A prevailing marketing adage is that if you're trying to sell to everyone, you end up selling to no one. This came to mind when selecting a recent BOOK OF THE WEEK which was geared towards a very specific reader. So we asked its author, Philip Raby, how he went about marketing such a book. In what follows, he explains how he learned that a niche market book is an easier sell than one with a broader audience.
I suspect it’s a cliche to say that the easiest part of self-publishing is writing the book. The hard work begins when you try to tell people about your book, in the hope that they will buy it. Marketing, promotion, advertising—call it what you want—is not as easy as you might think, despite the promises of the brave new world of social media.
A Tale of Two Books
I’ve self-published two nonfiction books. The first, You Can Drive a Porsche, suggests an alternative approach to car buying that will enable you to own the car of your dreams. The second is called Save Your Life and urges you to live life to the full and embrace every day, rather than waiting for retirement.
A Very Niche Market Book
You Can Drive a Porsche is, by its very nature, a niche market book that will only appeal to people who are interested in cars. Save Your Life, on the other hand, is a book that almost anyone will benefit from because, surely, we all want to make the best use of this one chance we get at life.However, You Can Drive a Porsche has been the been the better-selling book, for the simple reason I have been able to tap into its market. You see, for many years I was involved in the world of magazines; writing, editing and finally publishing, a Porsche magazine. Today, I run a small business selling Porsches and am relatively well-known in the Porsche world. My website gets a decent amount of traffic, and I have a reasonable following on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Anyone who follows me or goes to my website is likely to be interested in Porsches and, therefore, my book on how to own one.
A Little Fish in a Big Pond
On the other hand, it has been a struggle to find an audience for Save Your Life, which is a minnow lost in an ocean of self-help books. I’m not known as a self-help guru (because I’m not one) and, without the backing of a large publishing company’s marketing machine, the book’s simply not taken off. It’s not as if I haven’t tried; I’ve done Facebook promotions, given it away on Amazon in the hope of gaining reviews (which failed) and spread the word among family and friends. Speaking of which, very few of my friends have read Save Your Life, which strikes me as odd. If a friend of mine wrote a book (which a couple have done), I’d be very keen to read a copy; partly to support them and partly out of curiosity. (It just goes to show that one can't rely on one's own circle to ensure a book's success.)
What I Learned From My Niche Market Book
It’s a shame because I am proud of Save Your Life and believe it contains a valuable message that really does help people to embrace life.
The lesson I have learned is that, certainly in the world of nonfiction, focusing on a small niche market is more likely to lead to success then aiming at the mass market.
Philip Raby is a well-respected and well-known motoring writer based in the UK. Philip is best known for his work with Porsches; he launched and published Total 911 magazine. However, he became disillusioned with the corporate world so he sold his publishing company. He now runs a small Porsche sales business and writes a regular column and features for GT Porsche magazine. Philip has written a number of books, covering subjects as diverse as Aston Martin, Porsche and Formula One; and even one on planning weddings. Today, he combines writing, selling cars and enjoying life. Website: http://www.saveyourlife.me/
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