Distilled: Niche Marketing by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Rusch has a great series on niche marketing. Of all the self-publishing advice I’ve seen, hers is some of the most cogent and in line with the current publishing environment. This praise is tempered by the fact that she and her partner Dean Wesley Smith have been in the business for a long time and have been quite successful at it. She can throw more resources and reach more people than I likely ever will be able to. Still, some of the advice I’ve seen from others is outright awful or merely dated. Her insights ring true.

With that I have summarized her six post series on the benefits of niche marketing:

It’s all about niche, almost the narrower the better. She has mailing lists for each series, each of her pen names.

Axiom: Mass marketing is no longer effective.

Anything that mentions “competitors” is de facto awful.

Think small. Your goal is to attract and keep readers, one at a time.

Target little newsletters that don’t have the same reach as Bookbub, but might have a more targeted audience in your book’s sub-genre.

Word-of-mouth campaign: intriguing ideas about your books, attention-getting graphics, or something viral like a totally fun video. Usually about brand awareness. [pet pics work, go figure]

What readers really want is more story, not more stuff.

Focus on one thing at a time, maybe one and a half.

Two cool things about Kickstarter. When you offer good stretch goals, people who have already backed your project help you promote it. They want something you’ve put into the Kickstarter, but they can’t get it without the help of other backers. So, they’ll advertise your Kickstarter to their friends, family, and followers. They always send the ebook to every single backer, so they have a chance to read it. For many of them, that’s their first introduction to my writing in general.

Key points:

  1. Think small
  2. Pick a platform or two
  3. Small campaigns
  4. Word of mouth campaigns
  5. Build customer relationships
  6. Build brand loyalty