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What’s Your Niche?

Emma Walton Hamilton / Blog  / What’s Your Niche?
What’s Your Niche?

What’s Your Niche?

OK, it’s not Monday, but the holidays have intervened. That said, let’s talk about niches.

Hitting the Target - Marketing Having a niche means being known as “The Person Who Writes X,” as in “Oh, that’s the person who writes those talking truck books” or “That’s the person who writes those steamy vampire novels.”  When you have a niche, you can still do other things – you don’t have to limit yourself  – but having a particular area of strength and reaching out to that specific community can be hugely valuable when it comes to building a marketing platform. It’s otherwise known as “target marketing.”  And once they’ve bought one of your books, chances are they’ll buy another.

For instance, if you know a lot about cats and you write a series about cats, then you have a built-in audience of cat lovers out there that you can reach out to. You can market your book not just to families who love cats, but to cat rescue centers and pet stores, anything that specializes in cat.  Maybe a cat food company would be interested in using your book as a giveaway item, or maybe you could do a signing at your local SPCA or veterinarian’s office or pet store.

AddieOne of our niches is the arts, which my mother and I both have a background in and which is a recurring topic in a number of our books.  So when we wrote The Great American Mousical, which is about a troupe of mice who live and perform below the boards of a venerable Broadway theater, we marketed the book to “show-folk” in every way we could think of. We stuffed the book in give-away bags at the Tony Awards, we became Amabassadors for Kids Night on Broadway, we reached out to theater memorabilia stores in Times Square to see if they would carry the book and to Playbill magazine to see if they would do a feature on it.  We created trivia games for theater fans and a mouse dress-up-and-put-on-a-show game online. We wrote articles on theater etiquette and offered links to theater camps for kids on our website. We’re even developing a musical theater adaptation of the book for family audiences.

In the publishing industry, they call this “special sales,” and most publishers have special sales divisions whose job it is to reach out to non-bookstore type places. But our experience is, you’ll have a lot better chance of success if you come up with ideas of where to pitch to yourself.  It’s your area of strength – even the best special sales departments won’t know the places to go in your niche the way you do. Every niche-marketing approach we did for Mousical we came up with ourselves. So think outside the box… Whose your audience? Where do they hang out, what do they buy, what do they like to do? Then come up with ways to sell or promote your work there.

Emma Walton Hamilton
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