Niche Marketing for Authors – why you want less readers

Writers become promoters

Niche marketing is a strategy used to reach better customers. 

There’s no denying marketing is important for selling books. The sales rank of a particular novel can sometimes reflect the writer’s aptitude for marketing more than it does their ability to write.

Niche marketing for authorsThe introduction of eReading devices and downloadable books opened up the industry to allow anyone to achieve their dream of becoming a published author. At first it was just PDFs, downloadable books, booklets, catalogues and instructional manuals companies shared to promote their products, but once Amazon got into the game with their Kindles, anyone and everyone started uploading their novels for public consumption.

Working in a saturated market

Market saturation. That’s probably the first marketing term a new author must learn, and it’s why we need to understand niche marketing.

When there are very few of an item (such as a limited edition release) and many customers, you have a strong market which allows you to charge a premium price. When there are few customers but many products? Now your novel doesn’t seem worth the $30 you’d pay for a new-release paperback in any Australian bookstore. Enter the 99c ebook.

Savvy marketing authors quickly adopted the 99c strategy – by undercutting the competition on price, they could appeal to the budget market (not niche marketing as most customers will seek bargains). This worked well … at first. It didn’t take long before the 99c market became flooded.

What about free? You can’t beat free can you? By offering free copies of novels, authors are reaching readers who would never have otherwise picked up their book.

That’s good right?

Maybe not.

Pushing to a mass market sounds appealing; reaching a large number of people, but this approach doesn’t take into consideration  the wrong customer.

The wrong customer can damage your reputation–just look at all those scathing one star reviews. But it’s good news, because as in the Daoism philosophy of all things balanced, if the wrong customer exists, so does the right customer.

Choose your customers. Fire the ones that hurt your ability to deliver the right story to the others.

-Seth Godin

Niche marketing

Targeting a niche market is the way to find your perfect customer.

Who (specifically) would enjoy reading your novel? If you said everyone, narrow it down. My Zombie Dog was written especially for boys 10-12yrs old who struggle with, or lack interest in, reading. The fact that a lot of grandparents left reviews claiming to love this book was a bonus. My niche was those reading resistant boys.

You need to identify the right customer.

What does the right customer look like?

marketing for authors1. They praise. Hey, we all like to be appreciated. At a recent pop-culture festival, I gave away a copy of my book to a young boy. A couple of hours later his dad came back and thanked me because my book was the first one his son had ever wanted to read without being nagged. He’d already devoured half the novel. Now that was the RIGHT customer.
2. They review. These customers write about the books they’ve read, and because your book was a perfect match for them, your reviews will be positive.
3. They support. The right customer becomes invested in your success, they follow your journey and want to become part of your virtual cheer squad.
4. They return. They come back for more. You get repeat sales without having to increase your marketing efforts.
5. They sell for you. The right customer will love your book so much, they’ll tell everyone they know. Through word of mouth, they’ll boost your sales.

Once you’ve identified your perfect customer, you’ll be able to design their profile, what interests do they have, who influences their buying decisions, and, where you can find them. Now you’ve got niche marketing nailed.


  1. You’re definitely right that the customers are important; the kind of customers/readers you write for affect the kind of story that you write. Everyone has different tastes, interests, and values; that affects the way they read and evaluate books.

  2. Great points, Charmaine! Everyone (especially the 99¢ and freebie offerers) should read this!
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