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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: niche, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 8 of 8
1. Become a Niche Powerhouse and Build a Successful Business (Find your audience and build your list)

This is Part 2 of the three-part series on becoming a niche powerhouse and building a successful business. Part 1 discussed how to find a profitable niche and how to ‘work’ it. This article is about finding your audience and how to build your list. Find Your Audience (build your list) Finding your specific audience before you promote your service or product is a sure way to guarantee sales

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2. Thinking Commercially

Why do you write?
To express yourself.
To explore an idea.
To create a character that interest you.
To explore a difficult topic like immigration, abortion, war, alcoholism.
To weave a spell.
To leave a legacy.
To explain your life to your grandchildren.
To explain how to do something.
To scare someone.
To make someone swoon.

The reasons we write are endless, they are personal. And each reason is valid. But if you want to cross over into the published world, you need one more reason: to sell. To think commercially is a problem for many writers.

For example, let’s say you want to write nonfiction books for kids. The National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council released their list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for 2013, about 58 books they deem literature that can be used in science classrooms, the best of science and the best of literature combined. I was lucky enough to have my picture book, Desert Baths, named to the list.

It has been interesting to study the list of about 58 books to see if there are common themes that make these books commercial. Overwhelmingly, the topics are about nature, especially animals. The second most popular genre was biographies, especially of scientists. Some combine the two, such as Wild Horse Scientists, from a series about contemporary scientists and their work. There were some technology books (about the bomb, the Mars rover, or other space topics), one chemistry book, one about the importance of oil, one on botany, and one about forensics.

In other words, there are big gaps in the scientific disciplines covered and there’s a possible window there for a topic, if it’s done well. On the other hand, nature/animals/biographies are proven best sellers, so it may be best to stick to those categories. Ultimately, the decision is up to you, but these are the sorts of things that you need to consider about when you think commercially.

Or, take for example, the popularity of The Hunger Games. Are dystopians still selling? Yes. But their popularity is probably waning a bit and by the time you write, sell and have published a dystopian, it may be the tail end of such books. Thinking commercial means going beyond just a description of a genre to the inner workings of the story to see why it worked. It’s a story of self-sacrifice, courage, facing unbeatable odds as an underdog—and finding a way to come out on top. Its themes are war, authoritarian governments, personal responsibility. The characters are realistic, engaging, sympathetic.

What if you keep those story elements, but recast them as you switch the genre to science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction or even a contemporary. Thinking commercially does NOT mean copying the latest fad. Rather, it’s working to connect with a wider audience. Is your book about an alcoholic step-mother? How can you connect that to a wider audience? What if the story plays off the Hansel and Gretel stories, the step-mother is the witch? Would that stretch out the scope of the story enough to bring in a wider audience? What if the President of the US is the father and his new bride is the step-mother?

Thinking commercially means finding niches in the marketplace that you can fill; it means reaching for a wider audience than your first attempts; it means lifting up your eyes from the keyboard and looking out at the reader to ask, "How can I tell a story that touches you on a deeper level?" That is thinking commercially.


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Darcy Pattison blogs about how-to-write at Fiction Notes and blogs about education at CommonCoreStandards.com

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3. Alternate Publishing: Niches

This week, I’ve let writers tell their own stories of alternate publishing. Today, I tell my story. This is part 8 of 8.

Alternate Publishing Series TOC

How to Write Revise a Novel

In 1999, I started teaching the novel revision retreat, unknowingly kicking off a fad in writing retreats of addressing a whole novel, not just a chapter of a scene. I became known for the shrunken manuscript technique, which enables writers to “see” their entire novel at once. The success of the retreat was gratifying, with many writers seeing their debut novels come out and establish their careers.

novel revision by darcy pattison

Novel Revision Retreat in a Book: Uncommon Ways to Revise

There was always a workbook, but it was a work in progress for about eight years. Then, it was time to look for a publisher for it. But here’s the problem: most publishers go for the beginning writer market. It makes sense. For every 1000 writers who set out to write an entire novel, about 100 make it. Of those, perhaps 10 will realize the need for revision and perhaps one would actually buy a book about revision. The market was small and publishers like Writer’s Digest couldn’t successfully publish it.

But given my built in audience and the buzz surrounding the retreats, I thought I could publish it and make money doing it. I established Mims House, a niche publisher, named after the Historic Quapaw District house where I have my office. From the Blue House, I published, NOVEL METAMORPHOSIS: Uncommon Ways to Revise. As expected, it hasn’t sold thousands, but it has sold hundreds–over a thousand copies–and continues to sell at a steady pace, intermingled with spikes when I teach a retreat and participants go home and tell friends about the book. (Word of Mouth is still the best way to sell bo

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4. Alternate Publishing: Links and Resources

Continuing the series about Alternate Publishing.

Articles to read about Alternate Publishing

Please send me links to add to these lists.

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