“…an especially suitable place or position…” that’s one way Webster’s defines the word niche. Do you know the most suitable place or position where your writing and specific books fit? If you don’t know that yet, and if you want to be successful in marketing your work, you need to figure out your niche. The complicated part starts now because you have to leave your preconceptions behind and take a look at your work with fresh eyes. When you started writing your book, you may have thought your work fit in one area, but now that you’ve completed it and signed a contract for publication and are starting to market, you’re not so certain if you are in the most suitable place.
So how do you find that niche? You start at the beginning and reaffirm the genre where your book fits into. If you write mysteries, what kind…police procedural, amateur detective, hard boiled, cozies…you get the idea. If you write romance, what kind…inspirational, erotica, historical, regency, contemporary, suspense, fantasy / paranormal, time travel…you get the idea as well.
When you know for sure that you have the correct genre for your work, now you need to figure out how your book fits into that suitable place with an audience. Who is your audience? Of course, anyone can read your book, but success really boils down to finding out who really will read your book and focusing most of your marketing attention on that specific audience. Try to really connect with your readers. Join online forums where your genre is discussed, not only because you are trying to promote your book, but because you are trying to discover the pulse of your specific readers. Always be available to your readers. That doesn’t mean that as you get more successful you’ll be able to respond to every email and fan mail you get, but be open and engaging in your blog posts and status updates in other social media networks so your readers feel that they know you.
You also need to figure out what sets your book apart from the rest of the novels out there in your genre. What’s so special about your book? Why should someone read it? If you are hard pressed to give an answer to that, you will have trouble in marketing your work. You need to believe in your book and share your work with conviction to the world. Remember, as I always say, you are your biggest fan!
If your work is from the historical romance genre, you need to dig deeper into the story and decide if there are any interesting correlations you can make between the time period and setting with the current day setting. Can you somehow connect with the locality of the setting of your book?
My current release is a contemporary, inspirational romance novel. The setting is suburban Philadelphia, as well as England, Ireland, Italy and France. Obviously, my characters did some traveling, but for the first part of the book, they remained in suburban Philadelphia, which is also my own local area. I need to get the wheels turning in my mind to see how I can make some connection between myself and that first setting and market my book to the local suburban Philadelphia area.
If you’re not looking at the location, then do what it takes to find that especially suitable place or position that your book fits into, to make it stand apart from the rest and be successful. My book has a contemporary story line with a classic feel. I love the works of Jane Austen and I translated that devotion to the main character, Sophie. She is a huge Austen fan and gets a chance in the book to visit England and there are many aspects of the book that bring the reader into that classic romantic period. If your book has a similarly interesting twist on the old and the new, figure out a way to market that to both contemporary and classic literature fans as well.
If your book discusses any current hot topics or events, even if it’s only a small part of the novel, milk it for all it’s worth. That is another way to get the attention of the media, thus you will be more in the public eye. So many books are published every year and with the advent of self-publishing and new authors being signed to publishing houses every day, the media doesn’t really care about your book, even if you dutifully send out press releases. Your contact with the media needs to make you stand out from the crowd. Find that connection between your book and current topics or events and you will be a step above the rest when it comes to media coverage.
I like to always think outside the box and in order to make your book stand out from the crowd; you will need to think that way too. Find that uniquely special aspect to your book and make a concerted effort to draw that aspect out into the public eye to make a deeper connection with possible readers. Show them that your book is not just the run of the mill mystery or romance novel. There is something spectacular about your book and they just need to read it. You must create that intensity about your book. You have a product that is unlike any other, so market it with that mindset.