You've spent months working on your book.
You've done extensive research. Improved your craft. Committed to a daily word count and hit your goals.
But then, once your masterpiece is complete... crickets 🙁
See, a lot of authors make the mistake of writing a book, then trying to find readers and buyers. Sometimes the stars will align and your book will find its way into the hands of thousands upon thousands of readers. But this scenario is an exception, and not the rule of publishing.
Sadly, more often than not your book will flop. The average self-published book sells around 250 copies in its lifetime (with a more accurate number being around 100)!
But what if there was a way you could stack the deck in your favour?
There’s no way to guarantee a runaway hit or a bestseller, but there are certain things you can do, and tools you can use to improve your chances of success.
One of them is proper market research before you begin putting pen to paper: if you’re going to devote months of your life to writing a book, then it’s the least you could do.
Welcome to my review of a super ninja tool called KDP Rocket.
This tool alone won’t magically help you sell millions of copies.
But by using it, you'll be ahead of 90% of the indie author population out there!
What is KDP Rocket?
KDP Rocket ain't "just another keyword research tool." A more effective description would be: an "all-in-one author market research tool."
In a nutshell, it helps you determine whether or not a book market is viable. So, instead of operating on intuition or guesswork, you’ll be equipped with hard data about whether or not you should enter a specific niche of books.
Writing what you love is essential. But, finding that overlap between what you love and what people are actually paying for is a goldmine.
Gaining a deep level of understanding about your market, knowing what keywords your customers use, and learning the good and bad about your competitors will give you a distinct advantage.
Without this validation, you’re just writing blind, so imagine knowing all of this before you even start writing:
- What kind of ideas and books people are actually looking for?
- How many people are searching for books in my niche every month?
- How much money are books in my niche earning?
- What kind of books are succeeding?
- Which ones are failing?
What Does KDP Rocket Do?
Broadly speaking, KDP Rocket will help you answer the question: is this market the right fit for my book?
The software has 4 main ways of answering this question. We'll analyse them one by one in the following sections, with in-depth video walkthroughs.
Finding that overlap between what you love writing and what people are actually paying for, is a goldmine.
1. Analyse Your Competitors
Before you decide to write a book in a specific genre or category, you'll want to know how competitive it is. This information can help in two ways.
First, you’ll get a better understanding of what you have to do to market your book successfully. Second, you’ll know whether or not it’s worth writing a book in that genre.
Writing shouldn't be entirely about the money (there are much easier ways to make a buck). But, writing to a hungry genre can be much more fulfilling than writing a book that only a handful of people are going to read.
Here’s how you can determine how competitive a book market actually is:
On the next page, you'll get a breakdown of various stats, including valuable data like:
- How old the book is (AGE)
- It’s Amazon best-seller rank (ABSR)
- Whether the book has the keyword in the title or subtitle (KW-T and KW-ST)
- It’s estimated earnings (DY-SALES and MO-SALES)
You even have the option to explore various book covers and the categories each book is ranking in. This can give you a competitive advantage, as you might come across some books that have weak covers you know you can beat.
2. Uncover the Right Category for Your Book
A new feature that's been recently added to this tool is the category search feature.
If you want to grab that bestseller spot, you'll need to choose the right category (while selling the right number of books). Choose categories that are too difficult to rank for, and you'll never get that vaulted best-seller tag.
In the past, finding the right categories for your book meant spending hours pouring through Amazon search results, jotting down categories, and manually calculating book sales numbers.
But with KDP Rocket the process is straightforward. Just fire up the ‘Category Search’ feature and type in a descriptive keyword for your book:
KDP Rocket will generate a list of categories related to your book description, which you can potentially rank in.
You'll get a breakdown of the ranking of the #1 and #20 books in each category, as well as how many books you need to sell to beat those books (ranking in the top 20 of a given category will place your book on the first page of category results).
This information will also help you dictate how hard of a marketing push you need during launch to hit the top of your targeted categories.
3. Validate and Find Great Book Ideas
If you haven’t yet written your book yet, or are trying to choose between a few different ideas, then consider using this tool to help you out. An excellent book idea is usually an intertwining of the following:
- You’re actually interested in the topic
- There’s a sizeable market
- The competition isn’t impossible to break into
If you’re equipped with those three, the chances are high that your book will be a success.
Even though KDP Rocket can't tell you whether you’re passionate or not about a topic, the software actually makes finding your bestselling book idea is actually quite simple. You just type in your idea into the ‘Keyword Search’ box and let the tool do the rest.
