eating chocolate and cream cakes, you may only have to write one book before you can afford your own tropical island!
But these are extreme examples, and for the rest of us, we’re probably going to have to work much harder. So, if you already have a subject in mind, one of the best tools on Amazon is the opportunity to “Look Inside” and read the first few pages of all the competitive books in your market. I recommend that you spend a disproportionate amount of time and effort getting the first 10% of your book as close to perfect as possible because the “Look Inside” feature is very important when people are browsing for a book to buy.
If the first 10% of a book is excellent, there’s no guarantee that the rest of the book will be as good. However, if the first 10% is rubbish, it’s a fair bet that the rest of the book is just as bad.
So, let’s start with three tips for researching the positioning of your book so that you get what I term a “Book Smart Start.”
- Find books in your area that rank from 1-10,000. How? Type in Amazon, for example, sales or leadership or career best sellers. Here, I typed in Amazon “leadership books best seller 2017” and one of the first books that came up called “Think Wrong,” was ranked about 3000, overall in an ebook format. This means that this book is currently selling between 25 to 70 books a day, according to a ranking tool for Amazon where 80% or more of all books are sold.
- Look inside these top books and note their Table of Contents. Taking “Think Wrong” again as an example, I found the book with only eight chapters when I included the introduction and the conclusion. The chapters were simple and straight forward. The first one is titled “Be Bold. ” This makes sense as it sets the stage for the emotional appeal to readers to step up with a commitment to disrupt the current status quo when it comes to creativity and innovation. The other chapters follow as many books of this type around not just thinking about new creations but, instead, making them and then improving upon them as they build a customer base. It’s obvious that this book is directed at people who want to start new business initiatives or entire new companies. You goal here would be to juxtapose what you find from looking at the Table of Contents for this book with others that are of similar ranking.
- Read the reviews for these top books. Again looking at “Thinking Wrong,” I discovered people really like the research the authors shared about leaders in history who thought “wrong” or differently. There were other reviewers who said they really liked the process and practices the authors shared around disrupting old practices of thinking to create better new products and services. On the negative side, one reader found the book challenging to read.
Your goal with any of the above three tips would be to take the best ideas from the books you researched, along anything you saw could be done differently or better. Then write a book that strongly speaks to readers looking for fresh perspectives, new and interesting examples/stories, and, finally, make sure you pull in both a good developmental editor and a final line editor to ensure your book is easy and interesting to read.