Niches, Pseudoniches, and New Niches

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August 2013
by Chris Matthews

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To begin at the beginning, what exactly is a publishing niche?

It is one of the “20 Habits of Successful Independent Publishers” (as mentioned in my article with that title), and defining it negatively, even if that is not flattering to the ambitions of independent publishers, will be helpful here.

A niche is a potential market or audience not big enough to attract the attention of a large publisher. Because of their high overheads, large publishers are usually not interested in titles whose likely sales might be less than 15,000 copies, or even 25,000. Titles that do not achieve these numbers will be failures for large publishers.

Independent presses, on the other hand, can come out on top with sales of only 5,000 copies (or less when the audience is tightly targeted and will pay a hefty price), so long as the author advance is low, the production costs are reasonable, and the print run is correct. This gap between 5,000 and 15,000 copies leaves independent publishers with a world of potential titles that can be published profitably. In my opinion, a great many of the highest-quality titles, however you want to define quality, are found in this gap. A negative definition thus becomes more nearly positive when it comes to independent publishing….IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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