How to grow your publishing business by owning your market
There’s nothing tougher than starting a new business in a crowded marketplace. Yet writers do this every day. We’d be happy to write whether or not we get paid, but getting paid to practice your craft is better than not.
When we start writing we want to serve as many readers as possible.
We toss our little book in the ring. The 100,000 other books in our category swallow us before we find five readers. We get discouraged. We feel like there’s something wrong with us. We stop writing.
Instead of competing with thousands of other great books in your genre, why not become a category of one.
When you’re a category of one, you employ the Blue Ocean strategy. The water is clear. All roads point to your work. You become head cook, chef, and bottle-washer all in one. You operate the tollbooth.
Wouldn’t you rather be the only choice in your niche?
We can do this. There are more book categories added every day. There are now thousands of categories on Amazon. But it’s not just about books. When you become a category of one, you show your tribe that your work is the only work to solve their problem.
Isn’t this too small? I won’t make any money!
The idea does sound small, and it is smaller than say, a book at the airport. But when you dominate a niche you own, it’s easier to grow and branch-out from there. It’s much harder to try and start big, then scramble to serve a small niche once big fails.
Plus, if your book is one of the 100,000 in your category, it’s worse than choosing a small niche. You become invisible.
Inch-wide, mile-deep writing
There’s no greater feeling than dominating a small reader niche. You develop a rabid fan-base of people who can’t get enough of your work. If they want more, they’ve literally got no other choice than to buy your books.
- We find an under-served market
- We write books to serve the market
- We dominate every area of the market to discourage competitors (or make them look like copy-cats)
- We write exceptional books to keep our readers coming back
- We keep in touch with our tribe so they never forget we’re still here to serve them
I understand the fear of taking a small path with your writing. You don’t have to stay small forever. Your readers will help guide the future of your work. As you grow your audience you’ll grow your reach. With a wider reader, comes a bigger tribe to serve.
Look at your writing in a new way
You don’t have to throw out that book you’re working on. Change your frame of reference. If you write non-fiction, what experience do you bring to the table? What tribes do you belong to? Is there an inch-wide niche in there?
Let’s say you have an idea for a business book, How to Run a Small Business from Scratch.
All your experience came from running a fried chicken restaurant for 30 years. You’ve got more niche experience than 99.9% of all writers out there.
Instead of chasing the losing race of then entire business market, you find your niche. You go narrow. You choose to write a book that helps other chicken business owners learn your secret tricks.
As your tribe grows your circle of influence grows.
You branch-out and begin to serve other types of restaurants. Maybe you develop a great motivational course and grow your circle of influence even bigger.
Look at the heroes we appreciate.
They started by specializing. Then they opened the circle to larger curcles of influence, once they became well-known — but not before. The other way is almost impossible. You can’t please everyone with your book. There’s no universal book for all people in a huge niche.
You’ll end up writing a book for no one.
Start tiny. Not only is it easier to manage (and make relationships with) a small niche, but you won’t have to deal with cutthroat competition as you try to grow your indie publishing business.
If your first tiny niche doesn’t serve you, choose another
If you want to be a commercial writer, part of the process is getting paid for your work. Not every niche will agree with this. Some people want a single solution for their problem with a Google search. They have no intent on paying for the information.
As categories of one, we must ensure our work is so valuable our tribe is willing to pay for the results. Fiction or non.
If your original niche won’t pay for your writing, find a group who will.
One of the best ways to build a loyal tribe, is through email. You don’t need a huge list to make a great living from your writing. All you need is a niche you can dominate.
When you continue the conversation with email, you create a valuable relationship with your readers. This relationship makes it hard for an outsider to enter and steal your fans.
This is how we start small and expand our reach. From the inside-out, not vice-versa.
If you build your reader’s list now, you’ll have a pre-built, rabid audience ready when you launch your next book (or re-launch your last books). This should be a list you own (instead of relying on social media or some other big-business platform). Tap the link below. Enroll in my Tribe 1K indie email masterclass. I’ll show you how to get your first 1,000 subscribers (and your next 1,000) without spending one hot nickel on ads.
We’re waiting for you.
August Birch (AKA the Book Mechanic) is both a fiction and non-fiction author from Michigan, USA. As a self-appointed guardian of writers and creators, August teaches indies how to make work that sells and how to sell more of that work once it’s created. When he’s not writing or thinking about writing, August carries a pocket knife and shaves his head with a safety razor.