KDP Rocket Review: How I Make Sure My Books Will Sell Before They Get Written
- What Can KDP Rocket Do For You?
- What Amazon Hides - KDP Rocket Reveals
- Competition Analysis at a Glance
- What I Didn't Like About KDP Rocket
- Will KDP Rocket Work For You?
- Top Authors That Use KDP Rocket
- Is It Worth It?
You know that sinking feeling when you hand over hard-earned cash for a ghostwritten book (or invest time in writing a book) that leaves you with little to show for your investment?
When your book ranked, but it barely goes below 100,00 in the Amazon Best Seller Ranking numbers …
That’s exactly how I felt at times BEFORE I started using KDP Rocket.
Let me explain.
Strategic self publishers know that keywords play one of the biggest roles in driving traffic to your books.
So earlier this year, May 2017, I bought a popular Kindle publishing keyword software after putting it off for some time.
I knew about KDP Rocket (KDPR) from researching self publishing keyword research online, but I never really gave it a chance because I was still trying to figure out self publishing (mid-2016) and reach my goal of $3k+ a month (at the time another software was out of the question).
After a successful 4th quarter I started to explore Kindle Publishing courses and software that could give me a competitive edge against the self publishers in my niche(s).
After judging a book by its cover for too long, I gave KDPR a shot.
As the saying goes "and the rest is history."
What Can KDP Rocket Do For You?
I asked myself the same question.
I mean, I already had a formula for keyword research figured out with KD Spy – why do I need this?
It turns out KDPR can do most of what KDSpy can do. However, I pretty much replaced it after playing around (keyword researching) with KDPR after a few days.
However, don’t disregard KD Spy so quickly – it still has its use – specifically in choosing the best categories for your book. I go over how to use it in my latest KDSpy Review article.
Let’s hone in on KDPR.
It’s a standalone software (not a Google Chrome extension) that you load up on your PC or Mac.
You can use it for keyword research and competition analysis all from one dashboard.
Usually, the research workflow goes a little like this:
Idea Search (enter a keyword)
Which will load up the Idea Searches Tab Dashboard
On this Idea Searches result’s page, you can see the following:
- Number of competitors (# of publishers in this niche)
- Average Monthly Earnings
- Google Searches per Month
- Amazon Searches per Month
- Competitive Score
Note that the Average Monthly Earnings and the Competitive Score column will not display until you click the Analyze button on the respective row.
For example, after clicking the Analyze button more is revealed:
This is my favorite tab because it provides so much data, per keywords in a given niche.
This saves me from typing keywords into the Amazon Kindle store every time I have a keyword idea variation.
Let’s say you have a keyword idea that you have in mind.
Before KDPR, you would have to type in the example keyword “honey bees” and spot out keywords woven in subtitles of existing books for hints of other keywords in this niche.
This tab alone can save you time and flushing money down the drain.
Because numbers do not lie.
Which leads me to my favorite part of this software - we're just getting started.
What Amazon Hides - KDP Rocket Reveals
Ever wonder how popular a keyword really is on Amazon?
I know I did. Moreover, I wanted numbers to back up the keywords I wanted to outsource books on.
Here’s the bad news.
Amazon does not disclose Amazon Search Volume (Amazon Searches per Month) for any keyword.
Only the Kindle gods know these things.
The good news is that KDPR displays not only the Amazon Search Volume per keyword but also the Google Search Volume per month.
Why is this a game changer?
Let’s say you have a keyword with, say 115 search results (Number of Competitors).
Before using KDPR, I would think the keyword was a sub-niche keyword with a low amount of publishers in the niche.
The missing piece of the puzzle was the search volume. Was there truly a demand for this keyword? It looks like I can write a book to solve people’s problems, but looks can be deceiving.
If you have enough keyword research experience or online marketing in general, you know about sub-niche markets.
You know that although you might have a winning keyword on your hands, you are venturing into unclaimed Kindle territory. This territory can be rewarding or make you wish you never started that keyword.
Sub-niches (unclaimed territory) can be rewarding if you get there first 🙂
You can tell if you are in a sub-niche market by the following factors:
- low amount of competition (between 50 and less than 1,000)
- the keyword is not the title of the book
- the keyword, or variations, don't appear in the title or subtitle
- unimpressive covers in the search results
Another factor can also be a keyword's results page with books that have high Amazon Best Seller Rankings (ABSR) but depends on the keyword.
I have personally published in keywords that had high ABSR books, with the above factors present but published in them anyway because I knew it was an untapped keyword.
You know if a keyword is untapped if there’s a high demand for it. Usually, sub-niches will not shout you down and say “publish under my keyword/niche - there are many people searching for me!”
Moreover, if it is untapped, there won’t be best sellers in there - yet.
This is truly where KDP Rocket shines. It gives you confidence in self publishing before you spend time writing, or outsourcing, your next book.
Competition Analysis at a Glance
Before KDPR, I would search for keywords in the Kindle Store to check its competition.
Moreover, if I wanted to know how a book was doing in rankings (ABSR) or the Kindle categories of the book, I would have to do some digging and clicking.
I still do this on occasion. I mostly do this because I'm so used to doing things the old fashioned way.
However, I get more used to the power of this tool the more I use it.
The second tab in the software dashboard is the Competition Searches tab. Which by the way, you can have multiple sub-tab (searches) within any of the tabs.
This tab will give you everything you need to know about your competition on the first page of results.
Of course, it gives you some basic data per row: title, subtitle author name. However, it also goes further than that.
Do you want how old a competitor’s book is in days?
No problem there’s a column for that – this is actually better than looking at dates in my opinion.
How about an ABSR column?