The results will give you a breakdown of that keyword and related keywords that readers are typing into Amazon. Plus, you’ll get access to additional information like, the search volume for each keyword, the number of books that are competing for that keyword, and the average revenue the books are generating that rank for that keyword.
With that information in hand you’ll be able to compare different book ideas until you land on one that you care about, and you know will make you money.
4. Write Better Titles and Book Descriptions
There are a lot of lousy book titles out there. It's not surprising.
A memorable book title not only needs to be interesting, hook your readers and inform them what your book is about.
You also need to include relevant keywords to help you show up in the search results.
A lot of forward-thinking authors understand the role that keywords play in people actually buying their books. But, choosing the right keywords and integrating these into your title, subtitle, and book descriptions remains a bit of a mystery.
Without KDP Rocket choosing keywords is mostly guesswork. You’ll type in your chosen keyword into the Amazon search bar and judge the strength of the keyword by the number of search results.
For example, here are the Amazon search results for the keyword “meditation for beginners”:
But, with KDP Rocket you can uncover the search volume of your target keywords, so you know what’s actually popular. Along with the competitiveness of each keyword.
This can be a HUGE advantage.
By knowing what keywords your target readers are actually typing into Amazon, you'll know the kinds of words they're actually using.
This will make it easy for you to include popular keywords in your title, subtitle, and throughout your book description copy.
To use this feature, just use the "Keyword Search’ feature (see above).
5. Unveil Hidden Niches
Many markets in the Kindle store are incredibly competitive. They’re filled with authors who have multiple books out, large platforms, and years of experience.
But, what if you could find untapped keywords and markets that other authors don’t know about?
Most other keyword research tools will only show you keywords on the Amazon platform. But, there's a feature of this tool that actually brings in data from Google as well.
For example, you might find that there’s a market being served via blogs, forums, and YouTube, but the Kindle market is pretty empty. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as you’ve already verified that people are interested in the topic.
When you're researching for keywords and book topics with the Keyword Search feature (see above), keep in mind the section that says ‘Google Searches Per Month'!
6. Find the Perfect Amazon AMS Keywords
Amazon AMS is generally pretty advanced and not something you’ll be doing right away. But, as you publish more books and you’re looking to generate more revenue via advertising, then AMS can be a great way to do just that.
You’ve no doubt seen these ads before when browsing the Kindle store. They either show up in the search results when a user types in a keyword or at the bottom of a specific book listing.
If you haven’t done any paid advertising, then the thought of running ads for your book can be a little intimidating.
Luckily, KDP Rocket can take a little bit of this resistance away by simplifying the most challenging part of the process—actually getting Amazon to show your book listing. For your book to show up in the sponsored results, you're going to need to list it for hundreds of relevant keywords.
Finding all these yourself would probably take months. So, you’ll want to have this tool by your side if you’re going to start running ads.
To get started just open up KDP Rocket and select ‘AMS Keyword Search,' then enter a general keyword that describes your book, its title or your author name. You’ll receive a downloadable list of keywords you can upload directly into your Amazon AMS dashboard that is based upon the following:
- Keywords that are based on Amazon’s suggested keywords (A-Z)
- Keywords based on the title and author suggestions for the top 20 keyword results
- Keywords based on the title and author suggestions for the top 20 in categories
What are the Drawbacks of KDP Rocket?
For the benefits this tool brings there actually aren’t a lot of drawbacks. No tool is perfect. But, for the promises this tool makes, it works hard to achieve nearly all of them.
Still, there are a few things that aren’t major issues, but instead small gripes with the tool. But, who knows, the chances are high these will probably be taken care of with future updates.
1. The Sales Figures Can Be Skewed
When you’re looking at the average book revenue for a given category or keyword, these figures don’t always tell the whole truth. For example, there could be a massive bestseller that makes the category look more profitable than it really is. Or, you could have free books mixed in with the results, which can bring the monthly income figure lower than average.
In general, though, these figures sometimes seem a little 'optimistic'. Although these numbers are handy for a rough estimate, it's important to realise these figures aren't cut and dry. If you want to start writing in a specific category or keyword, you will want to spend time browsing through the store yourself, using the figures and information gathered from this tool as your guide.
2. It’s Not a Web App
This is more of a personal preference, instead of an issue with the software itself. Personally, I prefer any research tools I’m using to be web-based.
The software works fine as an installation, but some users (myself included), would like to see a version that works on the web. This would also get around the software not being available for those who prefer the Linux operating system.
