Kate Riley

Kate Riley is a business coach, creative specialist, and serial entrepreneur. She is also a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of romance and fantasy.  

  • Making Money with Low-Content Books: 2023 Edition

    If you want to make the most money possible on Amazon KDP, you’ll want to stay clear from creating low-content books in what I call “umbrella niches.”

    Umbrella niches are those that are massive as they are considered the “main” niche, and because of that, they are almost always very overcrowded and saturated.

    They are the ones that every new low-content publisher is bound to go into because they just seem like the obvious choice when you’re starting out and don’t know the market.

    And worse, no one is doing anything different, so they all end up looking exactly alike, with only those who invest in advertising campaigns making the bulk of the money.

    Umbrella niches are ones like:

    • Gratitude journals that aren’t geared towards a specific
    • Prayer journals that aren’t tailored in some way to stand out.
    • Weight loss journals with no theme or slant.
    • Recipe books without a theme.
    • General self-help without a strict target audience in mind.
    • Generic weekly or monthly planners.

    These are all super-size niches, and they are profitable and evergreen, so it’s no surprise that everyone runs to them…

    BUT… yes, there’s a but…

    … there are already thousands of these basic low-content books in those niches on Amazon!

    But (there’s that word again!), the great news is that you can still publish in those extremely profitable markets and make thousands of dollars a month doing so, but you have to take a very different approach.

    You’ll gear your products towards specific demographics, not the market as a whole.

    This is something that few other people are doing, but those that do are making a lot of money on Amazon.  And this goes beyond simply “niching down,” which you’ve probably heard a thousand times before.

    This is niching WAY down.

    To better help you understand what I mean, here’s how you might tackle a couple of those massive “umbrella” niches so that you’re not competing against thousands of other sellers:

    Starting with the gratitude journal niche…

    Instead of creating a generic, all-encompassing gratitude journal, you should create a highly customized one for a specific gender, age, location, hobby, or life event.

    The more specific you get, the better.

    One example of a gratitude journal that is positioned to appeal to a very specific audience is this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KN4CG6M

    This journal focuses on offering a 90-day system that helps adults document their daily gratitude thoughts and affirmations.

    90-day is their slant. It’s unique, it adds something special to their book. And people love systems, especially when broken down into small tasks, like 90 days of journaling.

    A shorter timeframe not only makes them feel they’re capable of completing the “system”, because it doesn’t require a huge commitment of time, but as a seller you’ll make more money from time-based books because customers will complete it and return to purchase another!

    This is why I almost always recommend adding a specific time-frame to your low content books whenever possible.

    Examples: 120 Days of Gratitude, 90-day Self-Help Workbook, 6 Weeks of Meal Planning, and so on.

    The book in my example above was also designed like most other time-based journals in this niche, which includes:

    • A few pages that outline the journal and how it should be used (instructions and an introduction);
    • Repeated pages with the same interior for the remainder of the book.

    Click the link above and look inside to see what I mean.

    This book is currently earning an average of $2,600+ a month, and as you can see, it would be very easy to create something along the same lines.

    So, recap: To stand out, you’re going to focus on publishing gratitude journals with a specific time frame included, such as “52 Weeks of Practicing Gratitude” or “30 Day Guided Gratitude Journal”.

    In addition, including a time-based component in your title is important so don’t overlook this. It will not only help you rank for relevant keywords, but it will capture more attention from browsers.

    Let’s take a look at a few other bestselling (self-published) books in this niche:


    Average monthly sales: $7,700

    Average monthly sales: $1,800

    Average monthly sales: $4,178

    Average monthly sales: $5,169

    Another example of how to niche down successfully: you could create a gratitude journal for women who have successfully conceived after experiencing infertility issues.

    Your journal would include inspiring quotes and phrases geared toward women who’ve gone through this experience and were ultimately successful.

    They want to celebrate; they want to write all about their feelings and thoughts.  So, always think from your buyers’ perspective, and create a sort of avatar of your ideal customer to better understand how you can create products that stand out.

    Let’s take a look at another niche that is popular but often saturated with generic books and how you can still publish in this market:

    Prayer Journals:

    Rather than just another prayer book, you could create a journal based around a specific religion and demographic.

    Example: Young Christian Couples, or Teen Girls.  

    Or, you could put a spin on it and combine multiple audiences so that you’re aiming for a larger pool of customers while still tailoring your books to specific groups.

