Today I spent a fair amount of time doing some research on comparable authors as well as Best Selling Authors in my genre. I also looked into genres that I’m thinking about branching out into just to get an idea. If you’re writing to market, this is something you would do before you even starting writing. However, looking into it afterward isn’t a bad idea either.
One of the few bits of information Amazon gives you is an ability to look at a list of best sellers, by genre, updated hourly. This list will change as new books are released, so what you’re getting is a snapshot. I try to look at these lists periodically, and because of that, I’ve begun to notice names that are always on there. Since I read in the genre, I was already familiar with a few. Being familiar also allows me to remove books from my comparable list that don’t technically fit my genre but have somehow made their way on the list.
I’m looking at A.G. Riddles books which are not, in my opinion, Sci-Fi Romance.
Anyway, if you’re already published on Amazon, you can get comparable authors on Amazon by looking at the section called Also Boughts on your book page. Unless you’ve run a free promo or have had just friends and family buy your books, you can typically get a good idea of what other people are buying in your genre.
So what I did was look at my comparables, and make a list of the authors that showed up frequently. Then I went to Best Seller pages and made even more lists. This gave me a lot of names to look at, but not all names are worth doing a lot of research into, and since I didn’t want to get overwhelmed, I cut out a few.
The previously mentioned authors that were just showing up on the lists because of a fluke and had nothing to do with my genre were eliminated. Anyone that has only a couple of books published was culled, as well as someone who doesn’t have an author rank.
Author rank is at the bottom of an author’s Amazon profile page. If someone sells enough books, they will be given one. I do not have an author rank, because I haven’t sold enough so it makes sense that I would look at people with ranks.
Even with those qualifications, I still have a fair amount of authors, but that gives me a nice sample size of information. With just the list of names, I’ll be able to see any overlap in genres, which can tell me if readers cross over between the genres I’m researching.
What I’m looking at now is whether someone is an Indie publisher, if they’re in Kindle Unlimited, the price point of their books, and an approximation of the length of their books. Adding all of that information to my list of names took a lot of time. Pretty much all of my free time today, but I’m looking forward to seeing what I can glean from all of the data.
What I plan on doing next is looking into the online presence of these authors. Are they using Twitter, Facebook, or a blog? How often do they post? What is user engagement like?
Social media is not my strong suit, though, I spend too much time there. It doesn’t come naturally for me on how to post on each site. Facebook is more of a this is what I’m doing right now, while Twitter is more of an opinion or something funny. Blog posts seem to vary between personal or helpful.
In the end, all of this may not help me, and I may not end up using all of it, but it should give me information on trends in the genre. Trends that aren’t necessarily going to change quickly like themes. While last month people were really into domination, it appears this month has been reverse harems or just multiple partners.