Unlocking Amazon’s KDP: How to Choose To Sell Your Book Successfully

Learn strategies and insights to unlocking Amazon’s KDP platform for maximum book sales, choosing the right genre, and optimizing visibility.

by Atomic Mommy Editors

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So you want to a write a book and you’re not using traditional publishers to do it. You know you want to publish on Amazon’s KDP, but you don’t know if your chosen genre will actually sell and you don’t know how to pick the right genre. More than this, you want to know how to list it on Amazon so it will actually sell.

If this sounds like you, then this guide is for you!

There are several steps that go into becoming a successful book seller on Amazon and there are a few important points to learn as an author, especially if you want to become a best selling author on Amazon’s KDP platform.

First and foremost, is understanding how to choose the right genre. This is because genres are often saturated making it impossible to break into. Genre saturation means one of two things: your book getting lost or your book getting noticed. To determine the least saturated genres requires a bit of homework on your part.

The second and third things to understand is how to choose the right categories and how to calculate your book’s likelihood of becoming a best seller. But this also requires a great deal of research, but don’t stress it. In today’s guide, we’re going to share the process.

Determining Amazon’s KDP Saturation

Determining the right genres to choose on Amazon’s KDP can be subjective and may vary over time. However, some genres tend to have fewer books and lower competition compared to others. Here are a few genres that are often considered less saturated:

Niche Non-Fiction

Books that cater to specific interests or hobbies with a smaller target audience can have lower competition. Examples include specialized topics like beekeeping, urban gardening, vintage car restoration, or obscure historical events.

Regional or Local Interest

Books focused on specific regions, cities, or local interests can have a narrower audience, potentially leading to lower competition. Books about local history, travel guides for lesser-known destinations, or culinary traditions of specific regions are some examples.

Emerging or Unique Genres

New or emerging genres that have yet to reach mainstream popularity can offer opportunities with lower competition. Examples might include genres like litRPG (literary role-playing games), weird fiction, or niche subgenres within science fiction or fantasy.

Self-Published or Independent Authors

Self-published or independently published authors often have more control over their niche and can find success in genres with smaller readerships. These authors can build a dedicated following within specific genres like cozy mysteries, urban fantasy, or alternative history.

Cross-Genre or Blended Genres

Books that blend multiple genres or combine elements from different genres can carve out a unique niche with potentially lower competition. For example, a romance novel set in a post-apocalyptic world or a mystery thriller with supernatural elements.

Choose the Right Category

When you choose to sell on Amazon’s KDP Platform, you are choosing to be listed as one of millions of books. Don’t fret! You get to choose which category to list your book in. Knowing which category to choose will help your book rank. Choosing the wrong category will cause your book to get lost in the shadows.

The best way to make sure that your book is going to rank is to pick a category with less competition. How do you know if there’s less competition. Well, it’s based on a key data point called the ABSR — Amazon Best Seller Rank. Take a look at this photo.

screenshot of a book's product details on Amazon's KDP platform with a pink arrow pointing to the Best Sellers Rank number

The book in the photo above has an ABSR of #12,854 in its category. This means that 12,853 books are selling better than the book in the photo. While it may be difficult to understand the value of knowing this number, we’re going to dive a bit deeper.

The ABSR tells us where a book is ranked in Amazon. The higher the number, the less likely the book is ranking. The lower the number, the better the book is ranking. But this number really depends on how much competition is in each category. To become a best seller, you need to choose categories that have less competition. For example, look at the photo below. See the three categories listed: (1) Starting a Business, (2) Small Business, (3) Entrepreneurship.

screenshot of a book's product details on Amazon's KDP platform

Each category has a different ABSR number. In the book’s product information shown above, the rank in the category “Starting A Business” is #634 versus the rank in the category of “Small Business” which is #1,936. The book listed in these categories is ranking differently. In one category, the book is selling better compared to the other category.

So, choosing the right category is crucial to beating the competition. Separately from this, the ABSR determines just how many books you need to sell in each category in order to be listed as #1 best seller. Let’s find out how to calculate this.

How Many Books Need to Sell?

We just talked about the key data point called the ABSR — Amazon’s Best Seller Rank. This number in any given category will tell you how many books you need to sell per day in order to become a best seller. How do you this? Simple.

Go into your Amazon account and search a book title that is in your book’s category. Scroll down to the product details. There is an area showing you the book’s rank in the categories it is listed in. Click on the category you want to list your book in. You will be taken to the category’s page and you will find the number one selling book in that category. Then click on that book and look at their Best Seller’s Rank.

Keep that number in your mind or write it down because that’s the number you need to know in order to calculate how many books you need to sell in order to beat it. To calculate exactly how many books you’ll need to sell per day, you’ll need to use this special KDP calculator.

Let’s use the product details shown in the following photo:

screenshot of a book's product details on Amazon's KDP platform
Photo Credit: Screenshot Taken by Kimberly Pangaro

Take a look at the different categories: Starting a Business and Small Business. The category “Starting a Business” has a rank of #634. The category of “Small Business” has a rank of #1,936. Using the special KDP calculator, you can calculate that an author would need to sell 95 paperback books per day if they listed their book in the category “Starting a Business”.

However, an author would only have to sell 67 paperback books per day in the category “Small Business” to rank as #1 best seller. Let’s go a bit further. In the photo above, there’s a third category listed, “Entrepreneurship” with a rank of #3,965. Using that rank in the calculation, an author would have to sell 26 books per day to rank as a #1 best seller.

So, understanding how to choose the right category based on the category’s #1 best selling book’s ABSR is an important aspect of selling your book on Amazon’s KDP successfully.

In Conclusion

Remember that there are multiple facets to be researched before officially listing a book on Amazon’s KDP platform: (1) choosing the right genre, (2) choosing the right category, (3) calculating how many books per day needed to sell in order to become a #1 best selling book.

It’s also important to understand a few key points about the information provided in this guide. The genres listed above may have lower competition, and they might also have a smaller audience on Amazon’s KDP. This is why it’s crucial to research and understand your target market, identify readership potential, and align your writing and marketing strategies accordingly. Additionally, trends, rankings, and other dynamics can change over time, so it’s important to stay up-to-date with your information and adapt your approach as needed.

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