Jun 1, 2010

Niche Markets = Loyal Readers

Hitting Your Niche Target

In my last post I talked about the emerging trend of cozy mysteries to include information on crafts, like scrapbooking or sewing or even recipes for baking lovers.

This is a style of double marketing. You have the consumer base that like cozy mysteries (like the good ol' Agatha Christie stories) but you also have a focused niche base (people who love baking cookies and reading mysteries). This got me to thinking about other genres that could interweave non-fiction material through their books. This is what I could come up with:
Eucalyptus by Murray Bail - This Australian novel was a literary romance filled with sweet fairy tales but also included intermittent sections about Australian Gum trees in a non-fiction style. I enjoyed the stories but found myself skimming the botanics, whereas my husband loved this book. His interests are primarily in Australian ecosystems - so, big Gum Tree lover. There was talk of a movie being made including Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman, but that seemed to fizzle out.

John Grisham included a lot of legal information in his thrillers, but I'm not sure if that was to appeal to some law fanatics that love hearing about official paperwork filing for courts or if he just drew on his own legal experience.

In my response to Botanist from Views From the Bald Patch, I mentioned another example could be a YA fantasy series about witches that included simple spells you could try at home. Teen girls would LOVE that.

Or... children's picture books about the environment, each one could include ways to help and a story, for example one could be about kids keeping frogs, and it could include instructions on building a pond and raising tadpoles.

This type of marketing appeals to the reader's desire to belong, by sharing an interest with the main character, the reader is part of a 'club'. It might not be a hobby or interest that the reader actually takes part in, but one they would like to take part in, or perhaps they just like the idea of trying the hobby.

Certain interests would suit particular genres. I think the cooking recipes work better in cozy mysteries than they would in a thriller, although Silence of the Lambs would take on a whole new macabre style if recipes were included.


  1. I'll have to think about which niche markets (if any) my WIP fits into! Great post :)

  2. Thanks Aubrie - not all books go into niche markets, one of my WIPs probably would and the other wouldn't. I just find it an interesting angle. :-)

  3. Yikes - I definitely DON'T want the recipes from the last book! :)

    I'm writing a Steampunk right now - maybe I could appeal to inventors!

  4. Aha! That is starting to make more sense, Charmaine. I wonder how much it is a matter of analysing a potential market and deliberately including complementary themes, versus writing what you know and maybe developing your own niche as a result. Any thoughts on that?

    Cozy mysteries + crafts is beginning to sound quite calculated, whereas Eucalyptus sounds like the author writing what he knows best. I think I'm going to have to go and play with some of these ideas. Thanks.

    Hmmm...anyone for liver?

  5. Jemi - definitely! Is it YA - cause I think giving little things that could be constructed would be appealing to a young male readership. They likes to build stuff :-)

    Botanist - Hmmm, now you've got me thinking again (so rarely happens). Like all markets, you'll probably find some writers write to please themselves and the market finds them and others write to cash in on emerging markets. I think you'd have to be a bloody brilliant writer to be able to write to a market without having a personal interest in it. I write what pleases me, then at least I'm guaranteed one reader

  6. PS - you can have the liver, I'll just take seconds on the chianti

  7. Thank you; This was a great point and something I am thinking about~ Point well taken!

  8. Charmaine, I agree about needing a personal interest, but some thought about the market might make the difference between consciously including an interest, or not.

    I'm with you, though--I write what pleases me. If anyone else enjoys it, that's a bonus. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

    *Double-checks burglar alarm on Chianti stash*

  9. Ellie - thanks, if it's something you're interested in, then I think it would be fun to try.

    Botanist - I think if there was a cannibal-psycho on the loose, I wouldn't keep Chianti in the house - that's just being too accommodating ;-j

  10. Hi, Charmaine! I tagged you on Head in the Clouds today.:)

    Hope you have a great Tuesday! Tory

  11. Silence of the Lamb and cooking. Now that's funny...and we're into comedy too.

  12. I love the idea of Silence of the Lambs and recipes! That was so funny.

  13. Readers like to learn something. A fic/non-fic book you missed was Brown's Da Vinci Code. That was chock full of non-fiction, and an many place, rote and boring recollections of his trip to Rome.

    So yeah, readers like to learn. Don't forget that!

    - Eric

  14. Great post. I like the idea of mixing two different things. It makes the book more interesting.

  15. Tory - Thanks for the tag - I'll post up the answers soon :-)

    Ronda, Julie - I remember a novella when I was a kid about a boy who bet he could eat 100 worms. He did it over several days and included worm recipes as he went.

    Eric - Ta for the reference. I have to admit to being one of the few not to read the book (I start to rebel when books become really popular). I did see the film, but had to watch it three times to make it to the end without dozing off. But yes, sounds like a good example of a mixture of thriller and theology.

    Lynda - Thank you, it would take some research, but could be fun to write :-)

  16. I can see the appeal in adding niche information into a book as long as it didn't detract from the story.

  17. Definately. I agree. Although I use food as an inanimate character in my books. There is food and drink in just about every other chapter. I even use actual establishments such as restaurants and pubs. I visit them and eat the food and drink the beer the characters do. Tough job, but someone has to do it.

    Stephen Tremp

  18. Southpaw - I agree

    Stephen - It would be tough, especially if some of you characters can really throw back the drinks ;-j