The online Merriam-Webster defines the word niche as:
This is an apt description as we explore and determine the perfect “habitat” for our books, our “organisms.” While we need and want our books available in bookstores, online, etc., creating niche markets—those unique and special places that perfectly align along the path that resonates with our readers—can be critical in creating our platforms, generating sales, getting our books read, and encouraging consumers to write reviews.
Whether you write romance or horror, science fiction or historical fiction, with a little research, you too, can create and expand your niche. Below we hear from three award-winning authors who have very successfully created and worked their niche markets. And we conclude with how I discovered and created my own niche market for books at the end of this article.
Susan Conrad spent the last two summers working with Princess Cruise Lines traveling on their voyages to Alaska, including the Inside Passage. She is part of their award-winning “North to Alaska” program on ships that exclusively sail up the Inside Passage from Puget Sound to SE Alaska. On board ship, Susan engages with hundreds of passengers on each cruise, speaking to large audiences and connecting with travelers one-on-one about her unique first-hand experience. This is Susan’s current niche, the place she and her book have captured to perfectly mesh the readers’ interest and Susan’s passion.
Susan, author of the award-winning book Inside: One Woman’s Journey Through the Inside Passage, says we must ask ourselves, “Why is my book important and who cares? It’s those ‘who cares’ answers that you’re now soliciting.”
Janet Oakley, an award-winning author of historical fiction, has written many books to her credit. Along with her mystery series, her novel Tree Soldier, set in the Great Depression in a Civilian Conservation camp, won the 2012 EPIC e-book award for historical fiction as well as the 2012 grand prize with CIBA, the Chanticleer International Book Reviews.
Janet says, “I have a Northwest niche with Tree Soldier, Timber Rose, and Mist-chi-mas: A Novel of Captivity (with its Pig War story and Hawaiians immigrants of the 19th century Pacific NW), and a Scandinavian niche in Jøssing Affair. Tree Soldier is my unexpected platform with connections to local history, parks, and the environment.”
Janet is active in talking about the legacy of the Civilian Conservation Corps in Washington State and utilizes her knowledge of history and skill in creating characters from various times to write powerful stories bringing history to life. She has created niche markets within niches!
Another excellent example of an author who is creating a niche for herself is Janet K. Shawgo, award-winning indie author for her Look for Me Series. Janet has been a nurse for over 32 years and the last 20 of those years as a travel nurse. She infuses her novels with the history of nursing and the experiences of nurses as they travel across the North and South to heal. Are nurses, as well as others, avid readers of her books? You bet they are!
When Janet wrote her last book, Archidamus, she created another clever niche.
She says, “I have been selling my books at Brushy Creek Vineyards since 2011. I received their support from the very beginning of my author career. When Archidamus was written I worked with them to support their winery in two of my books. They, in turn, had a vat of wine with no name inspiring them. I approached with the book. The owner chose “Archidamus” as the name for of the wine.” She now sells Archidamus wherever wine lovers congregate: vineyards, tasting rooms, wine bars, and, of course, book clubs!
These are great examples of thinking out-of-the traditional boxes to create a plan to promote and sell your books!
And a final example of creating a niche is my own.
It took me a while, but I realized that my historical novels, The Lavender House in Meuse and The Passage Home to Meuse, though about a women’s experience in and after WWI in France, really appeal to people that love all-things-lavender and the places where lavender is grown. This last year I began contacting lavender farms around the country and have placed my books in tens of lavender farms and shops across the United States.
They sell very well throughout the year and in the summer during the lavender festivals, I do events at local farms in the Pacific Northwest. I found a unique niche. And for the first time since starting Noble Press in 2017, I am making a profit. What put me in the black was not my Amazon or bookstore sales, but the sales from the lavender farms and shops, a niche market especially suited to my books.
HOW DO AUTHORS PROMOTE THEIR NICHE?
with Meta-Data for Authors
As you begin to envision where your book will live in the world, determine what attracts readers to your writing and why. Use this information while you create your meta-data; keywords that are used to indicate what your book is about and in what sub-categories it belongs. Meta-data information should be listed on the copyright page of your book and is critical in effective search engine optimization for buyers and retailers.
Meta-data information should be listed on the copyright page of your book and is critical in effective search engine optimization for buyers and retailers.
[Did you know that each one of Chanticleer’s reviews comes with a custom SEO package that is automatically uploaded with the review? It is true! Just another way that Chanticleer Reviews increases the digital footprint of authors.]
Use this list of meta-words to spring-board into creating niche markets unique to your book. Niche markets can evolve, expand, change and grow. And as you revise your already published books and write subsequent new books, keep in mind what you already know about attracting readers to your specific genre, topic, time period and style. The creation of niche markets is only limited by our imagination and willingness to put ourselves and our work out there.
Be daring, be bold! Go forth with confidence and find those readers who are just waiting to find your work! Gail Noble-Sanderson, Author
Next month’s article from Gail will discuss aspects of successful marketing and promotion.
Remember, “Keep falling in love with the potential of what you are doing!” – Gail
Gail Noble-Sanderson is the author of two works of historical fiction, both of which are self-published under her own Noble Press. The Lavender House in Meuse is an emotional, intriguing, and sensitive account of the crises of World War I and one woman’s journey towards recovery and growth.
Her second novel, The Passage Home to Meuse won 1st Place in the 2017 Chatelaine Awards, the Chanticleer International Book Awards (The CIBAs) for romantic fiction.
Both books are available through Amazon and Village Books.
We invite you to visit Gail’s homepage at http://gailnoblesanderson.com/ and follow her on social media.