Monday, February 3, 2014

Using Niche Marketing for Your Book @kayelleallen #MFRWorg


Let's start with two definitions for the term niche marketing. Niche -- A position particularly well suited to the person who occupies it; the status of an organism within its environment and community (affecting its survival as a species). Marketing -- The exchange of goods for an agreed sum of money; the commercial processes involved in promoting and selling and distributing a product or service; engaging in commercial promotion, sale, or distribution.

Niche marketing is networking. It is not selling. It is not carrying around your books or even bookmarks or business cards. Niche marketing is finding out who likes what you write, and finding ways to be seen by them. Let me explain.

Most marketing efforts are overt. Television commercials show a product and explain why you need it. Car commercials focus on the vehicle's aesthetic appeal, economy, dependability, affordability, and the prestige of ownership. An ad for a new product explains how it's used, why you need to try it, and often offers a bargain for ordering now. Who hasn't heard "But wait! Order now and get..."


The point of niche marketing is not to sell. It's to rub elbows with people who like "what" you sell and letting them discover your product organically. Your signature on forums, emails, and groups should always have links to your website. Never send anyone anything -- even other writers -- without including your professional signature and a link to something relating to your brand. A book, your website, your blog, social media, etc. You can't have niche marketing if no one knows how to find you. By all means, if you have a tagline (and you should get one asap if not), display it in banners and buttons. Mine is below.

I'm not talking about an in-your-face "DOWNLOAD NOW!" approach, but a simple and direct one. Set up your profile so that every message ends with your name, your writing tag, and your website. If you don't have a tag and website, create them. These are gems! You can use these everywhere you go. A website gives people a central location to learn more about you and your books, and a tag simply tells people what kinds of books you write. Mine is "Unstoppable heroes, Uncompromising love, Unforgettable passion." Anyone who reads my books is going get these things. It's a few words that say everything about my writing. Using your tag in your signature is a form of passive marketing. By combining passive marketing with niche marketing, you can get a double opportunity to tell people about your books, without hitting them over the head with a "BUY NOW!" message.

Go where people who read your type of book can be found. If you write books about horses, you associate with horse people. If it's cats, then you go where cat folks meet. If it's vampires, maybe you hang out with people who watch vampire movies. Niche marketing means you are part of a group that likes the things you write about. It's not selling or talking about your book. You're just there, being one of the gang. Finding the right niche means being with like-minded people. A guy who sells tractors should find out where farmers hang out. His niche is people who need what a tractor can do. Figuring out what the tractor does and what problems it solves will help him figure out who will buy his product.

Think "what problem does my book solve?" If you write fiction, don't assume your book solves no problems. It likely solves many, including boredom and not knowing what to read. One of the first things to consider is that fiction creates a fantasy for someone. If you can fulfill a fantasy, people will pay you for it. A fiction book entertains. People who want to escape and relax with a good story will pay for the privilege. What prompted you to write the book? Think about that and make notes about your thoughts and needs regarding your decision to write, other than "to make money from a book." We all want that as an outcome, but it's not why we write, is it?

Jot down fantasies your book fulfills. You might be surprised. Then look at who is buying similar books (and movies/TV) that fulfill those. It's not necessarily what you thought at first. Be open to new ideas. Where can you go to reach that crowd? Be prepared to spend some time in research, and in getting to know the fans of the genre or series.


For example - is there a fan group for a movie or TV series with characters like yours? Look into sites like Get Glue. Search your book's keywords on Pinterest or perform a Google search to see what sites cover your niche. What do books like yours use for keywords? Why not adapt them to your book?
If you have a logo, use
it everywhere.

Study the advertising offered by sites you find. Can you rent banner space? Is there an event you can sponsor or for which you can offer a prize? Can you write an article for their blog? Do they accept editorial articles about the fandom or the fandom's interests? Don't forget to get involved in local, offline groups that focus on your niche or genre. If you write fantasy, science fiction, or paranormal fiction, are there conventions you can attend? What costume events are coming up where you can dress like one of your characters or themes from your books? When people ask who you are or what your costume means, tell them. Does your heroine tend a rose garden? Are there gardening clubs that might like to have a guest speaker who talks about roses? Think of ways you can incorporate the themes of your books into local interests and clubs. If you write erotic literature, consider advertising on sites that feature fan fiction. They are some of the biggest draws for readers, and they are hungry for new books.


Niche marketing is nothing more than networking. That means it's not what you have. It's who needs what you have. Set out with that mindset and you are more likely to find your answer.

Post by author Kayelle Allen, multi-published, award-winning Science Fiction Romance author of unstoppable heroes, uncompromising love, and unforgettable passion.
The Author's Secret
(post also shared with Savvy Authors)