Affordable Market Research for Niche Publishers

August 2003
by Terry and Rob Adams

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The best way to define your target market is narrowly and fully. The clearer you are about your topic and who the book is for, the easier it will be to do the selling. With the subject of gardening, for instance, you could choose any one of several intriguing directions by creating:

A guide for the after-work gardenerA children’s book for the young beginning gardenerA manual on gardening in your specific region of the countryAn anthology of inspirational stories by gardeners of all ages and walks of lifeA gardener’s cookbookA book on gardening as therapy for the elderlyEtc., etc., etc.

Whatever focus you choose, your niche–that special corner of the market, that area of expertise and interest–must make your book and what you have to say stand out from its competition. There are lots of books on the shelves, for instance, on crafts. But if yours is specifically for busy working people who don’t have time to fashion Christmas tree decorations or Independence Day doodads (until you show them how), then that’s your niche–crafts for the constantly hectic. Similarly, a self-help guide on the power of positive thinking will have to compete with the scads of similar volumes already out there. You’ll need to discover a market niche that makes yours special. Is it positive thinking for the hopelessly pessimistic? Is it positive thinking for families to practice together? Or is it positive thinking for teachers?

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