Having an idea for the business or self-help book you want to write is a great start but you also need to be sure there’s a readership for your book, however niche, so it can increase your impact, income and influence. Here are some tips to ensure you have identified and can access a solid market for your book.
Does your book have a future?
You should be able to agree with most of the items on this list.
- The people in my market actually buy and read books
- My book solves a problem or addresses a need my market actually has
- There are definitely people who want it and/or need it
- It solves a problem or facilitates an achievement
- There are already other big-selling or best-selling books that hit a similar market to mine
- The market isn’t saturated with lots of books that already promise what my book promises and in exactly the same way.
- It is unique but still fits neatly into an existing/popular/mature category
Where is your book’s niche?
Finding a niche is too often presented in an over-complicated way. Quite simply, if your book appeals to ‘anyone and everyone’, you don’t have a niche.
‘A fresh approach is critical for success in our changing economy. Small business owners miss out too easily on the opportunities that are available to them because they have not clearly defined their niche.’
Rachel Henke, The Niche Expert
Is your book’s niche topical, demographical or both?
There are two ways to choose a niche:
- Topic: The focus of a topically targeted book will be an interest, skill, goal, hobby, sport or specific subject and could potentially attract someone interested in that topic. This can be defined more simply as ‘What is the book about?’
- Demographic: The focus of a demographically targeted book will be the experience, age, gender, lifestyle, social group, sexual preference, location, religion, nationality, ethnicity, income, profession, education, etc of your target market. By its nature, it forces you to generalise about a section of the population so you can make your message resonate with them. This can be defined more simply as ‘Who is the book for?’
It’s possible to niche a business or self-help book solely on topic, but you add extra power to your book’s proposition if you also identify (and target) a specific demographic too.
Does your book appeal to your niche market?
If you’re still not sure whether you have defined your book’s niche, use this simple, but powerful, checklist. If you can tick every box then you will have found a clear market that will love your book.
- Your ideal reader is easily identifiable by age, gender, nationality, education-level or other demographic attribute
- Your ideal reader has a very specific interest or need
- Your ideal reader has money and is willing to spend some of it (usually much more than the cost of your book) on fulfilling their need/want
- Your ideal readers spend time with others like them in places that are easy for you to find and access
- You have something that they will really love because it: solves a real problem for them; gives them what they want, better than anyone else is giving it; meets their needs/wants in a unique or exciting way; is new to them.
Making use of the greatest book marketing research tool
You probably use this tool every day, but you may not have thought of it as a market research tool until now. Of course, we’re talking about Amazon. You can sort by keywords and best-seller lists on specific subjects; you can sort other authors’ books by sales rank; you can uncover what’s wrong with the competition and, when you know where to look, you can even make a good guess about how many copies a title is selling.
- Go to whichever Amazon territory your main target market is based in.
- Use Amazon’s search bar to look for competitors (it ranks them by most popular by default).
- Check both print and Kindle versions of the book. It may help you to find out in which format other books in your niche are selling best.
- Also use the categories section to see what’s popular in more general subject areas.
- Click on books that are doing well for a similar topic/audience to yours.
- Check the overall Sales Rank of these books. If a book is consistently in the top 2,000 for sales rank for Kindle or print over a week or month then assume it’s selling well.
If none of the books catering to your same target/topic are ranked this highly, you’ve either found an opportunity to provide something really good in this category – or there isn’t much of a market and you may need to rethink.