In this week’s episode, Kindlepreneur’s Dave Chesson explains how to validate your book idea before you start the long-term and time-consuming process of writing your novel.

This week’s key highlights:

  • Doing the right market research and preparation before writing a book
  • Ways to use Amazon to do your market research
  • The three essential components to book market research
  • Ninja tips for getting Amazon to rank your book higher
  • Ways to narrow down a niche topic for less competition

Resources and links mentioned in this episode:

The Self-Publishing Formula Knowledge Vault
Dave’s website,
KDP Rocket Cheat Sheet
KDP Rocket

Transcript of this episode:

Speaker 1: Two writers, one just starting out, the other a best seller. Join James Blatch and Mark Dawson and their amazing guests as they discuss how you can make a living telling stories. There’s never been a better time to be a writer.

James Blatch: Hello. We’re delighted to be with you on the Self Publishing Formula Podcast. Welcome to SPF Land with James Blatch and Mark Dawson. Welcome, Mark.

Mark Dawson: Hello, James.

James Blatch: How are you feeling today?

Mark Dawson: I’m okay. Not too bad. Bit tired.

James Blatch: Good, yeah? Unshaven?

Mark Dawson: Unshaven as always.

James Blatch: Letting things go a little bit.

Mark Dawson: Well, you know, I’m a writer.

James Blatch: Yeah. Right, that’s the look, is it?

Mark Dawson: I normally don’t wear any trousers.

James Blatch: J.K. Rowling’s always well-shaven.

Mark Dawson: Let’s move on, James.

James Blatch: You are wearing trousers.

Mark Dawson: I am wearing trousers today.

James Blatch: Yes, we do have a wide shot, so just to be aware …

Mark Dawson: What are you saying?

James Blatch: Wide angle lens. Get that all in.

We’ve got a good episode today, because we are going to talk to a former US marine, so we’ll have to be on our best behavior, who writes space marine stories. He’s a very energized guy.

His name is Dave Chesson, and some of you will be familiar with him because he’s got a little piece of the internet called Kindlepreneur, and Dave’s taken it upon himself to really become energetic in the indie area and try and teach methods that he’s learned, that he thinks are going to work, so he’s come up with a product which we’re going to talk about in this interview today, called KDP Rocket, which is all about validating your idea before you put all the effort into writing.

Are you going to be writing a book that’s in an area that can be sold, can be marketed, or are you going to be writing into an area where you are going to really struggle to stand out from the crowd?

It’s a type of pre-market research that big companies do all the time, before product investments. We should say, right at the beginning, and you can tell from the interview, that neither you or I have used this product, and so at this stage we’re not recommending it.

However, Dave has very kindly offered us some licenses, so we’ve got three licenses to give away which we’ll do in a competition at the end of the interview, and Dave has put together a brilliant PDF cheat sheet on validating your pre-market idea.

Those two things, that we’re going to give away the URLs after the interview, and you can hear how Dave has put together this product.

He’s a good guy, Dave, isn’t he? You’ve not met him, I don’t think?

Mark Dawson: Never met him, no. I know of him but we haven’t met.

James Blatch: I hope we will meet this year. I’ve told him where we’re going to be and when we’re going to be there and we’ll try to coordinate to get together with Dave at some point, because I like his energy.

I like people like Dave who work hard in the area, and are endlessly enthusiastic, and also quite jealous of his shot he’s got setup in his little basement. If you’re watching this on YouTube, you’ll see he’s got a very nice setup with the camera, the same camera we’re using, behind me. That one, if you’re watching on YouTube, the 1300D, for techie people … We’ve lost Mark again. Let’s hear from Dave Chesson.

Dave Chesson: About four years ago, I was in the military and I was stationed in South Korea and I decided that I wanted to try to build some type of business that would allow me to get out of the military, and doing that, I was able to jump into self-publishing, and here I am today in Nashville, Tennessee, with my family, living off the money from my books.

