Why Your Niche Category Can Make a (BIG) Difference in Your Sales (“Romance” edition)

There are 60 Amazon book categories related to Romance. These categories include thousands of Kindle eBooks, hard covers, paperbacks and Audiobooks. However, only the top 100 titles are displayed to readers when browsing categories in what is commonly known as the best seller lists.

The goal of every writer is not only to make it to this list, but to push their book past the 50th position and thus claim a position on the front page of these best seller list.

More visibility equals more sales. More sales means more income. More income means more coffee for your next book. Simple and beautiful math!

Of course, climbing positions on the best seller list is tricky. It requires good promotion, Kindle SEO, a catchy title and good writing. But here is a secret for you: The effort required to be number #1 is not the same across all sub categories!

Of the 60 Amazon book categories related to Romance, some require hundreds of daily sales to be on the front page of the best seller list, others as you will shortly see, are not so capricious.

The point of this article is to introduce important metrics to be aware of when publishing your romance novel. The goal is to find the path of least resistance, the categories where you can easily reach the number #1 position without spending 99% of your marketing budget on launch day.

Most competitive Kindle categories in Romance

Let’s have a look at the top 10 most competitive Book categories related to Romance:

Your books needs to rank #162 in all of Amazon’s Book department to reach the 50th position in the “Books-> Romance -> Contemporary” romance. That’s around 368 sales a day! A tough number to reach for most writers.

The 5 most competitive categories, based solely on the number of sales are thus:

Keep in mind that the numbers displayed on the figure above are but a snapshot in time. The exact calculations may and will vary on a daily basis. Maybe tomorrow you will only need to sell 300 books a day to get to the 50th position on the Contemporary Romance. However the bigger picture will remain the same: the sub categories detailed above require hundreds of sales and you need a very strong marketing strategy or existing following fanbase to successfully publish your book in them!

You can check out an updated version of these numbers for free at any time on Kindle Ranker.

Least competitive Kindle categories in Romance

Let’s look at more accessible sub categories related to Romance:

Now we are talking! Any writer with a decent book and a modest promotion budget can manage to achieve at least a couple of sales a day to reach the front page best seller list of sub categories detailed in the figure above:

As you can see, although the Teens LGBT and Tudor categories require pretty much the same number of sales to be on the top 50, however, a book on the LGBT best seller will tend to oversell its counterpart in the Tudor category.

This is in part due to the higher median book price ($7.49 Vs 5.32) but also because the Teens LGBT category has much higher ranked books. Thus if you make it to the front page of the best seller list, your book will benefit from their exposure!

Keep in mind that the sales volume does not equal your income! You still have to subtract Amazon’s share, your publisher’s share, etc.

Remember to check out the category’s competitiveness and volatility

If we zoom into the Teens LGBT category on Kindle Ranker, something interesting pops out:

There seems to be a sort of monopoly going on in the top 20 books of the best seller list. At least 5 best sellers are published by the same author!

If you scroll down the page you get the list of the top 15 best selling books and can thus identify the “culprit”:

Beck Allbertalli (published by HarperTeen) has 3 books published in multiple formats (audiobooks, kindle and paperback), all sitting in the top 20 of the Teens LGBT category.

If you go with this category, you should keep in mind that while the front page best seller list is easily achievable (2 sales a day), the climb to the top of the category gets steep very fast (roughly around the 15th position), so you should plan your marketing efforts accordingly.

Speaking of marketing, an important metric to keep in mind is the percentage of “indie success” in a given category. In other words, how many indie writers make it to the top 20? You can find this data in the main search page on Kindle Ranker or in the category’s detailed description page:

5% indie success is not much, but that’s mainly because the category is dominated by a single traditionally published author. The same goes for the new releases metric that calculates the number of books released during the last 3 months.

The volatility metric is one to closely monitor. A high volatility means that your book might not stay long on the front page best seller list and will be quickly over ranked by new books. A 15% value is well within the average range i.e. every 6 hours two new books show up on the top 20 books.

Armed with these new metrics, you are now ready to properly asses a category’s attractiveness and choose the least competitive sub category to make a killing on Kindle!

I will leave you with the list of the Romance sub categories where Indie writers are most successful, along with their estimated monthly volume sales. This ought to give you some courage to promptly finish and publish your book.

Until next time!

***

Alex started Kindle Ranker as a free service to help indie writers find the least competitive Kindle categories in order to boost their earnings.

Today, Kindle Ranker tracks 10,000 book categories and more than 200,000 Amazon best sellers.

3 replies
  1. avatar
    Ar says:

    This is really useful, thanks so much for sharing your insights! I’ve always struggled with finding the right niche but after reading this I’m going to look into it in a bit more detail before thinking about publishing.

    Reply

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