5 Crucial Steps to Perform a Stellar Fiction Book Market Analysis

Apr 15, 2023 | Publishing

Fiction books have been a staple of literature for centuries, and they continue to be an integral part of the publishing industry today. According to the Business Research Company, “the global fiction books market size will grow from $10.48 billion in 2022 to $10.67 billion in 2023.” While the publishing industry itself has undergone significant changes over the years, one thing remains constant—the importance of fiction book market analysis.

The Importance of Fiction Book Market Analysis in Self-Publishing

Market analysis is the process of examining a specific market to identify trends, opportunities, and challenges. In the case of the fiction book market analysis, it involves analyzing data and trends in book sales, reader preferences, and publishing trends. This can help you, as an author, make informed decisions about what books to publish, how to market them, and how to sell them. Do this ideally before writing your manuscript to save valuable time, effort, and money later on. Although market research is one of the most important steps in creating a bestselling book, it’s a step most authors skip, often because they don’t know how to do it. By examining sales data, reader preferences, and publishing trends, you can gain valuable insights that can inform your publishing decisions.

Using Your Fiction Book Market Analysis with Traditional Publishing

An agent or a publisher who receives a query or proposal for a book with no discernable market, or a market that appears too small, likely will send a rejection to that author—even if the idea is a good one or the writer is skilled in his or her craft. Small publishing houses might be willing to take a risk on a book with a small or niche market—if some other factors are in place such as a strong author platform and promotion plan. Additionally, an analysis of competing books must indicate that your proposed book might meet or exceed their sales figures. Mid-sized and larger publishers will be less inclined to even consider a project that has no market or a small niche market. Knowing this, if you want to have your book traditionally published, you will need to look at your market statistics and make an objective determination about what type of publisher to approach.

5 Actionable Steps to Perform a Fiction Book Market Analysis

In this blog post, I’ll discuss 5 steps you can take to perform a stellar fiction book market analysis. I’ll dive deep into each of these steps and explore why they’re crucial to the success of your book.

Step 1: Define Your Target Market

The first step in performing a market analysis is to define your target market. Are you targeting a specific genre or age group? Are you interested in a specific format, such as e-books or audiobooks? Once you have a clear understanding of your target market, you can begin to gather data that is relevant to your analysis.

  • Identify the genre of your book. The genre of your book plays a significant role in determining your target market. Are you writing a romance novel or a sci-fi book? Each genre has a unique audience, which can help determine your target market.
  • Determine the age group of your ideal reader. Age is another crucial factor in defining your target market. Is your book written for young adults or middle-aged people? Knowing your ideal reader’s age can guide your use of themes, language, and overall tone.
  • Consider the interests and preferences of your target market. What do they enjoy reading and what are their favorite topics? This can help you tailor your writing style and plot to appeal to their interests.
  • Look at the demographics of your target market. Gender, location, education level, and income can help narrow your market further.
  • Conduct market research. This can provide you with valuable insights into your target market. You can do this by talking to potential readers, conducting surveys, or analyzing data from book review sites and social media platforms. Read reviews of the top books in your market to find out what readers love and what they complain about.

Step 2: Research Industry Trends

The next step is to research industry trends by using a variety of sources to gather data, including industry reports, market research firms, and trade publications. Look for trends in book sales, reader preferences, and publishing trends. This will help you identify what genres, themes, and authors are currently popular and what trends are likely to continue in the future.

  • Subscribe to industry publications. Publications, such as Publishers Weekly and The Bookseller, provide insights into publishing trends and fiction market developments. You can stay up-to-date with the latest industry news.
  • Follow literary agents and publishers on social media or subscribe to their newsletters. Whether you plan to publish traditionally or self-publish, this can provide you with valuable insights into the types of books that are currently popular.
  • Analyze best-seller lists, such as the New York Times Best Sellers list and Amazon’s Best Sellers list. This will show you what readers are currently buying and help you identify those popular genres, themes, and writing styles.
  • Use social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to discover information about fiction industry trends. Follow popular authors, literary agents, publishers, and influencers to stay informed.
  • Attend industry events such as book fairs and writing conferences to network with other authors, literary agents, and publishers. Attending these events can also provide you with insights into current trends and help you make valuable connections.

Step 3: Analyze Sales Data

One of the most important sources of data for fiction book market analysis is sales data. This can include data on sales by genre, format, and author. You can gather this data from a variety of sources, including online book retailers (Amazon), brick-and-mortar bookstores, and industry reports. By analyzing this data, you can identify which genres and authors are selling well and which ones are not.

  • Gather sales data The first step in analyzing sales data is to gather the necessary information. This includes sales figures, sales channels, and sales periods. You can obtain this data from book publishers, distributors, and online retailers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
  • Identify trends Once you have the sales data gathered, look for patterns in the data, such as spikes and dips in sales, and try to understand the reasons behind them. For example, if a specific type of book sells more copies during a holiday season, you may want to focus your marketing efforts on that period.
  • Understand reader preferences: Look for patterns in the types of books that are selling well, the genres that are popular, and the themes that resonate with readers. This can help you with marketing and content.
  • Identify potential marketing opportunities: Look for sales channels or regions where similar books are performing well and consider increasing your market efforts there.

Step 4: Identify Your Competition

Another important aspect of market analysis is identifying your competition. Look at what other books are being published in your target genre or category, and examine their sales data and marketing strategies. This will help you understand what you are up against and what you should do to differentiate yourself from the competition.

  • Identify your competitors: Look for authors who are writing in the same genre or targeting a similar audience as your potential book. You can find them by researching book publishers, literary agents, and online retailers, like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
  • Analyze their books: Once you have identified these other authors, read their books to get a sense of their writing style, themes, and characters. Pay attention to the cover design, blurb, and any reviews to understand their marketing strategy.
  • Review their marketing strategy: Understand how they are promoting their books. Look for patterns in their social media presence, advertising, or even book tours. Identify their marketing strengths and weaknesses. Identify their unique selling proposition (USP): Understand how they are differentiating themselves from others in the market.
  • Look at their sales figures: See how well they are performing in the market. Look for patterns, such as seasonal spikes. By looking at Amazon’s Sales Ranking of any physical book or e-book, you can determine how many books the author has sold and how much royalties they are earning with TCK Publishing’s Amazon Book Sales Calculator.
  • Learn from their success and failures. Identify what they are doing well and try to replicate it. Likewise, avoid repeating their mistakes.

Step 5: Evaluate Your Marketing Strategies

Finally, if you have published other books, it’s important to evaluate your own marketing strategies. Look at what marketing tactics you may have used to promote previous books and examine their effectiveness. Did you reach your target audience? Did your marketing efforts drive sales? By analyzing your past marketing strategy, you can identify what works and what doesn’t, make data-driven decisions, and optimize your efforts to increase your success with your next book.

In conclusion, fiction book market analysis is essential for anyone involved in writing a successful fiction book. It helps authors identify new opportunities, and make informed decisions about which books to publish, how to market them, and how to sell them. Without market analysis, it would be difficult to develop successful books and navigate the constantly changing publishing industry. Remember, it is an ongoing process that is useful in both self-publishing and pitching your manuscript to a traditional publisher. Therefore, taking the time to analyze the market before writing can save you time, money, and effort in the long run.


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