Publisher Rocket is a popular book marketing tool for Amazon self-publishing authors.
Essentially, it is a software program that gives authors access to the Amazon book database.
It helps take a lot of the guesswork out of finding searchable Amazon KDP keywords and categories.
But it’s not free, so is it fair value for money for new authors?
What can it do?
Publisher Rocket has four vital tools to help authors make their books more discoverable to book buyers on Amazon.
1. Keyword research
The keyword tool helps find short phrases that Amazon shoppers use to find new books. The tool gives data on the number of searches per month and how much competition there is for a phrase.
2. Category research
When you publish a book, you can only choose from the list of BISAC Amazon categories (genres). But there are thousands of hidden categories. With Publisher Rocket, you can access long lists of these categories to list a book in up to ten less competitive categories.
3. Competition analysis
You can search for books similar to yours and check the listed categories, price, daily and monthly sales, days since publishing, and bestseller rank.
4. AMS Keyword Search
If you pay for Amazon advertising, this tool helps you find keywords and phrases to use with your advertising campaigns.
All of these tools also come with helpful tutorials.
How well does it perform?
I have to start by saying that I have used the program for many years.
So many that it was called KDP Rocket back then.
By luck, I still have a research screenshot to prove it.
Despite the name change and upgrades over the years, there have been three constants.
One is that the program is fast, responsive, and loads lots of data very quickly.
The second is that it’s super easy to use.
Yes, there are tutorials if you need help.
But the program is so intuitive you can start your research immediately.
The other is that new improvements arrive regularly with automatic updates.
Of course, I started using the program for my books.
But over the years, I’ve found many other uses, including data research, for some of my self-publishing articles.
Here’s an example looking at how many sales to reach number one on Amazon for specific niche book categories.
If you are into book data, Publisher Rocket is one of the only ways I know of to dig deep and discover what’s going on with Amazon books, ebooks, and audiobooks.
Many new authors rush into publishing on Amazon without realizing the importance of keyword and category selection.
When they get to this part of publishing a book or ebook with KDP, they make guesses, quickly fill in the boxes, and hurridly select two categories.
Rushing this part means that a book will be competing with millions of others because it lacks discoverability.
The only way to make a book more discoverable to Amazon book buyers is to find seven search terms that buyers (really) use and to add more categories.
You can only select two at the time of publishing, but you can add up to ten categories when your book is published.
With Publisher Rocket, a new author can take out the guesswork and work with real data.
I can’t fit the long list of suggestions into the image above. The program returned hundreds of keyword ideas for this one query.
You can see that each suggestion comes with data to help you decide on the best choices. Ideally, you are looking for high monthly searches with a low competitive score.
Now let’s look at categories.
Again, the list of hundreds of category suggestions is too long to fit into the image.
Unfortunately, there is no total count for returned queries. Hopefully, that might come in future updates.
However, by scrolling through the list, you can easily find better and less competitive categories for your book.
You can use two when you publish and add more as soon as your book is available on Amazon.
Updates are always free
One great feature of Publisher Rocket is that you get all new updates for free with your purchase.
Here’s an excellent example of a new feature.
The latest addition is the history of category insights and data.
Here is a quick look at the new feature.
It brings a lot of data together to make selecting the best category for your book much easier.
Number of Sales Needed to #1 and #10
Kindle Unlimited vs. Large Publisher
Average Page Count
A Graph of Top 30 Bestsellers
See Related Categories
Unique Category Insights
But if you already have Publisher Rocket, this new feature will be available the next time you use the app.
Is it good value for money?
The price of Publisher Rocket is $97.00, so it depends.
On average, a self-publishing author on Amazon KDP earns somewhere between $1.50 to $3.00 per ebook sale and perhaps a little more for print book sales.
For Kindle Unlimited page reads, an average is about $1.45 for a full read.
So as a rough calculation, the program will need to help you generate 30 to 40 extra sales to recoup the cost.
If you only plan on publishing one book, it’s line ball. But if you have a few titles, it certainly offers good value for the price that you only pay once.
I’ve been using the program for more than five years now, so I can only say that it’s been excellent long-term value for me.
As a comparison, I use other premium tools and services I have to pay for with annual subscriptions. Some of them have added up to hundreds of dollars of expenses or even more over the years.
On that count alone, yes, it’s good value. Pay once, and that’s it.
Are there alternatives to Publisher Rocket?
The only direct competitor is KDSpy. It works via a browser extension when you access the Amazon site.
It offers similar features for keywords and categories, but because it’s a browser extension, it has some limitations.
For instance, it’s not compatible with Safari and Microsoft Edge and doesn’t offer data on monthly search volume.
As far as the price is concerned, it is the same at $97.00. But it runs frequent discounting. So you can often buy it for less.
There are a few free alternatives. The best I have tried is Sonar, but it only helps with generalized keyword phrase suggestions.
The Pros and Cons of Publisher Rocket
Here are some of the main advantages and disadvantages you should consider before you buy Publisher Rocket.
⇑ Full access to data for Amazon books, ebooks, and audiobooks.
⇑ Very easy to learn how to use for keyword and category research.
⇑ Can find many hidden categories.
⇑ Data for search volume per month.
⇑ One-time payment, not an annual subscription.
⇑ Free lifetime updates.
⇓ No free trial version. (Only a 30-day refund).
⇓ Extra clicks are required to load complete keyword data.
⇓ No total count for returned queries.
⇓ Data is only available from Amazon US, UK, and DE.
⇓ No Linux version. PC and macOS only.
Publisher Rocket is a valuable tool for book marketing research. But it won’t magically help sell a poor book.
KDP keyword and category research and selection is a vital element of successful publishing, but it is only one part.
You still need to tell your story very well, have an eye-catching book cover, get book reviews, and promote your book as much as you can.
It’s not a tool or solution that will make your book an instant bestseller.
But it can certainly help position your book better and make it far more discoverable to readers on Amazon Stores.
In that respect, it can help you gain more book sales.
Should you have or plan to self-publish more than one title, I can highly recommend Publisher Rocket.
However, as I said earlier, it’s a line ball decision if you only have one title.
But at the same time, being able to research and select better-performing keywords and more categories can only help.