The new Kings and Queens of KDP series will feature Q&As with experienced and successful sellers on KDP.
First up is Luke Bowes — a great guy who is among the most insightful and generous leaders in the KDP community. If you haven’t checked out Luke’s group yet, I highly recommend KDP – Kindle Direct Publishing – Low Content Templates, Guides & Help
Luke, thanks for sharing your valuable thoughts with us for this interview!
Q: You have extensive experience in KDP with creating diverse content. How do you evaluate the sales potential of a niche when it comes to KDP before making low content books in that niche?
Luke: Generally the amount of books for the keyword used and the BSR. Sub 1,000,000 BSR and under 500 books are ideal. But what I also do is check the reviews of other similar products. If there are more than 500 books BUT on the first 2 pages the reviews suggest the interiors are lacking customer desired content I will jump in.
If they are all delivering a consistently high user experience I tend to avoid creating there. BUT there is no reason not to deliver content there if you believe you have a unique twist.
Q: Of all the interior types you make and sell, which are your favorites based on sales potential and customer popularity?
Luke: Initially lined journals were king in KDP but as time has gone on they’ve sunk somewhat. My personal favorite currently that sells very well are password journals with ‘tab’ style letters in each corner. This way you can flick through the book in the top corner and get to the location you want quickly! The next best thing to actual tabs I guess! The tab style can also easily be used in many other interiors and I’ve noticed my books with it sell well compared to others without ‘tabs’
Q: What is the biggest opportunity you see in KDP today for new or veteran sellers on the platform?
Luke: For me it’s niching down and delivering exactly what customers want. Particularly for hobbies and jobs. Very personal and specific journals have lower daily sales than things like a generic planner or password journal in pure volume but they perform consistently. A lot of my non-specific interiors will sell a high quantity but then will die randomly. The very niched down content sells religiously 5-10 books or so a month. Not a lot I know but if you have over 100 books like that at least $2 royalty that’s $1000+ in royalties a month. It’s best to have a broad portfolio to cover highs and lows in sales of books.
You need to get to know your niche the best you can. Visit niche related forums. Ask questions and read a lot. Ask local businesses/tradesmen etc. You’ll soon see people’s pain points and what they need. Read reviews on Amazon. If you spend a lot of time on there you’ll see so many generic templates that only partially meet an audiences needs and wants. People will say what they want. Give them what they want.
Q: Where there’s opportunity, there are also obstacles. What are the most obvious landmines that KDP creators must strive to avoid in their efforts moving forward?
Luke: I think there are two obvious things that KDP creators need to avoid in their efforts moving forward
1. The generic splatter of uploading 100s of covers with minor variations on and the same interior. It might be tempting to throw spaghetti at the wall but in my experience it doesn’t work so well on KDP.
2. Templates. Don’t avoid them if you like them…I feel they do serve a purpose BUT If you are going to use them. You NEED to learn to customize them. Depending on how copies of a template has been sold you could run into problems down the line if everyone uploads exactly the same interior without modifications.
Q: For Merch By Amazon sellers looking to leverage their creations on MBA to create new content for KDP, what’s the most important factor for sellers to consider before expanding their MBA catalog to KDP?
Luke: That they will need to take the time to learn about KDP! It’s a very different platform to Merch by Amazon. It’s important you read and watch as much about KDP as you can before you start!
It’s not as simple as throwing an MBA asset on a book cover. You will need to learn different software potentially and how to create different things for different products including interiors.
This is important because what sells on apparel doesn’t necessarily translate to sales on a book. I know that might seem obvious but there are a lot of assets that you can tell were clearly designed for apparel and don’t look attractive as book covers. If you browse through Amazon’s catalogue of books you’ll get a feel for what makes a good cover.
I feel descriptions are even more important on KDP particularly for users browsing on mobile. They don’t get the look inside feature so you really need to describe your interior and the problem it solves effectively. You have so much more control over it than in Merch by Amazon including space for keywords.
Q: Tell us about your fabulous group and what you hope to help KDP creators accomplish there?
Luke: To be honest I set the group up and thought I’d just have a tiny group of a few people I knew in the world of POD sharing what I had learnt! I never thought it would reach 100 yet alone 6000!
I really want people to learn by doing, learn by experimenting and gain hands on experience. So I created lots of free simple interiors and more recently a free tool that will help people customize them as easily as possible. I also share some of my experiences. It’s just grown from there!
By playing with free interiors I hope that gives the confidence to users that they can move onto successfully editing interiors they purchase or create themselves. The unknown can be daunting and I wanted to take that feeling away for those who were looking to expand their online portfolio of POD products.
What I also like about it also is it encourages me to learn! I’d never really used PowerPoint or macros/VBA before but to meet the groups needs I had to starting using these products!