How do you define (or find) a profitable niche for your book? (Blog Bundle #3)

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A niche is a unit that shares specific traits or behaviors in common. Here, we are talking about creating a book for a group of buyers that have a common interest—and conducting a pre-test before we do all the writing and investing, to see if it will be profitable in advance.

Chiropractors and K-12 school administrators are niches. So let’s use them as examples in this Blog Bundle. But if you’d like to see 100 other niche topics, see this report (that I also send free as one of three reports to those who subscribe—also free—to my monthly newsletter).

First you have to find a group that has a unique unity or sense of existence. That way you can create one item (here a book) that all (or most) will identify with. The group can’t be too small: 2,000 might work; I like 64,000+. (You can see how many there are by going to “Google.com” and either just entering their vocational category [like bank presidents] or enter that group name + mailing list.)

This is what I call the TCE process: Target, Customize, and Expand. (Chapters of details about TCE are in my book Niche Publishing: Publish Profitably Every Time.)

Target” means you must find them, count them, find out if they are accessible (like a direct mail list), and see if they have the interest and money to afford your book.

Why would these special people buy your words? Because the book will meet a need that they very much want met, or solve a pressing problem, or a resolve a frustration they share. But if you can’t send a flyer to them (that’s mostly how you sell niche books, and how we will conduct the pre-test), you can go no farther. And even if they would love to read your book and you can reach them, if they are flat broke and will be forever, they simply aren’t buying clients for your product—unless, of course, you are a raging philanthropist.

Customize” means that your niche will relate to your book much more if you speak their jargon, start with the knowledge they already share, and provide your book in the same format they usually buy—like chiropractors who far prefer three-ring binders for how-to processes they will share with their staff.

Expand” says that once you have sold your book and the nichefolk recognize that you are an expert with information they want a lot more of, you expand the ways you contact them and the means by which you share with them so they can buy more. This is really empire building, and it says that if they want to buy your book, they probably also want to hear you speak, take your courses, get some on-the-site consultation, and much more. It’s how you triple, then triple again, the income you deserve.

To get it all rolling, though, you should pre-test that first book. That makes your new niche venture far less risky, less expensive, faster, and far more profitable. And it’s infinitely easier to test!

Here are the kind of questions you will ask to qualify a niche market:

* What do you (or your author) know that will (help) solve a critical problem or meet a gnarly need for a specific group of people?

* What niche market has enough members who will also pay well and quickly to get (and apply) your insights and solutions?

* Are they accessible through an affordable mailing list?

* Do they also have an association, gatherings, or some kind of common union?

* Can you get sufficient facts, quotes, and examples to write a creditable book for them that they want to buy and that hasn’t been written before?

I mentioned earlier that in this series I will focus on chiropractors and K-12 school administrators, fields that meet every niche qualification, simply to get you some models you might identify with.

But don’t panic if you really want to sell your book to midwives, banjo players, Chicago Cubs fans, horse whispering devotees, plumbers, or computer designers. I’ve overseen, or at least reviewed at close hand, the results of a couple dozen niche book tests. The most surprising thing is that the test I describe here seems to work just about as well with any niche group. That is, its structure and tools seem to be almost universally applicable. What always differs, of course, is the book topic and the reaction of the potential buyers. But the testing tools differ hardly at all, though you won’t be damaged by making your flyer more attractive than ours!

One of our model books, this one fictional, is Standard Marketing Procedures for All Chiropractors. I’ll even invent an alter ego (Dr. Ted) to give a pinch of credence later to the flyer, postcard, and test note. In fact, I tested (and quickly published) a remarkably similar book some years back in a parallel field that, in part, helped my firm earn almost $2 million from the extension of that book.

Chiropractors came to mind when a consulting client recently proposed writing about this very subject before he realized he’d have to actually compose a book if the test market said yes—and he fled!

The other example actually became What Every Superintendent and Principal Needs to Know, and it has three top educator authors from Illinois. We applied almost the same tools to each (obviously the fliers differed in their books’ contents and theme), and both tested positive.

At this step, then, find a niche field whose members will be clearly benefitted by reading your words. Put it through the TCE test, and study closely what else exists like the book you propose—and why yours is better and will be eagerly embraced.

Finally, be certain you like being with these nichefolk since you will be dancing together for some years to come!

Let’s talk more about your book’s subject and title in next week’s blog, #4.

For now, it may be comforting to know that the tools we will develop in this series work on almost any example—even yours!

I’ll see you soon. In the meantime, zero in on your niche…

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

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2 Comments to “How do you define (or find) a profitable niche for your book? (Blog Bundle #3)”

  1. By Admin, September 2, 2011 @ 10:42 am

    Thanks, Joel. I’m flattered.

    Gordon Burgett