Let’s say you want to write. You want to write fiction. Oh, heck, let’s make it a series of books. So what then? Just how specific are you when you define what you want to write … or what you have written? One of the biggest reasons some authors succeed beyond the wildest dreams of less successful writers is that they’ve found a niche: a specific, clear, definable, eager fan-base of readers. It can appear as if those authors “fell into” a waiting audience with a series of books that just happens to be a niche that needed filling. Or that there was NO such audience until they created the Clan of the Cave Bears series (Jean Auel) or the Warriors series (Erin Hunter) or the Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling) or the Outlander series (Diana Gabaldon). Not true. There are groups of readers out there waiting for books that fit very specific needs. The question for you, the author, is this:
- Do you want to find a niche and fill it?
- Or do you want to write in your preferred niche and then find the audience?
Both approaches are feasible! But both come with work attached (well, hey, nothing comes easy!) What the writer needs to do to succeed is recognize either the niche they ARE writing in or find one they WANT to write in or HAVE written in. In any case, this requires one important thing: Understand niche genres. For instance, Diana Gabaldon’s books span several areas: they are set at the end of World War II, England, include time travel, and are rich in romance as well as all-too-human character traits. Take a look at the stats for her flagship book, Outlander and you’ll see that in Amazon’s Best Sellers Ranking for Kindle eBooks that single book of hers is listed as #2 bestseller in Historical Fiction/Fantasy; as #2 also in Romance/Time Travel; and as #3 in Fantasy/Historical. Her niche actually spans several areas, but her focus is clear and specific: 1940’s woman seeks love in both her time and other times. She is NOT #2 in Romance or in Historical Fiction. But she IS rated highly for the sub-categories of those broader genres. If you have written a book that you just classify as Fantasy, you have a huge slug of competition out there for your readership. But, narrowing it down to Fantasy/Historical and then having keywords like “England” or “World War II” in the description, you will have narrowed to a smaller but very specific group of eager readers. If you haven’t written or finished your book yet , consider this:
- What do you like to read and to write? List your favorite books and authors. (Or what have you already written?)
- Look at those books on Amazon and see which categories they fit into and how they rank in those categories.
- What aspects of those books are you comfortable writing yourself?
- In what ways would yours be different, like maybe you prefer writing in the 1800s era and in the pioneer U.S. Now look for books set in that era or locale.
- Hone in on book categories where there are fewer books listed but with a wide audience.
- Read those books and see how yours can/will satisfy that same readership.
If you have already written you book:
- Do the same basic research as above but looking at YOUR book.
- Is it in broad categories? What sub-categories could it also be listed in?
- Could it also fit other categories and their subcategories?
- Then be certain that you have sub-categorized your book within all those very specific listings on Amazon and on any other sales/retail outlet that you have.
In the end, you should find a niche genre that fits BOTH you as a writer AND that appeals to a specific group of readers. It is that connection between you and the reader, a love you both have for the same era or locale or genre or tone (hopefully ALL of these!) that will give you a running start toward the success you desire–and deserve–as a writer! Need help defining your book or writing it? You can see more about my services at BristolServicesIntl.com. Or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a comment below. Let’s talk about YOUR book.