Training #302 – Hot Seats & Ask Us Anything (research edition)

In this training, we covered a lot of topics that involved researching various books niches, through our hot seats for an anonymous member looking for books on “Opposites”, Jamie Murphy's non-fiction health book from the 90s, Wendy Beth Watson's cat poetry, Bethany Niccum's children's book, and Lee Abbott looking for information on the Real Estate niche.

We also answered questions from Pamela Cotton, Phillips Williams, Karen Fredericks, Debbie Di Vetta, Conrad Deas, and Fred Fichman.

We covered topics including basic niche research, specifically looking for books about opposites for children, printing costs of black & white vs color, paperback vs board book printing, mixing color and black & white pages in your book, print on demand constraints, the benefits of different Print on Demand printing companies, what the “Sponsored” tag means in Amazon's book listings, basics of how Amazon Advertising works, republishing old traditionally published books, scanning old books into digital formats using OCR (optical character recognition), branding yourself with your book, choosing a proper title and subtitle for your book, basic niche research (such as cat poetry selling better in print as a giftable item than as a Kindle version), branding your books so readers can tell that they are related, translating poems and whether the translation needs to rhyme, copyright concerns of photographing toys to use as illustrations in your book, the number of pages versus the number of pieces of paper in a book, using the research rocket to short-circuit the research process (with a demonstration in the real estate niche), and finding the Kindle bestsellers link with all of the categories listed.

We had a lot of interaction during this training and didn't have time to get to every question, so I've answered a number of them below that we couldn't get to on the live training.

I wrote my Deception Protocol Simplified and converted it in Kindle as as ePub, what do I do now. And how do I start making money?

Robert Solleveld

You can upload your ePub file direct to Amazon and they will convert it into a mobi file. We have video training in all of our members areas on how to upload your files to KDP and start selling them.


On Fiverr, what is the difference between a Level 1 and level 2 provider?

Bonnie Heidbrak

There are 4 levels of Fiverr seller, and each level has a list of requirements to move to the next level, and a list of benefits once you've reached that level. You can see the details here:

Basically, from our perspective, a level 2 seller has earned more money and completed more orders, and has more options they can offer in their gigs to us.


My husband had a question: Do you need to have a Prime Membership in order to publish to Kindle?

Linda J Melnick

No. Completely unrelated other than that you login using an Amazon account. You can signup for your KDP account here:


I'm having issues putting a drawing at the top of every chapter in my kid's book. Like you do for Ninja Farts. I've followed the tutorial and it's not consistent. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. Should I use a Kindle Create or kid version to format?

Ann Pashak

If you want your book to look consistent from chapter to chapter, you'll need to have a consistent image size for each of your images. They should all have the same width and height.

If you are creating a book that is the same format as Jay's books, then you'll want to use the Book Formatting Rocket to create your book, and not the Kindle Kids Book Creator. It's designed to work specifically with books like that, and we're actually in the process of adding a new feature that will make that easier. Not sure when it'll be ready but hopefully next week. 🙂


Why use pen names?

Selwyn Lang

A pen name is useful for many reasons and circumstances; a quick list off of the top of my head includes:

  1. You are in a profession where your books could be a liability (you are a priest and write erotica, you loosely base characters off of co-workers in a less than flattering light, etc.)
  2. You write in multiple genres and want to help Amazon's algorithms promote your books to the correct audience. (We've taken them down, but Jay's business books were under his own name, and his children's books are under a pen name.)
  3. You want some privacy and don't necessarily want to be associated with your books for some reason.
  4. Your name is difficult to say or spell and you want to make it easier for people to find you when searching for your books.
  5. You want a name on your book that “belongs” in your genre based on gender, ethnicity, or because it evokes a specific emotion.

We have a lot of trainings on pen names and pseudonyms, here's a search that returns a few:


Is it a good idea to have your children's Basic Skills books translated in Spanish? If so, is it best to put both translations in one book or separate version for each language?

Selwyn Lang

That's up to you; do some research into your genre or niche and see what's already there. It's certainly possible to include a dual-translation book, but in general I would probably lean towards having separate books in different languages unless the book is specifically about working with dual languages.


If I want to change the pricing of a book on Amazon from $2.99 to free for a month at least to boost interest.

Jane Buttery

If you are in KDP Select, your book needs to be exclusive to Amazon, but it allows you to make your book free for up to 5 days per 90-day enrollment period. Amazon doesn't officially offer any other options for making your book free.

That said, if your book is distributed in other marketplaces, you can set it free there and hope that Amazon will price match. There's no guarantee that they will, but if and when they do then that's the only way to get your book to be “permafree” for a month or more. You can request that they price match with the KDP Support, and you can ask some readers to report the cheaper (free) price at the other stores on your listings, but your mileage will vary.


Re: Printing: What about hard cover books? Or Board books?

Karen Fredericks

For Print on Demand, you can print hard cover books at Ingram Spark (and at a few other printers, but I'd recommend IS) since KDP Print does not offer that.

We have a full training in the Book Ninja Academy on the Apex Authors site about creating Board Books, which is included in the Print tab in the Children's Book Formula members area as well. That includes some options for where you can get your board books printed, though at least to my knowledge there are no printers that will do it on demand so you'll have to invest in some inventory up front.

I recommend watching training #288 which addresses pretty much anything you'd want to know about physically printing books:


If you have a successful book should you publish in different languages?

Brad Hoffman

If you are just starting out, then no. If you have a large back catalog, or are doing incredibly well with that one book (quit-your-day-job type income), or are bi-lingual, or get approached by somebody with offer to license foreign translation rights, then maybe.

That's a big question and would actually be a pretty good topic for a dedicated training. I'll see if I can find somebody that has had some success with foreign translations to come on for a training.


What do you mean by an back catalog?

Molly Mcintyre-Libby

A back catalog refers to previously published books. So, if Jay comes out with a new book, and we run a book launch and a promotion, not only will the new book do well, but his back catalog of previously published books will probably sell better as well as the people we reach promoting the new book might also be introduced to his older books.

When advertising, it's a lot easier to have a positive return on investment if you have a back catalog, especially if you have a series of books and know how many people that buy the first book tend to go on to read the other books in the series.


Is there any training on how to get reviews?

Karen Fredericks

We have some training in all of our membership areas. Here are some pages on Apex Authors about that: