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:
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.
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.
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.