James Blatch: That’s fantastic. You’ve done that. I can imagine, you brought your military discipline to this as a task and you didn’t give up lightly, and the military is a fantastic foundation for giving you the right attitude to making a project work.

Having said that, you obviously are a storyteller, as well. That must have been in there the whole time.

Dave Chesson: A little bit. I’ve never credited myself as a great writer. As a matter of fact, I remember in high school, I got an assignment from a teacher, and she said … I was like, “This is going to be perfect. I could write about my dog that just died.” That sounds terrible to say out loud like that, but it was one of those where I was emotionally stirred and I felt, “Here’s the part where the great writing’s going to come out of me.”

I sat down and I wrote this thing and I turned it in. She looks at me and she hands it back and it was a D. It was a really bad grade, and she was a great teacher. She was hilarious. She looks at me and she says, “Dave, you’re going to go into physics in college, right?” I go, “Yes, ma’am.” She goes, “That’s probably a good idea.”

I’ve never said that I was this great storyteller, this great writer, but what I was was a very analytical person. I did nuclear engineering for the military. I then went into military diplomacy, and just recently, I was an international arms dealer for the US government, as well, so it’s kind of a combination of being a very numbers guy, but also understanding how markets work and how negotiation, how to talk to people, really came through.

The thing for me is that you don’t have to be good writer but you do have to understand how to market.

James Blatch: Understanding how people work, I guess, is the key to a lot of those things, including selling books. Let’s move onto what you’re joining us for today.

You think a lot about the marketing side of things, and we’ve spoken about this before and I know you’re a bit of a guru in this area.

What I like about what you’re about to tell us is it’s making sure that you’ve done the correct preparation before you’ve even created the product.

Dave Chesson: Yeah, absolutely. If you look at any business out there, no business would just decide to plant a storefront somewhere. Even McDonald’s who has one of the most renowned burgers, whether it’s a good renowned or a bad renowned, that’s left to be seen, but they don’t just decide, “Hey, we’re going to stick a store here in this city.”

They do all this research beforehand. They look at the number of traffic, the cars that go by. They look at the other competitors and whether or not those competitors are even making money in the fast food industry in that area, and then they take all that information and they choose the best spot, or they decide not to, it’s one of the options, for their next McDonald’s chain.

We, as authors, can do the same thing, but the funny thing is, most authors don’t know that they can do this, so what I believe is that by doing your research, you can either stop yourself from wasting your time, energy and money on writing a book that nobody will read, or you can make sure that you’re set up from the get go, to have a book that you know there’s going to be people who are not only looking for it, but willing to pay for it.

James Blatch: Okay, so, clue is in, Dave. How do you do this?

Dave Chesson: The cool thing about Amazon is that it gives you a lot of great information. For example, the first thing I like to tell people is that, to do your book marketing research, you need three things.

The first is, you need to know what people are typing into Amazon. What are people actually looking for?

The second thing you need to know is whether or not those people are willing to pay for that. A quick example is, somebody may type in, “How to tie a tie,” but really they’re not looking for a book. They’re not looking to pay for that type of product. They’re looking for something else.

The third thing is whether or not I can rank. If my book can get at the top, if the competition is too great.

A quick statistic is that books that rank number one for a search term, on average, get 27% of the clicks, whereas the books that rank number two only get 13%.

James Blatch: Big gap.

Dave Chesson: By having your book show up at the top, you have double the amount of people that will click, than if you were number two.

James Blatch: That’s a big gap.

Dave Chesson: Yeah, it’s huge, right? The idea for us is that, again, we just need to know that our book idea is something people are looking for, willing to pay for, and that the competition isn’t so great that we’ll never be discovered.

James Blatch: Lot’s of businesses, by the way, don’t do their market research, and then wonder why their business hasn’t worked after 12 months.

