My good friend, marketing coach, Stephanie Ward of Firefly Coaching is always going on at me about the importance of having a niche. When, last year, I finally gave in and decided to focus on one area – helping expats to write books – I watched my turnover go up and up and up. It is now four times what it was this time last year and I put that all down to Stephanie.
When it comes to publishing, the same applies. If you read The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, he explains why writing for a targetable niche is vital if you want to create a book that is a steady seller rather than a flash in the pan.
In the great book, The Wealthy Author, by Debbie Jenkins and Joe Gregory, they explain how to write and publish just such a book. One of the things they suggest you do to check that your idea has a niche is to see how many magazines are out there devoted to that niche. Find more than three and you have a niche.
The great thing about writing for a niche is that you can create a database of websites, publications, organisations, bookshops and so on that serve that target market and then focus on getting editorial, advertisements and so on in those places and then – and here is the best bit – you can continue to create new products for that same market and keep on marketing them to the same contact list. Any marketing professional will agree that it pays, if, once you have a new customer, that you keep on selling to the same customer. The more products you have in your niche, the more you sell and the more profit you make. The more books you write on one subject then the more likely it is that you will be seen to be an expert in that area.
Let me give you some examples of three authors who know all about the value of the niche and the series:
Peter Kaye is a medical doctor and he specialises in palliative care. He writes books for people who work with, care for, or are related to the terminally ill. This is his niche. He built a database of hospices, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals and sells his books to this same list. A quick look on Amazon showed that his books include: Notes on Symptom Control in Hospice and Palliative Care, A-Z Pocketbook of Symptom Control, Breaking Bad News – A Ten Step Approach, and many more.
Robin Pascoe writes about expatriate life and her many years spent overseas, combined with her training as a CBC journalist, have made her an ‘expat expert’. Her titles include: Homeward Bound, A Moveable Marriage, Raising Global Nomads and A Broad Abroad. Her books are aimed for people living overseas and so she markets them through her excellent blog, writing articles, speaking at conferences and travelling the world speaking to international schools and clubs.
David Hampshire writes for Survival Books, and this company produces books for those who want to live, work or buy property overseas. His titles include: Buying or Renting a Home in Switzerland, Buying a Home in France and Living and Working in America. He has a defined niche and defined market. One look at his website and you will see an impressive number of series of publication, many written by David.
I have just given you three examples, but there are many more.
Does your book have a niche? Could it become part of a series?
All the latest news, views, and writing tips from Jo Parfitt and the team at Summertime Publishing