Thursday, April 15, 2021

Creating Bestselling Book Ideas

Today’s guest post is an excerpt from How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition by Penny Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, a cutting edge book marketing firm.

It’s one thing to write a book. It’s quite another to write a book that will sell. We all want to follow our passion, write our dream, and dance creatively with our muse. But wouldn’t it be fantastic if, amidst all this creativity, we also manage to produce a best-selling book? That is, after all, part of the dream.

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, keywords and keyword strings can help you take your game to the next level.

Finding Bestselling Book Ideas

I know a gal who’s keyed into a bunch of SEO people. For those of you not familiar with the term, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. These are the folks who spend their lives trying to get on the first page of Google.

Several years back we were talking about how to create ideas that sell. She told me many of her SEO buddies literally write books based only on keywords and keyword strings. It has nothing to do with their passion or even what they want to write about. They focus on “saleable terms,” meaning phrases getting a huge bounce on Google. This may not be how you’d normally think about writing a book, but there are merits to this methodology. Here are a few things to think about while you plan your next book:

Book focus. Where will you focus your book? What subject or theme do you want to write about? Don’t get too caught up in a set plan. Leave some room for flexibility but do consider what’s hot right now. Your original idea may have been the starting point but depending on how long you’ve been sitting on it, there’s a solid chance you can update it a bit to ensure you’re responding to current market needs, or to make yourself stand out from competitive titles that hit the market before you.

Book title. A book title is a great place to use keyword strings, so keep an open mind about reworking your title as it gets closer to your publication date. This is also the perfect time for some market research because besides the need for hot, keyword strings, a title should also answer a question or the pique the interest of your potential buyers. Often you’re too close to your own work to be aware of hot, trending possibilities...unless you do due diligence to your market research.

Book subtitle. If you already have your title, consider using keyword strings in your subtitle to help boost your exposure in searches. And consider whether you want to put your subtitle on your book cover. Leaving it off makes it a lot easier to change it on Amazon to match market needs and industry and genre trends.

Book topic. Let’s say you’re an expert in your field but aren’t sure what topic to write about. Let’s say you’re a consumer finance guru and want to write a book on this topic. Knowing what consumers are searching for in the area of finance, and what keyword strings are used most often, is a great way to home in on the immediate needs of your readers. Create a topic that’s narrower. Instead of addressing a broad area, tighten your focus. It will net you better sales. Consumers like specialized topics that help solve specific problems. And the books don’t have to be long. Once you find your market or niche, you’ll want to publish regularly for your target audience.

Want to know how keyword research strings relate to popular topics on Amazon? Give this a try:

1. On the Amazon page, search the Kindle store tab. Isolate your searches there for now.

2. Plug in your search term and see what comes up. You’ll generally get five to ten suggestions. Click on one of them.

3. Look at the books that come up in the search and click on the “Customers Also Bought” section.

4. Focus on books with a high sales rank. Depending on the category, it could be between 50,000 and 20,000.

5. Make sure there are a variety of books in the Also Bought section, preferably more than five around the same topic, and make sure that they all have this range of sales volume. If it’s lower than 20,000, that’s great, but neither the super-saturated nor the unpopular categories will help you.

Some Amazon experts say a 20,000 rank indicates the book is selling five copies a day, but I find this hard to prove either way. Just know that, given Amazon’s volume, a book is definitely not languishing at that rank.

In addition to topic research, while you’re developing your book idea and trying to decide what to include and exclude, consider spending a bit of time comparing the content of similar books in your market. Take advantage of Amazon’s “look inside” book feature and read several pages, as well as the reviews. Readers will tell you what they want, and they’ll often do it in a review. The negative reviews with constructive feed- back—those that explain what readers thought was missing or things they wished had been expanded upon—will be especially helpful.

Meet the Author

Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine

Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon Optimization programs as well as Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of 18 books, including How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition, Revise and Re-Release Your Book, 5-Minute Book Marketing, and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet." Her next book From Book to Bestseller is due out in Spring 2021.

AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal

To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit  

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Are you good at marketing?


  1. Hmmm.
    I know it is truth, but it hurts my head and my heart to see the success of a piece of art (and in my eyes a good book IS art) come down to advertising tricks and gimmicks...

    1. No, I get it! I wish that creativity alone was enough to catapult a book to fame (sometimes it is!) but the business side of things absolutely matters, too. Good luck and thanks for reading, Penny

  2. This sounds really useful, Mason. Writers need to think about the business side of things just as they do about creating a good story. It's good to have some ideas for that. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Margot thanks for reading the blog post and for your comment. Yes, it's definitely a creative industry but it's also a business! Thanks for reading! Penny

  3. Very useful for non-fiction writers although us fiction writers can work some of that in as well.

    1. Alex thank you so much - and you're right! It can be adapted to fiction as well! Thanks for reading, Penny


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