Bringing some of that philosophy from the better business into our world, and actually, I think what you’re going to tell us, is, in some ways it’s easier now than it ever has been to do this.

Dave Chesson: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Amazon is actually a search engine, just like Google, where, basically, people go to Amazon and they type in whatever they’re looking for.

The great thing about Amazon is that they do a lot of things to help us to see why they chose certain books, why they suggested certain things, and this information gives us that lead-in as authors to do the right marketing beforehand.

Let’s go ahead and jump right into the first one.

How do you figure out what people are typing into Amazon?

The first thing I suggest to people is that, if you go to the Amazon search bar and you start typing something in, Amazon automatically auto-suggests. One thing I like to tell people, though, immediately, is that when you do this, make sure that you’re using incognito mode in Chrome.

The reason being is that Amazon places a lot of cookies and they also use your profile, your account, to suggest things, so make sure that it’s an unbiased suggestion and you’re using Chrome incognito mode, which blocks all that.

A quick example, I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. If I typed in the word “star,” you better believe it’s going to say “wars,” or if I put in “s” it’s probably going to say “Star Wars,” whereas it might not say it for somebody else who typed something else in. When we go to incognito mode it completely blocks out everything and now you have the true market information.

Go into suggestions, start typing in some phrases, and see what Amazon suggests. Those suggestions are things that people in the past have bought before.

This is where Amazon is trying to say, “Hey, considering that all these people typed this one thing in, we’re thinking this is what you’re going to try to type in, too.” This will let you know that there are typing something in.

A second thing I like to do, too, is, as we discussed before, Amazon and Google are both search engines. The cool thing about Google, though, is that they’ll actually tell you not only what people are typing into Google, but how many people per month. Once I’ve got a good list of popular Amazon terms, I like to turn to Google and then see, “Hey, Google, what kind of information can you give me?”

You may find out through Google that, while 12,000 people a month type in the word, “How to write a resume,” there are 3,000 people a month that type in, “How to write a curriculum vitae,” and that’s now another idea that you can generate that Amazon might not have talked about. But Google will give you that, and you can make that connection of, “Huh, that’s not a bad keyword,” or, “That’s not a bad focus. Maybe I could be the only book that focuses on those people that use the word curriculum vitae instead of just resume or CV.”

James Blatch: They’re great hacks. We’re all familiar, because occasionally you see somebody, maybe a humorous person on social media, where if you type in, “Donald Trump is …” and then you see what the five search things have come up in Google, and for whatever reason, it’s hilarious to some people.

Dave Chesson: I’ll jump in there, though. A sad part on that is that you can actually make Google suggest things by typing things over and over again. I could go and create one of those funny skits and say, “How to …” and then I type in, “How to cheat on somebody.” “How to, really bad things.”

Then Google will say, “Oh, okay. This person has typed those in before. Let’s suggest those for this person’s search.” That’s why it’s important that when we do that for Amazon, we do the incognito mode so that our previous searches don’t affect the results.

James Blatch: Yeah. I suppose the point he’s making is that we’re aware they’re there but this is a great hack for turning that information, from a trivial little moment on social media, to something that’s going to empower your marketing strategy.

Dave Chesson: Absolutely. Let Amazon and Google give you that information so you can start to see the words that real people use every day when they’re trying to either address their pain point or look for their next fiction book.

The second thing, and this is one of the most important things, is, okay, great, Amazon. Somebody typed in the phrase, “How to write a book fast?” How many people have actually typed that in, because, let’s face it, if only five people typed that into Amazon, that’s not exactly a good book target for you. Only five people a month? You’re not going to make enough sales.

In this case, the free way of doing it is, like we talked about, using Google’s information and then trying to make that leap of saying, “Okay, well, if 6,700 people a month type that into Google, I’m sure there are enough people on Amazon typing it in. It’s more popular than this term.”

There’s a software that we have called KDP Rocket that will actually tell you how many people on Amazon do that, but I’ll go into those details later. Knowing how many people type something into Amazon is a huge benefit to a writer, so that you know how many people are potentially going to buy your book.

