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  Module 3: Genres and Subgenres--Finding Your Writing Niche

To sell big on Amazon, you need to target genre.You need to write a novel that has an eager audience. But there's much more involved than that. The key to selling big is in understanding how Amazon's search engines work and how Amazon categorizes genres and populates best-seller lists.

Amazon is one of the biggest search engines in the world, and authors, hands down, sell more books on Amazon than on any other online site. It stands to reason, too, that the genres that sell best on Amazon are also selling best on other venues such as Nook, Kobo, and iBooks, so finding a niche genre to write in that sells well on Amazon will most likely carry over to sales on these other sites.

You can't just write a great book, publish it in the Kindle store, and expect it to sell well. Even if you write a novel that basically fits in one of the top-selling general categories, such as mystery, romance, or fantasy, that doesn't guarantee you'll be discovered. In fact, just the opposite. You're putting your novel up against hundreds of thousands of other books in those categories.

So in this section about hunting down genre, we're going to look at ways to target genre by first understanding how Amazon defines and organizes books, then see how to find big-selling niche genres that have much less competition than the general categories.

You'll then learn how to deconstruct novels in that niche genre you plan to write in so that your book will fit in and appeal to that target audience. It's all about homing in on a specific narrow target audience that is looking for a book just like yours. That doesn't mean your novel won't appeal to other audiences, but your best chance at success is to be specific in your aim, and then promote your book in a way similar to that of the best-selling authors in your niche genre. You'll learn step by step how to do this.

You may not have thought much about genre when coming up with ideas for your novels. But I hope that once you go through this course, you'll agree that the road to success lies in understanding and targeting genre before you sit down to write.

But for now, let's take a look at what genre is all about so you can soon get started on your hunt.

Be sure to download and print out your checklist below!

Jaimie Engle
Soooo good!!!! Thank you.
Lyle Nicholson
I'm going to use some of the keywords to see if I can get some lift in sales to my present novels. As for new novels, I'd love to do historical fiction. Finding a niche there would be fun, as I enjoy reading it.
Susanne Lakin
Lyle, I do show what those hidden best-seller lists are. But just look at any popular novel and scroll down the product page. You will see the rankings and right below that, which best-seller lists Amazon puts the book on. A lot of the time, those lists are ones you've never heard of and aren't listed anywhere on Amazon's side bar. But Amazon clearly has a master list of categories (genres) and will sort novels into those lists. Using the names of those lists as keywords will help your novel get put on those lists, if they're the right ones for your book.
Susanne Lakin
Great, you'll learn a whole lot more later on about keywords, but for now as you explore, jot down the ones you see top-selling authors using in their titles and descriptions, but all look down the page at the hidden Amazon best-seller lists they are showing up on. You'll get the best keywords there.
Lyle Nicholson
Hi Susanne, not sure what you mean by the "hidden Amazon Best Seller lists. Is this revealed in a subsequent module?
Debbie L. Moore
I'm going to use my second novel as the test - I've chosen some keywords for Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal & Urban. Wish me luck!
Susanne Lakin
You should have a lot of great keywords for those genres. Let me know what you come up with!
Susanne Lakin
Have you thought much about the genre you're writing in? What subgenres interest you?
Roy Gomez
I've done some thinking about the literary coming-of-age novel and it seems there aren't many books written in this genre that include elements of the paranormal. I hope my up-coming research bears this out. I also hope to find a sub-genre that narrows my class further. So, that's the target of my work.