What I Learned at IBPA’s Publishing University – Part II of III

By: Ebonye Gussine Wilkins

IBPA’s Publishing University was a two-day conference, but I was only able to attend the second day. I likely missed a lot of great presentations, but the ones I did attend were phenomenal.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into the segment about Niche Marketing. Many times, I’ve heard people talk about “you have to find your niche”. No one ever tells you how. When you finally figure out how, then a little light bulb goes off in your head. Then, if you are anything like me, you do a happy dance.

So in order to be successful at niche marketing, you have to do the obvious: find your niche. Before you are able to find your niche, you have to know who your audience is, then figure out where they are.

The key is figuring out your audience. Once you figure that out, finding out where your audience is, is not easy, but much easier.

As writers, we have a tendency of thinking that our work applies to everybody. We like to think that most people should like our work and want to read it.This isn’t always true. But don’t let that discourage you.

You have to be specific about your niche. You cannot say: “oh, my book is for men and women in the United States who are between the ages of 18 and 45.” It simply isn’t specific enough.

After much consideration, I realized that my niche is more specific than I previously realized. My novel, Somewhat Close To Normal, does have universal themes. However, if I think about the characters in the story, I can easily see who my audience is. My readers are: the woman waiting for the bus in the cold to go to work, the man who is running in between his two jobs that he has to support his family, the student who is struggling to get good grades while not being academically supported at home, the teenager who is teased because of his cultural background, the young man fighting to keep his dreams of success within his reach. These are my (non-extensive list of) readers. And now, I know exactly where to find them.

Who is your audience? Where would you expect to find them?

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