Happy Weekend, WG2E-Land!
(D. D. here)…I talk a lot about how I’ve used Niche Markets to increase my reader bases. But what is a Niche Market? How do you find them? How can they boost your audience/readership?
Here’s WG2E Guest Victoria Noe to give you all the answers…
“Who’s your audience?”
It’s tempting to say “everyone”. After all, who wouldn’t want a potential paying audience of 6 billion people?
But let’s be honest here: if people can disagree about ice cream flavors, we can’t expect them to agree on any one book, not even yours.
I write nonfiction, mostly about a situation that’s universal: grieving the death of a friend. But that doesn’t mean that it will find itself an audience on its own, or that everyone will want a copy. I’m publishing the first two books in the Friend Grief series this month. Series? That was a niche marketing decision.
Originally, I was writing a full-length book. But after a couple dozen agents lamented that they didn’t know how to market it, I decided to publish myself. Once I did, I decided to break down the book into six smaller (around 10,000 words) books. Each addresses a specific situation or constituency, and what makes their grief for their friends unique:
Community (friends who live and work together, like firefighters, military and nuns)
Workplace (including actors, TV news people, police and nurses)
Lasting memorials to friends (how people memorialize friends and re-focus their lives)
The first and last books overlap the groups identified in the other four.
How did I break these down? Honestly, the first one came out of my blog: my posts about anger after the death of a friend really generated a lot of strong response, on and offline. I hadn’t specifically addressed anger in any of my work before, but I knew it was too important to ignore. So, it became the first book. The others were simply re-arranged from the research and writing I’d already done.
I believed opening with a broad topic would draw in different groups of people (we’ll find out soon if I was right). Not all of those readers will be interested in the other books, but they will have read this one because it speaks to what they’re going through.
And that’s been my thinking with the series: you may not have been willing to spend whatever on a full-length book about grieving a friend, but if you lost 80 or 90 friends to AIDS, you might be interested in the second book of the series.
Okay, now I’ve decided to write about specific groups of people. How do I reach them?
That, gentle readers, is an ongoing task. It doesn’t end when the books come out, or six months later. We are business owners and there’s not a successful business anywhere that can afford to stop trying to find new customers.
So, WG2E readers: have you ever gotten a comment on your blog or an email from someone who was very excited to have found you and your books, long after their publication? Something we all forget at times is that our audience of readers isn’t static: it’s forever changing and being born anew.
I interviewed a man who was probably 40 before he experienced the death of anyone close to him: his best friend. The emotions brought him to his knees. Before that happened, he would’ve had no use for any of my books. But now…
Even if you’re writing fiction, there is more than one audience for your books. Obviously, there are fans of your genre. But there are also readers who like your novel’s time period or geographical setting, who live in your area, went to your school…you get the idea. All of those groups are niche markets.
Maybe you’re writing a memoir. What are the situations faced in your memoir: addictions, illnesses, religious differences, parenting, caregiving? There are audiences out there interested in every one of those things. There are organizations with blogs and conferences and gift shops that make terrific partners.
But where can you find them?
Well, first of all, Google is your friend. So are the public library, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I began building my platform on Twitter, where I found a huge community of hospices, grief support groups and AIDS organizations. And though my audience is not largely made up of medical professionals, those contacts led me to make a presentation at an international conference for those who work in hospice and palliative care. My topic: how I built a community for my blog, the only one on the internet focused on people grieving the death of a friend (and now one of the top 20 grief support websites). And it gave me access to the people they serve, which was my goal.
Once I found bloggers and organizations in my niche markets I began to contact them. Would you like to guest blog for me? Can I speak at your meeting? Would you list my blog and/or books on the resource page of your website? Can I review your book? Always look for ways to build a long-term relationship, one that is beneficial to you both.
If you’re not already using it, I recommend Google Alerts. They’ve led me to sources for my blog and my books – people, organizations, events – saving me a lot of research time.
But in the end, the single most important thing I’ve done in identifying niche markets is…ask for help. Ask everyone – friends, family, readers – if they can refer you to someone who can help you (or will like what you’ve written). Some of my best interviews have come from referrals. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish when you enlist others (not just other authors) to advocate for you (though I’m still looking for someone who can put me in a room alone with Hugh Jackman).
So, WG2E World: Have you identified your niche markets? And if you have, how successful have you been in tapping into those markets?
~~~ Victoria Noe
Victoria Noe is writing her Friend Grief series to fulfill a promise she made to a friend who was dying. The first book, Friend Grief and Anger: When Your Friend Dies and No One Gives a Damn, will be released in January, 2013. She also reviews books on BroadwayWorld.com.
She’d be very happy if you follow her online at:
Blog: Friend Grief
Google+: Victoria Noe
Pinterest: Victoria Noe