Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Niche Markets for Authors

I've been so busy dealing with life lately, most of my writing has been about challenges. I caught myself thinking the other day how nice if I were as rich and famous as Nora Roberts or J.K. Rowling, because life would be so much easier, but you know what? I wouldn't want their challenges or burdens. They each have earned a huge slice of the publishing pie which brings with it all the associated responsibilities and commitments, but what I really want is just a tiny slice of my own making. That's where small niche markets can provide a solid career, for me or any writer.

The variables for building a writing career are as different as the people writing. For example, I am a journalist at heart and love to write tight, informative articles relevant to modern society. Topics can range from creativity to health to gardening to government. So for me, creating a business where I can use those skills would be ideal. With the many tools available to writers today, like affordable self-publishing, e-books, and everything the Internet offers in the way of marketing, there is really no reason we can't build our own niche markets.

I'd like to explore this topic of smaller publishing markets a bit more in August, and we'll start by interviewing a friend and colleague, Khadijah Lacina, who has a self-published book of poetry for children written for her own very specific niche market - Islamic Americans. She and her husband own their own publishing company and have numerous texts in print. As well, she teaches a substantial online community of women students and supporters, a ready market for her books. I promise this interview will be fresh and fascinating.

Readers, please share with us any writing ideas you have to capitalize on a special skill or interest. If you decided to write a how-to book, what would it be about? Do you have a special talent that has worked its way into your fiction? Please leave us a comment!

Dani Greer is founding member of this blog. She spends her summer days with new writing and editing projects, waters acres of gardens, and often can be seen knitting yet another pair of socks. Visit her at News From Nowhere, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. Read something similar to your post at Amazon:

    It seems that narrowing down a broad marker, e.g., YA, Sci-Fi, Romance, to a much smaller one is now necessary.
    Hope this helps.
    -Searching for a slice of the pie, too

  2. I seem to found my niche market ... old dudes who like adventure stories, live in SE Michigan, play music for a hobby, take frequent naps, root for the Tigers and drive gray, Dodge Calibers.

  3. Perhaps my reading and writing interests come from having developed a love for books in a world that didn't yet embrace the notion that we should "let it all hang out." What went on behind closed doors or in dark corners might have been implied, but it wasn't glorified in every explicit detail. Compelling stories can still be told within these confines, and my niche market will almost always be those who don't require deplorable language, graphic violence, or titillating scenes in every book they read. I believe that implication can be more interesting and revealing than graphic scenes that limit the reader's experience to the writer's description.

    This is not to suggest that I don't acknowledge the time we live in or that I write unrealistic stories that are not relevant in today's world. But my books can be read by my 12-year-old great granddaughter without my having to explain to her mother where she learned such language or acquired such information.

  4. That's actually a pretty huge niche, Linda. There are many authors today who write the kinds of books you describe (and not just in the huge Christian market) and I would challenge you to find and write about them here. ;) Christopher, now that niche is pretty narrow, but it sounds interesting and I'd love to read the book. Have you written and published it?

  5. I took journalism in high school, and I believe that's why I have so much trouble including descriptions in my books, and getting my word count up.

    As far as a niche goes, my recent one is seniors. I wrote Forever Young: Blessing or Curse and am almost through with Blessing or Curse, an anthology sequel, because I'm a Baby Boomer who would like to be younger, and suspect there's a few more out there with the same wish.

    Morgan Mandel

  6. I like Christopher's approach--a micro-niche market.

  7. Patricia, you have a pretty good niche in your books. Feel free to share how you narrowed your topic. Maybe visit us for a guest post?

  8. I wasn't thinking "niche" when I began the China Bayles mystery series back in 1992. I don't think anybody thought "niche" that early. But then the Herb Companion magazine reviewed the first book, and an herb/garden club invited me to give a talk. It didn't take long for me to learn what "niche" meant and how it helped book sales, and I've been grateful ever since.

  9. The longer I've been writing and being published, the more my thoughts have changed on this. I, too, originally wanted to be "rich and famous." But a funny thing happened on the way to the book store . . . Now I am just grateful for my audience! Nice post, Dani.

  10. Thanks for the terrific comments, all of you. I'd say your publisher definitely figured out niche novels, Susan!

  11. Hahaha enjoyed this post. While a niche market is fine and well, it remains a mystery to some of us just how to isolate our supporters. I'll write for anyone who cares to read. However, how to find them....


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