3. Physical and Kindle Book Categories Are Mixed
When you're self-publishing, the lion's share of your revenue will probably come from Kindle eBook purchases. Then, if you're selling well on Kindle, you can increase your income by creating paperback and audiobook versions of your book.
Currently, the category feature shows mixed listings of both physical and Kindle book categories. Although these have overlap, there are some categories that are only available to you if you have a physical book.
There isn’t a sorting option built into the tool, so you’ll have to do your own digging when choosing categories for the digital and physical versions of your book. Inside sources, however, tell me this will soon be corrected.
Your Questions Answered
Even with all that information above you probably still have a few questions about this piece of software. Here are a few of the most common questions that we didn’t cover in-depth above:
How Much Does It Cost?
Currently, you can get access to KDP Rocket for a one-time fee of $97. There are no subscriptions or hidden fees. However, it’s a good idea to invest in this tool sooner rather than later, as there’s a chance it might transition into a monthly subscription in the future.
Does It Work on Mac and PC?
Yes. The software currently works on Macs running 10.9 and above, and every version of PC, except for versions older than ten years. There currently isn't any support for Linux or other additional operating systems.
Does It Work for Fiction Authors Too?
Yes. As long as people continue to use the Amazon search bar to look for books, then this tool will be useful. Understanding your keywords and competition is incredibly valuable no matter what genre of books you write. Plus, with the Amazon AMS keyword feature, you'll be simplifying the process of generating keywords and running ads for your book.
How Is the Competition Score Calculated?
The competition metric is incredibly useful and based on a few different factors. This 1-99 scale will tell you the difficulty of ranking for a chosen keyword. The score is based upon known ranking factors like the number of reviews, titles, descriptions, and subtitles, best-seller ranks, and a lot more.
What About Updates to the Software?
Since you download and install this software on your computer, it's natural to be concerned about updates. But, good news, all updates to the software are included entirely free of charge. This tool has already gone through multiple iterations, including adding new features like AMS keywords, and the category feature.
KDP Rocket vs KD Spy vs Kindle Samurai
You’re probably trying to choose between these tools, or maybe even see if it’s worth investing in all three. Whatever your reason, here’s how these tools stack up against each other.
KDSpy bills itself mainly as a category research tool. Its goal is to help you gain a deep understanding of the category you want to write in. You'll get a breakdown of the sales numbers, the rankings, the number of reviews, and the overall size of the market. You can then dive deeper to understand the global competitiveness of the niche.
Kindle Samurai is mostly just a keyword research tool. You can use it to research your competition, but it's not recommended. The keyword research is pretty thorough, but the end result isn't very attractive and looks more like an Excel spreadsheet. Probably, the only advantage of this tool is that it's the cheapest option. Also, if you're a Mac user, then you'll have to run Bootcamp to use the software since it's Windows-only.
KDP Rocket accomplishes the same things as the tools above, but it does it better. In regards to competition research, idea generation, and keyword research, it shines above the rest. Here's a handy comparison table with the three softwares and their main features:
Keyword Research feature
Competition Research feature
AMS Keyword Finder
Category Research feature
Web-based or standalone?
Standalone (but requires internet)
Standalone (but requires internet)
Windows or Mac?
Both (but with add. software)
97 $ (one time)
47 $ (one time)
9 $ (one time)
Is KDP Rocket Right for You?
KDP Rocket is an incredible tool for authors who are ready to treat their writing like a business. A lot of authors are merely concerned with writing whatever brings them the most joy. They don’t care about market trends, reader expectations, or crafting novels that will sell while being creatively fulfilling.
But, if you’re an author who believes any of the following, then KDP Rocket is a tool worthy of investment:
- You want to have a deep understanding of your market before you write
- You want to improve your book’s chances of selling before you write it
- You understand the importance of Kindle keywords and want to optimise your book accordingly
- You want to write more 'clickable' titles that people are already searching for
- You’re getting into Amazon AMS and want to find keywords in an easier way
Plus, if this isn’t already clear. KDP Rocket is very easy and intuitive to use. You don’t have to be super technical to use the tool.
When you're getting started as an author, you have a lot on your plate.
You not only have to write a compelling book.
You have to do it in a competitive market, choose the right keywords and categories, optimise your book listing, launch it the right way, get reviews, and a lot more.
Writing a book probably seems easy after doing all that.
With KDP Rocket you can significantly simplify the book research process, come up with ideas, and know exactly what you'll have to do to rank your book.
If you want to improve your chances of success as an author and build a career you can be proud of, then KDP Rocket is a worthwhile investment.
Have any questions about KDP Rocket, or want to share your experience using the tool? Then please do so in the comments below!