RESEARCH Before Writing Your Book

Alun Richards
5 min readAug 20, 2019
RESEARCH Before Writing Your Book

Why? Why should you RESEARCH before writing your book? In this article, I hope to convince you of the benefits of researching before writing, and before even planning your book. I’m going to suggest you need to carry out a bit of research to help you succeed as a published author.

Why Should You RESEARCH Before Writing Your Book?

Research, I believe is vital. In fact, research is the one critical activity that will determine your book’s success. It is that important. It’s sad, then, that so few authors put in this effort — but if you do, and follow these guidelines, it makes your book much more likely to sell.

Let me explain …

RESEARCH

I use the RESEARCH acronym to make sure I deal with all the important aspects of investigating whether publishing a given book is likely to sell. RESEARCH outlines the eight critical areas to address prior to planning your book to maximise its success.

These eight areas are …

R — Realise self-publishing is the fastest way

E — E-Publish on Kindle

S — Search Your Target Market

E — Evaluate Price

A — Appraise Length

R — Research Titles

C- Cover Design

H — Help: Get Help

Putting RESEARCH To Use

Let’s step through each of these areas, explain why they are important, and what actions an aspiring author should take. Let’s look at self-publishing first.

Realise Self-publishing is the Fastest Way

Publishing your book conventionally can take years. Typically it takes at least two years, though it can take much longer.

There are other disadvantages to using conventional publishers, like a terrible royalty structure. The royalty rate first-time authors get is usually 5%. Contrast this with the 70% of the book selling price you can get when you self-publish.

And for entrepreneurs, if you publish conventionally, the publisher will own all the rights to your book’s derivative products. So that’s audio versions of your book, courses and even group coaching programmes.

So for entrepreneurs, the decision is obvious — decide to self-publish.

E-Publish on Kindle

I recommend publishing on Amazon’s Kindle initially.

But why self-publish on Kindle? There are many reasons. One is that it’s so fast! All you need is your book in Word format, laid out for Kindle, and a 2D cover that looks professional. If you have these already, you can be published with your book available worldwide in two days!

Another reason for publishing on Kindle is that you can leverage Amazon’s promotions. Amazon will actually promote your book for free.

For example, you can choose to give your book away (remember it’s in electronic format) for five days every 90 days if you enroll in KDP Select. This typically generates a lot of activity in terms of promotion for you.

Search Your Target Market

Before you spend six months or more writing your book, you need to know there’s actually a market for it. Otherwise, all that effort will be wasted. The easiest way to do this is to see whether there are similar books already published in your field and whether they are selling.

Luckily this is easy to do online. Remember I recommended publishing on Kindle first? Well, now head over to Amazon’s Kindle section and navigate to the Category for your intended book.

See how many are published in your chosen Category that deal with your topic, for your target audience. See whether they sell well, using Amazon’s sales rank as a guide. Many books and a low sales rank equals an attractive market.

Evaluate Price

You need to know what to sell your book for. And this will depend on its length as well as the category in which it’s published. Again, this is easy enough to do, yet so many would-be authors miss out this step.

You can see the sales price on Kindle for each book. Just open up the top ten best sellers in your field and see what they’re priced at.

When you do come to publish, Amazon has a tool that will suggest a price for your Kindle book that will maximise your income. At this stage, we just need to know whether it’s worthwhile entering the market.

Appraise Length of Your Book

“How long should my book be?”, ask aspiring authors. Well, in my view, it should be long enough to address your subject properly and no longer. And you as the author are the best person to judge that.

You can get an idea what your fellow authors have offered, though. Again, online research is your friend here. You can see at a glance how long your competitors’ books are in your field. When you open a book’s page on Amazon, they’ll tell you how many pages it has. And if the books you check on are selling well in your field, maybe yours should be a similar length.

Research Your Title

What title you choose for your book is critical to its success. It should be abundantly clear from your title and subtitle what your book is about.

Again, view books in your Category in the Kindle store. Open 12 or so of the best-sellers. See what titles they use and write them all down — with their subtitles if any. You’ll begin to see a pattern. Choose a title based on what you see.

Avoid a common mistake by first-time authors, of having titles with puns or in-jokes. It’s best to avoid this unless it is clear what your book is about — or you’re publishing in a humour-related field.

Ensure that your title contains as many relevant keywords in your field without the title feeling contrived. This will get your book found by your prospective readers searching for it.

This is partly science and partly art to get this right.

Cover Design

Along with your title, your cover is what your prospects see first. So it must be professional and preferably it must not look out of place amongst the best-sellers in your field. Don’t even think about creating it yourself, unless you are an accomplished graphic artist.

When researching your cover, open around 12 of the best-sellers in your field, and note the similarities in cover design. You’ll see commonalities in layout, font: colour, positioning, size, predominant cover colours and more.

Make notes and save the ones you like, as you’ll need to brief a graphic artist when you decide to ahead and publish.

Help: Get Help

So why should you RESEARCH before writing your book? To make sure you don’t waste your time writing a book no-one wants to read and no-one can even find! By using my RESEARCH process you can do all of the activities above yourself — just follow my tips. And you’ll find it will make a huge difference to whether your book will sell or not.

When you come to publish, it may be that you could benefit from some help — it just makes it faster and easier. When you’ve decided on a topic and book title just check out my 5-Day Book Service: 5 Day Book Publishing Service

I’ll get your book created and published on Amazon’s Kindle in 5 Days in your words. Click the link for more details: 5 Day Book Publishing Service

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Alun Richards

Alun Richards is an internet marketer and book coach who helps his clients to get more customers through publishing books and using the internet.