Aside from good writing, one of the key components of a successful book is finding a niche market. Because self-publishing has become so popular, there are literally thousands of books on any given subject on the market. Experienced book publishers will tell you that finding a niche market is the best way to get your book read. But how do you find one that works for you?
Find Inspiration from Your Personal Life
Start by brainstorming or at least jotting down a few thoughts. Start coming up with ideas for niches based off your personal life.
- What are your passions and hobbies?
- What activities do you like to participate in?
Your current career might also be a great place to start. Think of some subject areas where you have a lot of expertise, and go from there. If you're using a mind-map, you can branch off of those ideas into smaller ones. Just pick a subject and write down any ideas you associate with it.
Refine Your Ideas with Technology
You can also research current trends to formulate new ideas or refine existing ones. To do that, use tools like Google Trends and Google Adwords. Both platforms will show you how popular a given keyword or subject is. Keep in mind that too much popularity is not a good thing, as there will likely already be hundreds of books on the subject and make it harder to be found or stand out. Find a keyword or phrase that has a decent search history, but is not overly used.
This should help you see where there are gaps in the marketplace. For example, you may be great with interior design, but the marketplace is already flooded with design books. Perhaps instead you want to focus on a particular area, like working with specific materials, how to mix patterns, or something else. The trick is to pick a general subject that pertains to you, and chisel it down into something that doesn't have an overwhelming amount of competition.
Test Your Niche on Real Readers
Once you've chosen a niche or two, it's time to run a few tests. That's right, you can test how well your book will resonate before you even start writing it! You can do this in a number of ways, but one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do is create a blog centered on the subject. While your blog serves the purpose of testing your subject matter, it also works as a built-in way to market your book before it's published.
Try to publish a few blog posts a week, and track results with Google Analytics or another analytical platform. Analytics will tell you how many unique visitors you're getting each day, and how many people are engaged (i.e. commenting or sharing) on your blog. It will also tell you where your readers are coming from, so you can identify your most popular market. Keep in mind it takes a while to build a readership, so niche testing can take anywhere from 6-12 months. But it's worth it to know who your audience is and whether your niche is profitable.
Now that you've chosen your niche and your marketing platform is up and running, all that's left to do is write the book. Continue to communicate with readers by offering supplemental blog posts or even teaser chapters, and they'll likely be your first (and probably most loyal) readers.