    For example, you could do that by creating a prayer journal for military families and then including interior pages such as gratitude, notes, photo pages, and so on that parents or loved ones of military children would appreciate and use.

    Let’s take a look at the weight loss market—a wildly popular one, but overcrowded (unless you drill down, that is!):

    Weight Loss Journals/Notebooks:

    This is a market you should be in, but please focus on gearing your content toward a very specific demographic instead of creating just another weight loss book that gets lost in the sea of journals.

    You could aim yours toward specific diets, of course, but consider taking things a step further and design your journal or book around an age group, such as: “Fabulous Forty” and play up the “Mid-Lifers” with quotes and funny graphics targeting things that the age group would relate to.

    Or you might go with an off-the-wall funny but useful version such as:

    “Getting Fit and Other Shit” could include weight loss trackers but also sections for other aspects of life like productivity and goal planners – all connected to weight loss, but extends the value of the book.

    Then, turn all those books into a series called “Weight Loss Strategies for Real People” or something else that would appeal to people who struggle with weight loss.

    Recipe Books:

    Again, target specific demographics such as: people who are allergic to certain foods, requiring them to create alternative meal plans, or recipes for those who are diabetic, recipes for those who are lactose intolerant, or perhaps a recipe book for those on a liquid diet.

    The possibilities are endless – but please, not another generic low carb recipe book.

    There are thousands of those already! If you want to create a low-carb recipe book, gear it towards a secondary niche, so it stands out.

    You can also break it down and create a series that includes a recipe book on appetizers, then one for main courses, one for desserts, and even one for homemade cocktails and drinks.

    Pro Tip: Create a snapshot of one specific customer.  Write down the age range you’re targeting, their country, a hobby, profession, gripe, or something they are passionate about. We call this a “customer avatar”, and it helps you better define and cater to what people are willing to pay for.

    When you target a specific demographic, hobby, life event, career, skill, interest, spot, job, and so on, you’re not only able to stand out in crowded markets, but you’re able to differentiate your low-content books based on the language you use.

    Every group has its own set of keywords, terms, and phrases, and you can use these on your book cover to attract those buyers, as well as within your interiors.

    For example: 
    Dungeon and Dragon players (DND) use terms like “guild, dungeon master,” and so on.

    Self-published authors like us use terms like “indie author” or “self-pubbed”, which sets us apart from traditional authors.

    Essentially, the more you target a specific segment of a larger market, the easier it is to make money.

    Your book launches will also require less advertising (if any), your covers can be highly customized rather than generic look-a-likes, and you’ll be able to reach deep into the most profitable markets because you’re going beneath the surface.

    So, no umbrella niches!  DIG AND DIG DEEP!

    One more example:

    If writing prompt books is a top-selling niche (hint: it is), then rather than create a low-content book that’s geared towards all writers, consider creating a series that is focused on different genres (romance, science fiction, thriller/mystery, young adult, etc.) that all tie in together.

    That way, you can target a specific audience within a large market while also gearing your cover designs toward those distinct writers.

    Again, the more you can connect with a specific customer base and identify what it is that speaks to them directly, the easier it will be to maximize sales.

    So no generic covers and no generic interiors. Each book should be heavily geared towards targeting one specific customer base.

    Finally, when it comes to uncovering new niches, there’s no better place than scouring the Best Sellers page here: https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Books/zgbs/books/

    Think about it. These people have already done most of the research for you and because they’re on the best-seller list, they’ve proven that the book (and niche) is profitable!

    Once you find a best-selling book in a niche that’s of interest, click on the author name and look at what other books they’ve published.

    Chances are, they’ve published multiple books under each pen name so if you follow the breadcrumbs you’ll easily uncover additional profitable niches.

    Then, take things a step further and follow additional trails, starting with the “Customers Also Viewed” and “Customers Also Bought” suggestions that appear below each book description.

    Those of us who write fiction learned long ago just how powerful “Also-Boughts” are as they are clear indicators of the types of books customers are interested in purchasing for each segment of any niche (or in this case, genre and sub-genre.)

    Filtering through sub-categories is yet another way to uncover additional high-profit low and high-content niches.

    There are 100 bestsellers in each category so spend some time going through the top 5-6 sections that interest you, writing down everything you find.

    What you’re looking for:

    Every niche should have at least 10-20 books published with a BSR (Best-sellers Rank) of 100k or less.  No more than 1,000 published books in the niche.

