How do you know if there is an audience for a book about a topic that you want to write about? After you spend months writing a book, how will you know that there will be readers to buy it?
Steve Scott, whose series of habit books consistently put him at the top of the Amazon author rankings among business authors, suggests something he calls The Rule of 30,000.
Here is how it works:
- Pick a topic that you want to write about.
- Search for books about that topic on Amazon and check their Amazon Best Sellers Rank.
- If you can find a couple books about this topic that rank below 30,000 overall on Amazon, which is roughly 5-10 sales per day, then you have picked a topic in which there will be potential readers.
Next, narrow the topic of the book you are writing to be as granular as possible. You don’t want to write a giant tome of everything readers need to know. You want to write a book that solves a very specific problem.
Let’s say, for example, I wanted to write a book about promoting good family dinner-table conversations. After some searching on Amazon today, I would find the following books:
- One Year of Dinner Table Devotions and Discussion Starters (Best Sellers Rank: #9,895)
- Dinner: The Playbook (Rank: #25,903)
- Dinner: A Love Story (Rank: #45,529)
- Dinner Talk: 365 engaging conversations starters to help you and your family connect (Rank: #1,631,000)
- Home for Dinner: Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids (Rank: #1,163,608)
I was able to quickly find one book under #10,000 on Amazon, one under #30,000 and on at #45,000. The results aren’t great. Following Steve’s Scott’s Rule of 30,000 I would probably question the viability of a book on this topic.
Then again, if you as an author feel passionately about writing a book about a certain topic, a best seller rank shouldn’t stop you. It should, however, inform the positioning of the book you want to write.
Here is an article on Steve Scott’s website about the rule: How to Use the Rule of 30,000 to Make a Profit on Amazon.
Here is an interview in which he shares this strategy with James Altucher: How to Make $40K a Month Writing from Your Couch.