The next thing that we need to know is whether or not people will pay for books on that subject, like we talked about. There are a lot of people that look for ties on Amazon. Would they buy a book on ties? Probably not. When you do that search, when you have those keywords and you found, “Wow, there’s a lot of people typing this on Amazon.” “Wow, there are a lot of … Amazon thinks it’s popular.”

Go ahead and put it into the search, take your category to Kindle so it only shows the books, and then look at the books that show up on Amazon. Go ahead and click on the first one, second one and third one, and then scroll down and look at their Amazon bestseller rank.

This number is the only indication of how well that book is selling. It’s a number that ranges from one to 4.7 million. That might not do anything for you, but on, my website, we have a free calculator where you can put that Amazon bestseller rank into and it will convert it into the number of books sold per day, so you can immediately start to see that, “Hey, look, the top five books for this search term, they’re selling four to eight copies a day.” That’s a good sign.

Now you can start to figure out that these books are making money. There is a market on Amazon and they are buying these books.

Finally, the third thing, and this is the most important one, is the competition. Just because there are a lot of people buying these books doesn’t mean that you can actually be a part of that action. When we try to figure out how competitive a term is, the thing that I like to look at is that when we’re looking at the books that rank for that search term, I really don’t like to target a book or a search term that has three to four books that have an Amazon bestseller rank better than 10,000. That usually means it’s super competitive, that there’s a lot of sales, and if there’s a lot of sales, these guys are going to fight like hard to stay at the top.

The second thing that makes me a little squeamish about it, is if I see that the keyword that I typed in is in the title of just about all of them. The word “Evernote” is a great, juicy, number looking keyword, but every 4,400 books that are out there on it, have the word, “Evernote” in the title. That’s a little too competitive.

James Blatch: You’re going to be lost if you go down that road.

Dave Chesson: Most likely, yes.

The other thing that I like to look at is the authors. Let’s face it, you may be an amazing author, but if Stephen King has three books in that search term, I don’t think you’re going to beat Stephen King.

I like to do a quick Google search of the authors that show up, and see I they have a giant following, if they have a platform. Anybody who has a giant email list can quickly turn books into sales. Me, without a giant email list or famous name, I’m not going to be able to beat that person.

I take a lot of these things into account. The other things are subjective things, like looking at the covers, which we’ll get into later, but one of the biggest factors for ranking at the top is your search to click ratio, where somebody types in that keyword, finds your book, clicks on it and buys it. That is the greatest signal to Amazon that you should be near the top, if your ratio is better than other books.

What drives people to click? The book cover, a good title and subtitle, and if you can’t beat those, then how are you going to ever outrank those books?

James Blatch: Okay.

Dave Chesson: Those are the three components. People type it in, people will buy it, and the competition.

James Blatch: I think the competition one’s an interesting area, because there’s a balance here, because as you quite rightly pointed out, if nobody’s searching for it, obviously you don’t want that, and if everybody’s searching for it and it’s got lots of entries, you probably don’t want that.

Although I’m reminded of what another one of our interview guests, who talked about online courses, David Siteman Garland, said, he said, “When you’re looking around to think of an idea for your online course,” he said, “Avoid the ones that nobody else is doing. Don’t think, ‘Here’s a gap in the market.'” He said, “If you get loads of returns and loads of people are doing this course, that’s the one you want to be doing because all it tells you is that’s what people want.”

There is that school of thought. There’s a handful of bestselling authors there, it’s a hot category, as well.

Dave Chesson: Here’s the thing, though. Two things that I recommend people do when they start doing this research is, one is, try to niche the demographic, and two, work with synonyms.

For example, let’s use Evernote as one of those examples. It’s a super popular term. It’s less popular than it used to be over the past three years, but instead of writing just another one of the 4,400 Evernote books out there, why not try to choose a particular demographic that you’re going to target, such as Evernote for teachers, Evernote for students, Evernote for writers?