    A lot of people get caught up in niche research because they over-think the process. Please don’t!  It’s more important to spend your time publishing than simply researching these days.

    In fact, while quality is super important, there’s no getting around it: quantity now matters just as much if you’re just starting out. The more books you have out there, the better your chances at hitting a home-run and landing in several highly profitable niches.

    In fact, think of every book you publish as a signal that gets stronger every time you upload a new one. Those beacons WILL find their customer base, but it may take 100, even 200 books before it happens, so publish, publish, PUBLISH! 

    Tip: Use Publisher Rocket to make the niche research process easier, particularly being able to quickly see the number of competing books, uncover rock-solid keywords and average search and income volume.

    These days, other than manual research, Publisher Rocket is the only thing I use to find and validate niches.

    Tip: Create a free account at Book Report so you can keep tabs on what books are selling (and create more of those).

    You can set up your account here: https://www.getbookreport.com/

    Try to check it weekly so you’re aware of any surge in sales, especially during peak seasons, and can quickly react by creating more of your top-sellers.

    You can also create a simple Google Doc or Excel sheet that simply lists your book titles, niche, pen name and the number of daily, weekly or monthly sales so that you have a clear snapshot of your sales data.Finally, always focus on extending your series funnel.

    For those that aren’t sure what a series funnel is, Amazon now allows you to create a series of connected books. You’ll find this after logging into your KDP account and clicking on: Bookshelf > Create New Series.

    You’ll need to come up with a series title and use that same title in every book listing that you want to be part of the series.

    Pro Tip: Make sure you’re using your very best keyword in your series title, preferably 2-3 words instead of a single. It’s one of the easiest ways to optimize each book listing.

    Also, don’t use that same keyword phrase anywhere else but the series title. That way you aren’t wasting space by over-optimizing with repeat keywords. Instead, use different keywords in the title of each book, sub-title and in the book description.

    A lot of people overlook the power of publishing their planners and journals as a series rather than as stand-alone books. Don’t be one of those people!

    Creating a series for every one of my main niches has been instrumental in hitting six-figures a year on KDP alone.  It makes more sense to continue creating books in a proven niche than to spend hours of your time looking for new niches, right?

    So, try and see one niche through to where you have 4-5 books published in a single series before moving onto a new niche.

    This is also important if you plan to advertise with AMS because it makes way more sense to advertise book 1 in a series than it does individual books.

    Not only will you maximize your profits but you’ll also increase the likelihood that every single ad will be profitable since you’re giving customers more than just one option per every click.

    The objective is to always find ways to maximize the overall value of every single customer, so naturally, the more journals and planners they purchase from you at once, the better.


  • Bestselling Printable Niches

    In our current climate, it’s not surprising that sales in both the self-help and weight loss niche are skyrocketing.

    With people feeling stressed and anxious because of the pandemic, more and more are turning to printables that help them set and achieve their goals, or simply document their anxiety as they work through it.

    Recently, I posted a poll in my Facebook group asking people to guess what the currently hot (and ever-growing) niche was as reported by several Etsy shop owners who have purchased my done-for-you printable packs in order to fill their storefront with fresh content.

    The options were:

    * Weight Loss
    * Self Help
    * Real Estate / Buying / Selling
    * Homeschool / Virtual School
    * Online business printables

    I wasn’t surprised to discover that the overwhelming majority chose “Homeschool / Virtual School” printables with self-help taking second place.

    After all, with schools constantly changing from in-person classes to virtual, it makes sense that this niche would be at the top of the charts. In fact, some kids were thriving with the virtual school model to the point where many parents decided to homeschool them even when school reopened.

    And many of them turned to educational-based printables as a way to help their kids stay on track.

    But while this market has seen an enormous increase over the last 14-16 months, this isn’t the niche that is on the rise.

    Before I reveal what the niche is, I want to point out something very important in terms of thinking outside the box and why you’ll always see certain markets become crowded while others are wide open for the taking.

    This poll not only included many of the niches most affected by the pandemic but more importantly, the poll results revealed something far more important—something I hope helps shape the way you think about what niches you might be overlooking.

    Over 175 people voted on homeschooling.


    Because to them, it was an obvious choice. The pandemic changed the way hundreds of thousands of kids receive an education so of course, homeschooling and virtual school printables are on the rise.

    But sometimes choosing the “obvious” niche isn’t the best way forward.

