Target A Niche And Find Your Voice

niche book market

Expressing the purpose behind your book will help you focus on your reader and your niche book market – and can help you connect with your intended audience.

One helpful exercise you can engage in at the beginning of the writing process is to ask yourself specific questions to help discover the purpose behind your book. Answering these questions will help you uncover your intentions for yourself and your readers, and help define your niche book market.

Who will read your book? Which demographic(s) do you want your book to appeal to?

You may want your book to be read by people of certain groups, defined by gender, age, ethnicity, or a specific social or economic standing. While categorizing people by these groups might seem simplistic, certain groupings will soon complicate your expectations of who you think will want to read your book.

Writing with specific categories in mind might help inform your writing style, but be careful not to limit your expectations to only these readers – you might find your book inspires an unexpected audience. Consider that who you want to read the book might be different to who actually reads the book.

A good example of this is a children’s book. Depending on the age group you’re targeting, it might actually be the parent or caregiver who reads the book and makes the buying decision, rather than the child for whom your story is intended. For an older youth demographic, it might be the child who makes the decision, though the guardian generally has to approve the choice, since he or she is the actual buyer of the book. This information will change how the book is discovered, and including parent reading notes might help the success of the book.

Alternatively, you might be focused on having your book read by different kinds of groups altogether: people focused on meditation and mind body connections, business professionals, physicians, hipsters, politicians, parents, actors, teachers, teenagers, art students, journalists, engineers, travelers, television fanatics… the list is endless.

You might feel your book will be more applicable to people who have a particular career, live a certain lifestyle, or who are more focused on personal relationships. Your intended reader will help focus your subject matter, writing style, and delivery of your book’s message. The more narrowly you can define the niche of your reader, the better chance of success you will have with your book in a very competitive market.

Take the “spiritual” genre for example. Your potential reader might be seeking basic introductory information on spirituality or might be an advanced spiritual seeker familiar with the concepts of quantum physics and various consciousness levels. Knowing this will determine the language you use when you write and describe your book.

This post was excerpted from All You Need To Know About Publishing Your Book by Amy O’Hara. Click here to register for the InspireABook® newsletter and get the eBook for free.

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Julie Salisbury is the Founder and President of Influence Publishing, Inc and InspireABook Publishing coaching. She has coached over 500 authors and published over 60 titles through Influence Publishing Inc. and guided many others through the self-publishing process since 2008. Currently, Salisbury is focusing on empowering writers to understand the advantages of the author publisher. Salisbury is the author of Around the world in Seven Years – A Life Changing Journey and has been featured on international TV, radio, and press, including the Daily Mail in the UK. She is a professional speaker and won the 62nd Golden Gavel Speech Competition in 2008. Julie was recognized with the Woman of Worth, Spirit, Success and Soul and Unlimited Woman of Creativity in 2013.


  1. Sometimes you can find modest success with a niche inside a niche inside a niche. I did.

    In America there are 23.5 million people who self-identify as overcoming alcohol or substance addiction. That’s not a niche, really, that’s 10% of the population. But 5% of that 10% (1.5 million) wanted to stop but couldn’t–at least not on their own. They are the AA members. Now AA has another million members worldwide and there are are sketchy guesses as to how many NA, Cocaine Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, etc members there are on top of the AA members. So people who are drawn to, or have no other choice except for mutual-aid 12-Step help, are a niche market. They consume about 800,000 daily reflection books a year. Melody Beattie has a top-selling co-dependents offering THE LANGUAGE OF LETTING GO which continues to be a Top 10 seller in this category year after year and decade after decade. AA’s own Daily Reflections sells over 50,000 new units a year (and has for 15 years) to a captive audience of only 2.2 million members or so.

    So, now try writing a secular daily reflection book for those who subscribe to the 12-Step philosophy but have a freethinker, atheist, humanist disposition; now that’s a niche market – American atheists inside an anonymous self-help society of only about one to two million people.

    This is the book I wrote (published in 2013) and while brick-and-mortar publishers aren’t threatened by me, the 200 – 300 units a month that I sell, month in – month out, is personally rewarding. I am on track to hit 5,000 by the end of this year. The more niche the market, the more appreciation there is for the book. The audience (our customers) know where other potential buyers are and they can’t wait to give them the good news. In 2009, when I was pitching the idea to the customary publishers in the addiction/recover daily devotional market, the combination of a new writer and such a small market made it easy for them to give it a pass. Even though I am sure I outsell some of their titles every week, I would agree that they likely made the right decision based on their model.

    Building distribution is one bookseller at a time. But since I started in 2009, access to my niche market has been made easier thanks to Amazon, iBooks, GooglePlus, GoodReads etc. And the great thing about a niche market I want to point out is that they become a substantial factor in success because of a very old-fashioned word-of-mouth phenomena that’s still alive and well. This target audience knows it’s a niche–marginalized in some cases–and they tend to rally behind any good idea or symbol that vindicates or affirms their seeming rebellious or non-traditional ways.

    Niche marketing is a type of vertical marketing. In my case I know where they congregate and where they went to treatment. I know the magazines they read and I write for them. It’s easy to maintain a relationship with a niche market.


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