Explore your genre from the reader’s perspective.

Before you’re ready to get your book into the hands of Apple Books readers around the world — and even before you start writing — take the time to understand your audience’s experience.

Ask yourself some questions that will help you identify with your reader, and consider your reader’s experience when they first hear about a book. Where do they first learn about your book? On social media? On a blog? When browsing Apple Books? What do they see when they first arrive in the Book Store? Think about the reader’s experience when they’re browsing for a book to buy. Where do they go to find your book? How does your book appear in context of all the other books they see? These are all valuable exercises and can help you better understand the work it takes to grow book sales.

Read books in your genre

Great writers are usually great readers. There’s no better way to understand your audience than to read what they’re reading. Genre trends can come and go quickly and it can be helpful for you to know what’s popular, either as you’re writing or as you’re considering how to market and position your book when you’re getting ready to publish.

Get to know your genre

Navigate to the Apple Books genre page for your book. Check out the Top Charts in that genre. These books are worth paying particular attention to because they represent what’s currently resonating with Apple Books readers. You may notice some consistency in the covers — elements like photography or illustrations, typography, moods, and tone — that may serve as guidance or inspiration as you’re considering your own cover. Or if you already have a cover, consider how your cover will look sitting next to the others. How will you make yours stand out for customers?

Get familiar with the Apple Books app

Familiarize yourself with the Apple Books app. Check out how the app is organized and understand the various features and functionality. Tap on the Book Store tab and take some time to get to know what’s featured and where. In which sections of the store are the books you like to read? Come back to the store each week and see what changes as Apple Books editors make new selections. The main page of the Book Store generally consists of featured collections, new and popular releases, top charts, and genres.

Become familiar with Apple Books product pages

Try visiting several product pages for books in your category and others. Read through the description copy (identified as “Publisher Description”) on several different books. Don’t underestimate the importance of these descriptions — they often make the difference in whether a customer purchases your book or moves on. Consider the massive effort and budgets that film production studios invest in a movie’s trailer — all to sell the audience on the movie itself. Your book’s product page, including your book’s cover and Publisher Description, serve the same purpose as a movie’s trailer: they’re your chance to convince new readers why your book is worth their time and investment.

Review books on Top Charts

Getting to know characteristics of books that are selling well can provide guidance in a lot of areas. There may be a trend you should notice. Take a look at the length of the top-performing books on Apple Books Top Charts. Review the lengths of serialized books or novella-length books, for example. Take note of the price points. You’ll often notice a mix of books on promotion as well as regularly priced titles. Both can be instructive.

When it comes to building book sales, it pays to do research.