    Instead, think beyond the obvious markets and you’ll often find many that are under-served despite an ever-growing demand.

    These are the markets you can easily make a splash in, even with few products or a brand new shop because there are far more people looking to purchase products than there are vendors and merchants creating them!

    Ready to find out what the niche is?

    Keep in mind that this niche received fewer than 20 votes, the lowest of all the poll options!

    Niche Reveal
    The Real Estate Niche!

    The pandemic has drastically affected the real estate market and more and more people are selling their homes to move out into the country, or due to job loss, job transfer or to simplify life.

    Further, with the growing cost of lumber due to the pandemic, people aren’t building as much as they are purchasing lower-cost homes.

    In my part of the world, even smaller provinces like Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have seen historical highs in terms of a fast increase in population as well as real estate prices. And with lower interest rates because of the pandemic, more people are buying homes.

    Only 16 people guessed this niche in my Facebook group and one of them is a realtor who left a comment saying there aren’t a lot of high-quality printables in this market. She knows because she has personally looked for them for her clients.

    This goes back to finding these underserviced markets where demand is high, competition is low.

    And she isn’t the only one on the hunt for printables in this ever-growing market. In fact, another one of my customers has seen an increase of over 5-figures in the last few months alone just from this one niche.

    But before you set out to design printables for the real estate market (or low content books for Amazon), let’s go back to the earlier lesson where nearly everyone in my group all guessed the same niche (home school) and therefore likely set out to all design the same type of printables.

    With real estate, the obvious go-to printable niches would be:

    > Buying a Home
    > Selling a Home

    And these are 2 great printable packs to start with, especially on Etsy.

    But let’s take it a step further and think beyond the obvious because again, that is how you stand out in even the most crowded markets.

    What other niches are closely associated with buying or selling a home?

    Here’s how I would begin.

    Credit repair printables:
    Potential homebuyers need to establish a certain FICO score to qualify for a mortgage so it makes sense that printables designed to help consumers track and improve their credit scores are on the rise.

    Home Improvement/Renovation Projects
    I received an email just the other day from a customer who told me she had just refinanced her house and was starting to work on a bunch of home renovation projects. She asked for printables that track all the different projects as well as expenses.

    Saving-Based printables
    Printables that are designed to help future home-buyers save up money for the downpayment and closing costs. Illustration-based printable designs are always in-demand

    Another one of my customer’s asked for printables geared towards renovation projects niche he was fixing his house up to sell and needed printables that would help him check off his massive to-do list.

    Then you have 2 different groups of consumers in this market as mentioned earlier: buyer and sellers.

    What type of printables would sellers need?

    We’ve already touched on home improvements, but what about packing lists, moving day printables and if you design printable stickers you could capitalize on this market by creating packing stickers and labels for rooms and storage.

    What kind of printables would buyers need?

    We’ve already touched on credit score trackers, but what else is involved with improving their credit scores and purchasing a home?

    Remember, think beyond the main niche (real estate) and you’ll uncover many underserviced markets. This is what we call low-hanging fruit!

    Printables that are designed around budgeting, paying down debt, obtaining a credit utilization score of 30% or less, as well as printables geared towards communication with mortgage brokers, and so on.

    And of course, house hunting, neighborhood charts for those considering different areas, and so on.

    The possibilities in this ever-growing niche are endless and the more you analyze the market as a whole, rather than the obvious ones that stand out, the easier it will be for you to maximize your income because you will be targeting the less-competitive sections of a bigger market.

    To help you get started, I’ve created a brand new, done-for-you Real Estate Printable Kit.

    It comes with commercial-use rights so you can sell these as your own on your Etsy shop (or anywhere else you choose). It comes with everything you need to jump into this winning niche. 🙂

    Even if you don’t purchase my package, I still hope this post proves useful in encouraging you to think outside the box when it comes to niche research.

    Always look at the bigger picture by creating a profile of the average customer and then think from their perspective.

    • What do they need most?
    • What kind of printables would they use most often? (as to encourage repeat buyers)
    • What kind of layouts and design elements are useful in helping them take action?
    • What other printables might be useful in factoring decisions around that market?

    If you want to create a stand-out brand, do your best to always gain a broader, full outlook when you research niches. Don’t go for the obvious and you’ll find it a whole lot easier to build a profitable business.

    You’ve got this.


  • Hot KDP & Printable Sub-Niche

    The wedding planning niche has always been a surefire seller, but if you look on Amazon or Etsy for either KDP books or printables, you’ll discover that there are thousands of available products.

    Instead, think about “sub-niches” that are related to the wedding planning market, but not as saturated.

    Take the Maid of Honor niche for example. There aren’t nearly as many available products on both Amazon or Etsy, yet the ones that appear are selling like wildfire.

    Take a look at this journal, for example, https://www.amazon.com/dp/1700645420

    It’s earning over $1500 a month, was published by someone just like you, and the interiors are rather basic.

    Or, this one, https://www.amazon.com/dp/1083134019, which is earning over $700 a month on autopilot with no advertising – also published by a self-publisher like us.

    And yet another, this one earning over $250 a month from a single book, and with zero paid marketing involved: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1700645293

    To help you get started, I’ve designed a maid of honor 2-in-1 bundle which includes a low content book for Amazon as well as a printable pack for Etsy (or your own shop).

    Be sure to take a look at the bonus guide that includes keywords and categories for this hot market, as well as prewritten book blurbs and descriptions.

    The key to being successful with low content books and/or printables is to start with the main niche. These are the monster markets that are not only evergreen but proven to be profitable.

    Then, dig beneath the surface so you’re able to target sub-niches that while not quite as popular are still very profitable.

    Not only will it be easier for you to maximize your income, but you’ll be able to gain exposure on book and printable markets without paid advertising or a lot of external legwork.

    Give it a try!


  • Optimizing Your Etsy Shop

    When it comes to optimizing your Etsy shop so you’re able to drive targeted traffic to your listings, it all begins with the keywords you use within your product descriptions and titles as well as how thoroughly you’ve optimized your storefront.

    Learning how to properly research and use focus keywords in your product pages will not only help you optimize your listings and overall shop, but you’ll begin to see what’s selling based on actual search volume. 

    Meaning, you’ll get hard data that you can work with. No guesswork. You’ll know what people are actively searching for and buying so you can create those types of products for your own shop.

    To start, you’ll want to focus on just a single keyword that you know you’ll be able to rank for. We call this our focus keyword.

    This keyword is the main one that you are hoping to rank for in a product listing. You highlight this keyword in all areas of your product listing while using secondary keywords to fill in the gaps.

    Your focus keyword should always appear in the title and in the product description.  All other keywords are known as supporting keywords, or secondary keywords.

    The key is to choose the best focus keywords possible that are relevant to your product and will directly target the right audience. 

    Time Saver Tip: I always encourage people to invest in an Etsy-specific research tool such as https://www.MarmaLead.com, rather than a generic, all-encompassing SEO product that isn’t designed specifically for Etsy because they know the way Etsy works!

    MarmaLead has been responsible for taking shops that weren’t getting any visibility and turning them into top-selling superstars. 

    If you wish to go it alone and do the work yourself, there are other ways to build up your focus keyword lists quickly, starting with Etsy itself. 

    Begin by browsing for products in your market and then visit 15-20 different shops. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find keywords used for those product pages. Write those down and then run them through Google Keywords to determine search volume.

    Google & Amazon
    You can use Google’s search bar as well as Amazon’s and let auto-complete help you identify commonly-used keyword strings.

    Begin by entering in a few seed keywords and then see what comes up. Also, make sure you scroll to the bottom of the first page of search results of any Google search to see other popular keyword phrases used by on-site users. 

    Amazon offers the same auto-suggestion feature as well. With Amazon, take things a step further and check out some of the book pages for journals and planners in your niche. Every low content book could be turned into a printable pack, so the keywords you find on the product pages can easily be used in your Etsy listings. 

    Pay attention to keywords used in the product titles as well as the bullet-points used on planner and journal pages. You’ll quickly find a ton of relevant keywords that you can add to your seed keyword list!

    Pinterest: http://www.Pinterest.com
    A favorite hot spot for keywords based on popular tags.

    You can start by entering in your primary keyword phrase and see where it takes you, but the better way is by browsing the categories. 

    Google Trends

    If you want to be notified of when certain search terms are used so you can figure out how popular a keyword phrase is, hop on over to https://trends.google.com/trends

    Start by entering in a keyword phrase, such as “pregnancy printable” to see what pops up. 

    You’ll also be able to see related search queries which is a great way to come up with commonly used keyword strings that you can later plug into your Etsy shop listings.