How To Find New Fiction Niches

By Jamie McSloy / March 2, 2018
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New Fiction Niches

A lot of writers fall into one of two paths to misery:

  • They don’t act because they’re trying to find something “original” and all paths have seemingly been trod
  • They feel they have to go into super-niche territory

Now, there’s nothing wrong with the latter, providing it makes money. Too many writers end up trying weird sci-fi stuff that doesn’t exist simply because nobody wants it. A lot of this comes from political stuff and other current affairs things which have nothing to do with the genre, but they mess up the tropes.

As examples recently, I’ve seen people call for stuff like:

  • War fiction with “representation”
  • Romance fiction “without toxic masculinity”
  • Science fiction with no men in it at all

Now… I’m not going to be the one to say these things will never work. They might do and someone might come along and break the mould. However, you’re probably not going to sell many copies if you think, “What draws people to this genre and what’ll happen if I take it away?”

Politics aside, this isn’t the way to go about finding an untouched gem of a niche for yourself. What’s more is that you don’t have to do this.

Finding A Niche Is About A Concentrated Effort

When people in romance say, “Find a niche” they don’t mean “take the dashing and daring alpha male away” because that breaks the whole reason the genre works. They mean something like “find some avenue for a guy to be an alpha male that hasn’t been explored.”

So there might be a million billionaire romances in the same style as 50 Shades of Grey. That’s a competitive market.

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What about lumberjacks and other rural professions?

What about male dancers and other roles where you’d expect the men to be more effeminate?

You could corner the market in one of those, and then people will think of you as the girl (use a pen name) who writes about sexy lumberjacks saving girls from wild bears or whatever.

That’s how to find a niche. You use the same tropes but concentrate them on a market looking for a particular flavour.

New Niches Appear All The Time

Right back at the beginning, I made two points.

  • They don’t act because they’re trying to find something “original” and all paths have seemingly been trod
  • They feel they have to go into super-niche territory

I just addressed the idea of the super-niche thing.

Let’s talk about the first point.

There are tons of people who say, “Well, everything has already been done.”

Those people are guilty of being wrong.

Mostly, it’s because they haven’t done the research into new developments into whatever they’re talking about. That’s mixed with a touch of never having exercised the creative muscles in their brain.

Check this out:

LITRPG.

I’ve been reading, writing and publishing for many years now. I have never heard of the LitRPG niche. Last night, I stumbled across it whilst I was looking for something totally unrelated.

From what I understand, it’s a kind of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure style genre that focuses on the main characters within the story creating and playing their own games within the narrative.

Weird, and a totally new spin on fantasy – a genre which basically every writer wants to jump into and is saturated beyond anyone’s definition.

But you might think, “Yeah, but Jamie, isn’t that just a niche which nobody will buy?”

Small Niche, Big Sales

Check out this book I found in the top of the fantasy section on Amazon.

This is a book in the above genre.

I don’t know whether this guy is the most successful LitRPG author or whether he’s a new name or anything.

What I do know is that his sales figures are:

 

For those who don’t know about Kindle’s sales rankings, he’s one of the top 2,000 selling authors with that book. He also has another in the series which sits in roughly the same sort of spot.

Now, if you are in the top 2,000 your book will sell around a hundred copies a day, give or take.

Some of those will be Kindle Unlimited borrows which are priced differently, but in any case, that guy is earning around $2 per sale/read on average.

That’s $400 a day from two books in a niche that lifelong readers have never heard of.

Here’s the kicker that set this off as a fairy tale story for me:

The reviews of his books show people giving him a 4.5 star average with hundreds of reviews.

That means a lot of people have read and enjoyed the books.

And you know some people gave him high scores despite the fact it’s written in broken English.

This goes to show the power of cornering a niche.

When you’re known for delivering a certain thing that people want or need consistently, then unsurprisingly you’ll build a following. This following will be dedicated to you providing you continue to give them what they need.

You don’t have to be super smart.

You don’t have to have a million dollar budget.

Nor do you have to be super-talented.

Finally, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel or write the blandest most commercial stuff you can think of in the hopes you’ll make it as a mass-market success.


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