As more authors grace the industry with their presence it can become difficult for an author to stand out. It is especially difficult for writers who write in niche markets. Believe me I know. My primary genre is mystery and suspense, which is one of the biggest selling genres, but my novels are also interracial. Interracial books sell well but they do not receive mainstream attention, and the interracial market is extremely limited compared to books in other markets.
Don’t worry. I’m here to help. Well, at least I wanna try to help. I’m not trying to give you advice on how to sell more books, but how to reach your audience. Selling books is a matter of hard work and a whole bunch of luck. Heck, sometimes you don’t even need to put in the hard work if you’re lucky for your book to take off right out the gate. The average author isn’t so lucky and will have to put in some minimum work to get the word out.
Below are some tips that can lead you to your target audience:
Target Facebook Groups
Wait a minute. I know you’re saying, “And what’s so new about that tip? I’m already busting my chops on Facebook.” Yes but are you busting your chops the right way? When I say Facebook groups, I don’t mean book groups, reading groups, or book clubs. No. I mean Facebook groups geared toward the subject of your book. I am talking about regular groups targeted to those with an interest in what you write. For example, there are many interracial dating groups on Facebook. Many of these groups are geared toward black women and white men couples, which is the interracial pairing I write about the most. I’ve been a valid member of many of these groups. I didn’t join just to sell books but because of the common interest I had with these people. The key is to become a part of the group, and not just promote your books. You don’t have to go to a book group or reading group to find readers. Readers are everywhere and if you write in a niche market, you have to be creative to get in touch with your audience.
Establish Your Niche as Your Brand
Do you write multicultural stories that take place in Southeast Asia? Do you write gay and lesbian books for the urban crowd? Do you write lesbian Chick Lit? Establishing your brand as an author is important anyway, but it’s a must if you write in a niche market. In order to stand out you need to make yourself look like an expert. Your niche needs to become your brand, and you need to make sure that wherever you go as an author, that niche follows along with you. Say you write gay and lesbian street lit books. The normal street lit crowd most likely aren’t interested in them, and the gay and lesbian crowd most likely won’t want to read street lit. You must get creative because your work doesn’t fit anywhere. You have to create a place for your niche to fit. Start a blog geared toward nothing but gay and lesbian issues in the urban community. Write articles geared toward the gay and lesbian street crowd. Start an Internet radio show where you discuss how being gay fits into the street community. No matter what you do and where you go, you need to become the poster child for what you write. Niche authors do not have a choice.
Write for Online Magazines and Sites
There are online magazines and sites geared toward all types of subjects. You’re bound to find something that fits your niche. Once you do, read the magazine (if you don’t already) and become familiar with the things they feature. Pitch articles or blogs to the magazine or site. You might end up with a regular gig, but even if you’re just featured in the magazine or on the site you will gain credibility through the subject you write about. When you write about things pertaining to your niche, you’re putting yourself out there for readers interested in your work. Many readers who read magazines or articles on sites check out the authors who’ve written the piece. It’s a solid road to getting your book into your targeted readers’ hands.
Start Your Own Magazine
No I’m serious. Did you know that you could start your own online magazine free? There are sites that provide you with free magazine templates and will even send out the magazines to subscribers free. Some have the option of print magazines and some only online magazines. You can start a magazine geared toward your niche. You can feature other writers and people who share your interest. If you stick to it, you might have a popular magazine one day. It might seem unbelievable but many online magazines started as simple sites.
Join a Cause
Are there any groups or organizations that focus on what you write? Do you write romances featuring plus-sized women? There are many Fat Acceptance groups to join and this is a great way to establish your brand. Your readership is most likely heavyset women who wanna read romances that feature women like them so joining groups they are interested in will alert them of your books and they’ll buy to support you. Do you write graphic novels featuring superheroes with disabilities? If you write characters with disabilities then consider working for disability organizations. They will embrace you and appreciate the fact that you feature disabled people in your books. You might also get offers for people to sponsor your book and help you spread the word. The best part though is to join these organizations because you honestly want to help. Never join something just to get book sales. Disabled people deserve the support of the community so if you decide to join a group, be there for the cause and not just to sell books.
You have to get creative. You can’t just throw a niche book out into the world and promote it like a mainstream book. That won’t work. You also have to accept that your audience might be limited so have realistic expectations. If you write books in an extremely small niche then you might not sell over a certain amount of books no matter what you do. Some niche books however do have a large market of readers, but reaching them is the key. The possibilities are endless.
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