There are many things you can glean from Amazon before writing to improve your book.

The Top 10 list of successful and best-selling authors provide a treasure trove of information about doing things right. Their books are successful. How did they do it?

Stalking Stalking, by definition, is not something we should do or be proud of in most cases. There are laws against it. Some people stalk to seek revenge or are resentful of a person. Others hunt to pursue intimacy with a person. Predatory stalkers are never condoned.

However, in the publishing world, successful people leave clues. They often give speeches, write articles or books, or have podcasts, vlogs, or blogs. They encourage others to be like them. Their success is to be emulated. How do we do that?

Amazon Information I clicked on, clicked on books, and then did a search for ‘suspense thrillers best sellers.’ If I write or want to write in this genre, I should know my competitors. I chose Mark Greaney’s book, ‘One Minute Out’ for my writing today. I have read several of his books and find his books enjoyable.

His book’s link is Page down on the book page, and you find several vital aspects of this book and genre that are important to know.

The first thing that shows is the number of books in that series – other books this author has written. Scroll down a bit further and a section on ‘Customers who bought this item also bought.’ This is excellent information of who the competitors are and what interest readers have. Each book has great value to glean from Amazon.

The next section below is ‘Products related to this item,’ another valuable piece of real estate in this genre. Scroll down a bit further and specific information about the author and this book is available to everyone. ‘Editorial Reviews’ are critical to gain best-seller status. Mark’s editorial reviews are just above his ‘About the Author’ section. The section ‘Product Details’ is the area I start with first for new authors.

I ensure that I am on the paperback book before I review the product details. This section allows me to see the size of the book by the number of pages (672 pages) and the physical size (4.13″ X 1.43″ X 7.56″). Many new authors select a 6″ X 9″ format for their books because others have. Some authors have told me never to choose that 6X9 format for a book because it indicates a self-published book. It is the author’s decision for the size he or she wants.

The most crucial portion of the product details is the categories. Mark is #106 in Men’s Adventure Fiction (books), #135 in Assassination Thrillers (books), and #246 in Espionage Thrillers (books). I click on ‘Men’s Adventure Fiction’ ( and find a page with the Top 100 books in that category in order of precedence.

The Top 10 books in this category are easily seen. Those Top 10 books are the basis of success in this specific category. Look at the cover art of each book. Your cover should have the same visual appeal. Emulate the best. It will change in six months. Review this section periodically as you begin writing your book. Each of these books can be explored as I did initially with Mark’s book.

I note that most of the Top 10 are Kindle books, not paperbacks. I clicked on the first paperback, David Baldacci’s ‘Daylight,’ and found that it ranked # 1 in Men’s Adventure Fiction for Kindle and #745 in the same category as a paperback. The takeaway is that I know the competition’s categories and how they rank. Other critical factors for understanding the competition include the author’s biographies, book descriptions, reviews that contain keywords.

Continue the stalking of the Top 10 authors/books by going to Google and clicking on their names. Check out their websites. is the link to David Baldacci’s website. There I could sign up to be on his email list. From that list, I can understand better how he markets his books. I see what information he sends out and at what interval. This is great information for planning a new book marketing program.

Check out the author’s social media pages. I did a quick search and found David’s FB page You can glean the type of information and how often he posts on his social media pages. There is a wealth of data that can be used to formulate a plan for a new book.


Know what your competition is doing and do the same. A former mentor, Myron Golden, told us a long time ago that the success formula for being rich and poor is simple and easy. Find out what rich people are doing and do those things. Also, find out what poor people are doing and do not do those things. It is the same philosophy. The same could be said for health and other aspects of our lives.

Writing is the easy part of becoming an author. Editing is harder. Publishing can be but should not be hard. Marketing and selling, without a lot of experience, can be overwhelming. The information to be better is available for free. Do not ignore it!

Live Longer & Enjoy Life! – Red O’Laughlin –



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