The reason why that’s a great strategy is because if you go to Amazon and, again, doing your research, you see that people type in, every month, “Evernote for project management,” if you type that in Amazon, you’ve got a super good chance that you’re going to stay number one because you’re the only book that truly is about that.

It’s in your title, it’s one of your keywords, but on top of that, too, if I’m a project manager and I type in Evernote and there’s a book that’s the only book that says that, you better believe I’m going to buy that one.

James Blatch: Yeah.

Dave Chesson: It’s perfect. It says my name. When you’re doing this research, try not to just, “Yeah, this is the popular one but let’s see if I can bring it another level and truly make the one for this group.” Again, we said, that’s demographics.

The next thing is, I like to work with synonyms. We talked about resumes. Instead of just writing another book on resumes, look at different ways of saying resume, curriculum vitae, CV, work portfolio, there’s all these things that people are using when they’re trying to describe this process.

Those two things there can give you a whole bunch of new ideas that might actually give you that whole in demand but low competition situation which we authors like.

James Blatch: I can completely see that. Okay, so, you have put a lot of thought into this area and you’re developing a strategy that people can follow.

How have you put this together? Have you got a course for this, Dave? Is this an ebook, or …?

Dave Chesson: No, actually, like I talked about before, we actually made software that does it all.

James Blatch: Okay.

Dave Chesson: Back in the day, I used to have to break out all these Excel sheets, and I would be recording numbers. I’d be typing in a search term, then I’d go to Google and look, and then I would go and click on all 14 of the books that show up and record their Amazon bestseller rank, and I would do some major calculations, like it’s a numbers gig, and finally I would start to figure out, “Hey, this is a good idea. This book has a lot of demand, it has low competition, I can beat it. Let’s do this.”

A little bit selfish-wise, I decided, I would love to have a program that would do all this for me so that I could do it quicker. We created this program called KDP Rocket, and it works on both Mac and PC, and the idea is, you go into it, you type in your book idea, and KDP Rocket gives you all the suggestions that Amazon would give, plus Google, all in a giant list.

Then you can go and click analyze on all of them, the ones that interest you, and it will tell you the number of competitors for that exact term, the average amount of money that the top books are making for that term, the number of people per month that type it into Google, as well as the estimated number of people per month that type it into Amazon which is one of the most super important numbers for anybody out there.

Finally, we give a competition score from one to 100 so you can actually look at all the competitors, all the books that would show up, and it gives just about every piece of information you would want to know about these so you can beat them.

James Blatch: How do you create the program? Do you know somebody who codes, or you’ve done this yourself?

Dave Chesson: Actually, I created all of the calculations inside. It was basically transferring my whole, giant green book of notes for the past four years, and I met up with the team.

When I was in Sri Lanka, there was actually a whole bunch of programmers there and I met up with this one team called Phenomenal guys, and so we actually were able to put together the software, and we did this slow rollout, because software is crazy. It requires a lot of work to verify that everything works out, and we did. It was a great experience.

Anybody who’s ever looking at starting their own software, by the way, I highly recommend you get to know the programmers before. It’s a scary world out there.

James Blatch: Yeah, definitely, and there’s a lot of people offering to do it. Okay, let’s get back to some of the stuff that’s going to be a good takeaway, I think, for people listening.

We were just getting into the clicking ratio, so return and search to click. There’s other things that are going to play a part in that decision to click there, and you mentioned cover briefly.

Is the cover something that you can explore, you can test, as well, in advance?

Dave Chesson: What we just talked about was the book idea validation process, and I just want to reaffirm to everybody, this is a very important thing to do before you start writing your book.

Because, if, say, for example, you do the research and you find out there’s no market that wants to read that book on Amazon, that doesn’t mean you can’t write it but it does mean that you can’t depend on Amazon to sell your book for you, so you’re going to have to go find people and bring them to your book.

If, in this validation process, you’ve validated, and you’re like, “Yes, there is a market. Amazon will sell my book once I write it.” That’s good.

Now let’s fast forward and say you’ve written the book. You have done your research, you’ve got your keywords, how do you actually benefit from this? This is the big question a lot of people ask me. There’s two things you got to do.

One, you’ve got to get indexed, and number two, you’ve got to increase your rankings.

Indexed, what we mean by that, is to get Amazon to acknowledge that when somebody types in that phrase, that your book should show up. Back in the day it used to be that all you had to do was select one of your seven keywords. When you go to publish, Amazon asks for, “Insert your seven keywords here.” All you had to do was just put it in there and you would show up for it.

That’s not the case anymore. As a matter of fact, the more competitive a term is, the less likely you’re actually going to show up for it even if you choose it. Some of the ways that you can do this is that once you publish your book and you select your keywords, having the keyword in your title or subtitle is a very big indicator whether or not you can show up for it.

James Blatch: Okay.

Dave Chesson: If you publish your book and you see that you didn’t show up for this keyword, you may want to think about changing your subtitle to include that keyword legitimately, and not stuffing here, and that will help Amazon to index.

Another thing that I found from a couple of case studies is that just by having your keyword in the Look Inside portion of your book, Amazon indexes that front part, and if it see it, that’s another indication, as well.

Those are some things that you can think about doing just to show up.

James Blatch: Just to reiterate, this potentially is a very important process for people with maybe a dozen books out, to go through each one of those and optimize exactly how they’re going to perform in terms of Amazon’s algorithms and keywords.

Dave Chesson: Yeah, or just making sure that you’re actually showing up for the keyword. I have a lot of people that said that, “Oh, I did the research and I changed out the keyword and I put it in there.” I was like, “Great. Did you check to make sure that your book shows up for it?” “Oh, no, no I didn’t,” and then they go back and they find out, “Wow, I don’t even show up for it.” I was like, “Well, we’re going to have to take that next step so that you show up for it, otherwise you’re not going to benefit from the keyword.”

There are people that do what they call reviving a dead book, where the sales have sucked, and then they decide to change up some of the keywords to see if that puts a little fire into the sales. Nine times out of 10 when they change that keyword, it’s not enough to actually get it to index, so something for the people out there.

Once you do have it indexed, though, it’s now time to convince Amazon that you should rank at the top. When you do this, it’s super important that you keep one phrase in your mind. “What makes Amazon more money?”

We talked about it. If, say, a thousand people a month type in, “How to write a book,” if you rank number one, on average, you can expect 27% of those people to click on your book, which is 270 people a month.

If you rank number two, it’s only 13% and that’s 130 people a month, and if you rank number six, it’s 6%, which is, sadly only 60 people per month, so being able to rank at the top is super important, but Amazon knows this. They know that right at the top is prime real estate, so the book that’s at the top is most likely to be bought. They don’t want to put the crappiest book out there, the one that nobody really cares about, or not the one that people are searching for at the top. They want the most likely book that makes them money at the top.

How do you do this? The key is, is one, is making sure that you’re trying to rank for a keyword that is the right market. I tell fiction authors all the time, I would much rather rank for space marines than for the words science fiction.

Even though there are thousands of people typing in the words science fiction, a high, high percentage of those people are not looking for my space marines book. They’re looking for all the other different types, or they don’t even know what they’re looking for that, they’re just trying to start their book buying habit.

If they type in the words space marines and they see my space marine looking cover and my really cool space marine title and description, I’ve got a really good chance that I do get the click and I get the buy. Again, it starts with making sure that you’re targeting the right kind of words that your buyers would type in.

