Authors have heard the same things over and over again on how to market their books: you must be on social media, you must be a big fan of your genre, you must create a dedicated fan base, etc. And while that’s all solid advice, most of it is geared toward reaching a general readership. Depending on what you’re writing, there are many more opportunities to grow your readership and visibility. The following tips are ultimately meant for authors writing in niche genres—we’re talking knitting books, self-help books, cookbooks, fitness books, anything directed at a very specific market—but any author could find ways to implement this advice.
- Find Community
This idea isn’t new, but authors of niche genres can take advantage of built-in communities interested in their topics. In other words, there is often a dedicated community with a shared interest in the topic as a whole, rather than just the book genre. For example, an author of a knitting book will find a huge knitting community in local knitting groups and yarn stores. Find your community and become an active member by attending and hosting events. A great resource to find your community is Meetup.com. Once you start attending community events, people will get to know you and want to support your work, especially because it will be something they’re interested in.
- Make the Most of Your Social Media
Being active on social media is important. Just as you should find a community in person, you should also engage with related communities online. But don’t try to split your energy between every social media platform. Figure out which ones members of your target market use the most. Visual genres like travel, fitness, craft, and cooking will likely have more engagement on Instagram than on Twitter. Focus your energy on the platform that will allow you to best represent your work and to reach the widest audience.
- Host Events
We’ve all heard about book signings. Although they can work to draw in readers, you could also find success (and make a little extra money) by hosting other types of events. You could, for example, host a workshop, retreat, or class. Not only will your fans pay to attend, but you may also get new readers to buy your book. All the niches discussed in this post are rife with possibilities to increase your visibility, connect with readers, and bolster your income.
- Focus on Small Influencers
Now that the internet makes it easy to find a niche community, focusing on these small corners of the market is more and more profitable. According to a recent article on the Author Marketing Experts website, micro-influencers—or people with small but dedicated followings—have a lot of market power. So rather than trying to get your book reviewed by a big blogger, find a smaller one who fits your niche perfectly and has engaged fans. Once you start attending community events, people will get to know you and want to support your work, especially because it will be something they’re interested in.
With niche publishing, there’s often more room for cross-promotion. Try partnering with a small business in your area, where you can offer a discount on your book and another product when the two are purchased together. Maybe you wrote a cookbook about baked goods, and a local tea shop wants to sell their new breakfast tea. You could create a gift set, selling your cookbook with their tea in their shop.
- Sell in Specialty Stores
You’ll see niche books for sale all the time in specialty stores, like a museum gift shop, craft store, gallery, coffee shop, etc. Niche books often fit specialty stores perfectly, both because their topics are relevant to the stores and because they appeal to potential buyers who did not come into the store expecting to buy a book. That’s why selling in specialty stores can be very lucrative. Though publishers often get books into these stores, authors can help find and make those connections.
In many ways, marketing a niche book can be easier than marketing a book directed at a more general readership, especially when you know how to take advantage of the strengths of niche publishing. And authors play a central role in locating their communities and creating opportunities to get their books into the hands of readers. Remember that authors can often make more money by selling their books to people in their lives than by going through traditional retailers.