One of the subscriptions I’ve held onto through a lot of inbox purging over the last year is the feed from Nieman Journalism Labs, a part of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.
Even though its subjects are often purely journalistic without much impact on book publishing or blogging, the stories they carry are almost always interesting.
Last week, one of these articles caught my eye: The newsonomics of 100 products a year—“Newspapers and other publishers are realizing the value of selling something other than their primary product to readers — and ebooks are leading the way.”
The article, by Ken Doctor (@kdoctor), really amounted to a call to publishers and journalists to look beyond the news content they are selling to other needs of their target market. Here’s the quote I pulled:
“Don’t think content; think problem solving: Publishers too often start with content. If we start with audience — college-planning students and parents, new mothers and fathers to be, bored cooks, and, big time, sports enthusiasts of all ages — we can see the motors of ebook publishing beginning to role (sic).”
This is so similar to lots of advice in indie publishing it really struck a chord. Getting traction as a publisher—really succeeding in the publishing business—is almost impossible with one book.
Not only that, it repeats the suggestions made to niche marketers of all kinds. Find your audience, niche down your topic, and find material that fits those specific interests and desires.
It’s advice that is equally good for self-publishing authors. What will really advance the plans of large publishers and small ones is the speed and ease with which these types of subjects can be issued as ebooks.
And when it comes to reacting to events or having the “pulse” of your market, I would have to say the small indie publisher or self-publisher is probably ahead of the game.
When you’re small and competing in a big market—like all of us self-publishers—you need to make the most of the advantages you have.
So while it might be impossible to get a self-published author onto a big TV show, we can market to niches more quickly and effectively than larger organizations, and we can certainly get content up on sale much faster.
And niche marketing depends on how well you understand the hopes and dreams, the fears and frustrations of the people in your market.
Do you do this in your own publishing? What’s your next book?
Photo by jhritz