The second thing is that making sure that, yeah, you do have a cover that truly signifies what they typed in. If somebody typed in the word “Evernote for writers,” and your cover and title doesn’t even mention writers, you’ve lost that capability to really grab a hold of that market. They’re going to second guess whether or not your book is the right book. They may just go back to typing in Evernote and just seeing what the most popular books are, but you lost it.

Finally, and this is one little hot tip that I give people, if you have people that you know are going to buy your book They’re fans or super fans. Instead of just giving them a link to your book, tell them to go to Amazon and type in whatever the phrase is, find you book, and buy it.

Because when they do that, it looks to Amazon that the person typed in “Evernote for writers,” and then they didn’t select those other books. They selected yours and then they bought it. You’ve just shown Amazon that you not only deserve to be there for the keyword but that you were the one that people were looking for when they were going to buy a book, and you’ll quickly see your rankings rise very fast.

James Blatch: That’s great, and there’s a theme, in terms of the space marine example, and also the example you gave us of, if something’s a very broad category like Evernote, then saying Evernote for project managers is what we do know about the digital space, which is, traditionally, where we are at the moment, is that niche works.

It’s the old thing about, “Show me the niches, I’ll show you the riches.” Even if it’s a big, overwhelming area. Science fiction is pretty big. If you can find that, the more you narrow down and focus your marketing over those people. It just makes sense. Your conversion rate for people who are searching space marine is going to be higher than the conversion rate for people searching on fiction or science fiction.

Dave Chesson: Absolutely, yeah. At the same time, one of the benefits that happens is that when Amazon starts to see that your book converts well, they’ll naturally start to put you in other searches that you weren’t thinking about. They’ll start to show your book off more just to see, “Hey, look at this. This book made a lot of good money, a high conversion rate for a certain phrase. Let’s see if it also does well for this, this and this,” so having a high conversion rate for something actually propagates to other things, and that’s when you start to have an exponential growth in just organic Amazon sales.

James Blatch: Okay. That’s great, Dave. We’re going to do a giveaway. I think you put together some sort of crib sheet or PDF for people to give them some top tips here.

Dave Chesson: I’ve actually got a whole checklist that you can use to be able to go through this process. I know that what we just talked about was very meaty, and a lot of steps, but we’ll have that for you guys to be able to use, and also, I’m going to give away three copies of KDP Rocket to your listeners for you guys to be able to hand out, so you guys can do that.

Like I said, I just wanted to recap with, again, this doesn’t mean that when you do the research, if your numbers don’t match with what you want, you shouldn’t write the book. Never say that. Writing is an art, but what I am saying is, is that if you do that research and you find out there isn’t a market on Amazon, that means you got to go find that market somewhere else. Be prepared for that.

James Blatch: It’s about having your eyes open, which is going to help you at the beginning. Your home is and you’re a very active, brilliantly energetic guy in this space. You do some great videos.

We’ve been very envious about your new man cave setup. Mark’s already emailed me saying, “Why doesn’t mine look like that?” I knew that would come. That’s great, Dave. You say three copies of the software?

Dave Chesson: Yes, sir.

James Blatch: Let’s do this, then. In a moment, Mark and I will give the link for you to download the checkbox, the checklist that Dave’s very kindly created for us, and of those people who sign up and download that, three of you, we’ll pick randomly, will get a free copy of the software.

Dave, thank you so much, indeed, for joining us. We will speak to you again because you’re full of good ideas and you’re a guy who can move people’s careers forward, and that’s great.

Dave Chesson: No problem, and thank you so much for having me.

James Blatch: I told you it was a nice shot.

Mark Dawson: It’s a very nice shot.

James Blatch: We’re now at the end of our recording day, here, so we’ve got a splash of color in the background, a splash of color that has now died because the batteries are so low. There’s no blue, just looking a little bit normal over there, Mark, but it was quite a motivate … I think it’s Dave, I think he said it’s his daughter who does a lot of techie stuff, so sets stuff up for him. That’s quite useful to have. You’ve got me.

