So you think your book might fail because it has too small a market? Maybe that’s just what you need! When The Roots of Reno first came out I knew the non-fiction work was going to struggle for a wide audience because it was centered on what happened in Northern Nevada and it concentrated on casinos. What to do?
Knowing it was aimed at a niche market actually made it easy for me to market. I concentrated on bookstores in Nevada and sent review copies. Then I sent off copies to newspapers in the state, aiming strongly at the small ones where I would get noticed. Each copy went directly (with a personalized letter) to the person I identified as most likely to review it. I followed up with an actual phone call to each person the next week saying I enjoyed their articles, liked the paper, and had sent my book to them because I knew they would have an audience. And, I found every tiny, free, weekly and quarterly newspaper and placed small ads with a copy of the book cover. That was about it for Northern Nevada.
I did get a copy off to the state magazine, Nevada Magazine, begging for a review – and I got one. The advertising in the magazine was pricey, but I spent a little and hoped for the best. I can’t say it sold a lot of copies, but it took the book’s name nationwide.
The next step was contacting the bookstores individually by phone to set up a book signing. Each store that was interested got me for two hours. We piggybacked (split the cost and size) on small ads to get the word out, used posters in the windows of the stores, and had free book markers. As expected, I only sold a handful of copies at each location, but the bookstores stocked a supply of books and they continued to sell.
Then I remembered the museums in Nevada and got my book into each one by begging the gift-shop managers to carry them. They too, sold copies regularly. That was the basis for my niche marketing, but there is much more to tell. But first, I have a quiz.
Which Has the Real Niche Market?
Does my friend Paul T. Harry’s book, The 5 Moons of Tiiana, have a niche market or does my book? His novel is science fiction, my book appeals to casino enthusiasts and people that like Reno, Lake Tahoe, and Nevada. So I win, right?
Not necessarily. Paul’s Sci-Fi thriller can also be marketed to the niches it can appeal to. He mentions in his author bio that he was intrigued by old black-and-white movies, by the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs, by the novel John Carter of Mars, and the story concentrates on space travel, alien creatures, and saving a princess. The main character is in the military. Reviewers have seen similarities in the novel to John Carter. See where I’m going?
If you choose a single genre for your novel and only market to that group, you’re cheating yourself! 5-Moons appeals to people who love old movies, and the military, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, and on and on! To sell more copies of your book you need to identify at least a half-dozen groups and market to them too.
Every Twitter mention can be directed (with # if you like) toward your niche. Every Facebook post can be geared at a small group or a large one. And, there are plenty of Facebook and Pinterest groups for even the smallest niche. Get out there and market!