# of reviews per book?
Well, you can see the rest in this image here:
Now, I don't get me wrong. I still have Amazon fired up on my browser when I’m using KDPR.
However, I only use it when I think I’ve found a winner through both the Idea Searches and the Competition Searches tabs.
KDPR actually has a Sales Page column with links that lead directly to that book’s sales page on Amazon for this very reason – to double check.
What I Didn't Like About KDP Rocket
I like being upfront with you guys, so I’m going to share what I didn’t like about the software.
#1) The list of categories box is mixed with both physical book and Kindle book categories.
As a Kindle self publisher, you know that Kindle is the cradle of your book.
When things go well in the Kindle store, it’s usually a good sign that your books will sell well in paperback and audio copies as well. Other platforms may even outperform Kindle royalties.
So it makes sense, to me, that there should be an option to switch between the Kindle Store categories and the regular Books categories within this list.
I like that you can click on any of the categories in the List of Competition’s Categories box, and it’ll take you the respective Amazon category page, but having the option to see one or the other would definitely be a solid plus to this software.
This old feature, in the Competition Search tab, seems to have been replaced by the List of Competition’s Categories box mentioned above.
I’m not sure what happened (maybe an update), but after looking at tutorial videos, that come with the software, I miss how this section used to be a list of current reviews of the selected book.
Back then, if you clicked on a review row, in the review box above, a KDPR display box would pop-up with the full review of the reader. It would even say if it’s verified or unverified!
Hopefully, it’s in the works; I’ll have to ask Dave Chesson (creator of KDPR) about this shortly.
Although these are two of my cons against the KDP Rocket software, I believe that the pros, highlighted throughout this article highly outweigh them.
Latest KDP Rocket Updates
This latest update is from early September.
There will be a new toggle feature for #1 above.
And as for #2, Amazon was not fond of sharing the reviews on a 3rd party application, and it turns out not many people were using this feature.
You can find more details by Dave in the comments section below and by watching his latest KDPR 1.0.27 update video.
Will KDP Rocket Work For You?
I can’t guarantee anything, but what I can say after struggling to become a successful outsource self publisher, is: KDPR will work for you if and only IF
You are 110% committed to treating your self publishing biz like an actual business
I’m serious. I was talking to a friend on the phone the other day, and he’s always wanted to try Kindle publishing. I told him about how he could do keyword research and after a few hours of "trying" he was done.
He texts me later that day saying "I'll just outsource this to Fiverr."
Ugh, ill advised and no commitment.
Like anything, it takes time to get used to a process, and a software like this is no different.
Although I will say it’s very user-friendly and I doubt even the least technical among us will have troubles using it.
You have an existing niche or niches in mind
This is actually quite easy since everyone has book ideas in mind – usually. It’s even easier if you have existing books.
When I first got KDPR, I optimized my existing books. I started optimizing the following meta data of my Kindle books (and Createspace books):
- book description
- 7 extra keywords section (don't skip this one)
I searched for my main keyword, for each book, and started sorting the KDPR Amazon Searches per Month column (from most searched to least) and plugged those into the above meta data sections.
It's also much easier to do if you’re not dabbling in Kindle publishing.
You actually have to be in the Kindle trenches to get the most out of KDPR.
The Kindle trenches can be dangerously competitive
You’re sick of being unsure if an untapped keyword is actually in demand
HELLO, I’VE BEEN THERE! It’s frustrating, right?
I’m sure some of you can relate.
Why spend $200-$400 on outsourcing a book to a ghostwriter on a gut feeling when you can know that X amount of people are actually searching for your keyword a month.
If you use Amazon Marketing Services (AMS)
This software can also work for you if you use sponsored Amazon ads to drive traffic to your books.
We're not going to cover this great detail in this article mainly because I haven't done it yet.
However, if you're anything like me, and you know you're eventually going to get your feet wet with paid Amazon ads, you'll be happy you have KDPR by your side for AMS keyword research.
As more and more self publishers start using ads for their books, I can see this software becoming a monthly subscription, but don't quote me on that. For now, it's a one-time payment, and I have to believe that Dave Chesson (the software founder) thought about changing this to a monthly subscription.
Update (Later 2017): KDP Rocket for AMS ads seemed like a daunting task, but I was up for the challenge.
Having never run an ad on Amazon I knew I needed tutorials explaining each step of the process.
I recalled Dave mentioning that KDPR does keyword research for AMS ad campaigns! And he had just recently come out with his FREE AMS course!
I dived right in. And 2 months later (1 month putting it off...) my results:
AMS is usually for advanced self publishers, so I recommend if you haven't published a couple of books yet to save Amazon advertising for a later date.
Already got some books live? Want to increase your bottom line?
The course teaches everything you need to know about AMS. From A-Z. I particularly liked the video lesson: Split Testing AMS Ads.
Top Authors That Use KDP Rocket
- Steve Scott
- Derek Murphy
- Carol Tice
- Jeff Goins
Is It Worth It?
I hope you enjoyed reading my KDP Rocket review article as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I love KDP Rocket, and it’s the only paid keyword analysis software I promote now. Keyword analysis (and competition analysis) matters and I think any self publisher can feel more confident with the data that KDPR provides.
More importantly, results matter.
Since using KDPR, I’ve optimized my books, and I know for a fact that some of my books were saved by having more eyeballs on it.
I saw a few old books come back from the dead after optimizing the 7 keywords section in KDP.
Also, KDPR has helped me get a better grasp sub-niche keywords and markets. Before the software, I wasn’t sure how to spot sub-niches.
Anyway, I've got some keyword research to do now that I'm done writing this article 🙂
I really hope my KDPR review helps you make a decision, and I hope you decide to put the software into action! If you have any questions, let me know in the comment section below.