Mark Dawson: I was going to say, basically what you’re saying there is a teenager is more effective than two so-called professionals.

James Blatch: All the time. It’s absolutely no question. We work in an area that’s being transformed by young people.

We cling on as we can. That’s great.

I’ve teased ahead, and as Dave mentioned, we’ve got three licenses to give away of KDP Rocket, for you to have a full go on that, his book validating process, idea validating software.

To enter the competition, to put your name forward to potentially be drawn out and get one of those three licenses, just simply go to, all lowercase. In fact, I think it’s case insensitive, aren’t they, these URLs? I don’t think it really matters, but we just say all lowercase. The PDF which I mentioned, which Dave has very kindly put together, it’s a really nicely put together PDF on validating your idea, and I’d really recommend you download this,

I told you about his energy and stuff. I really like Dave’s approach to life. That, in itself, is quite an important thing, regardless of what some people, the detail of what they’re saying to you, the way that they approach their business, their life, they organize themselves, I think that can be quite motivating.

Mark Dawson: Absolutely. I think good energy is contagious, and we’ve just had lunch.

James Blatch: Yeah, you’re feeling a little bit sleepy, now.

Mark Dawson: Postprandial, that is the new word of the day. There we go, yeah. I’m going to go have a sleep after this, I think.

James Blatch: Your afternoon nap.

Mark Dawson: I am, yes.

James Blatch: We’ve had lunch with your lovely, cuddly little boy.

Mark Dawson: Pretending to be a dinosaur most of the time.

James Blatch: He was, and good roars.

Mark Dawson: Very excited about the hand drier in the toilet.

James Blatch: He was unusually excited about hand driers, I would say.

Mark Dawson: My daughter is terrified of them.

James Blatch: Most children are, because they’re loud and noisy.

Mark Dawson: He loved it.

James Blatch: Does Samuel think the hand drier is a dinosaur?

Mark Dawson: I suppose that’s possible. Maybe some kind of air-blowing dinosaur.

James Blatch: Your wife said he’s not frightened of anything, Samuel, or very little.

Mark Dawson: He’s frightened of polar bears. He’s finding lots of things just before he goes to bed at night, which I think is an excuse to have us there with him for as long as possible.

James Blatch: Yeah, that’s how they work. I think it’s okay to be frightened by polar bears. I think, faced with a polar bear, most of us would discover that we’re frightened of polar bears.

Mark Dawson: Yes, very true.

James Blatch: I don’t know how we got onto this, but anyway, thank you very much, indeed, for joining us today. Thank you so much, indeed, to Dave Chesson, our guest.

Don’t forget those URLs, and if you’re watching the YouTube version, we’ll put something on the screen that you can click to make it easy for you to go to those sites.

Don’t forget, you can download our ebook which contains a lot of information that we’ve gone over in the podcast in the past … Really, absolutely packed ebook, and you can get that at, and we’re going to vault out of here. That sounded like a Radio 2 link.

Mark Dawson: Nice segue.

James Blatch: Thank you very much. We’ll see you next week.

Speaker 1: You’ve been listening to the Self Publishing Formula Podcast. Visit us at for more information, show notes, and links on today’s topics. You can also sign up for our free video series on using Facebook ads to grow your mailing list. If you’ve enjoyed the show, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes. We’ll see you next time.





SPF-082: BONUS! Income Report – August 2017

SPF-082: BONUS! Income Report – August 2017

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SPF-081:How Stories Work – with Jenny Parrott, Editor

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One of Mark and James’ editors, Jenny Parrott, discusses the role of the professional editor in an author’s life. Clearly as devoted to storytelling as any writer, Jenny explains some strategies authors can use to improve their stories, and why editing is such a crucial part of successful book creation.


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Five years ago, I independently published my third novel, The Black Mile. If you knew me back then, and you asked me for my opinion on the three things that an aspiring author who was looking to successfully self-publish his or her book should do, I would have said:...