Friday, October 12, 2012

Talking Niche – Branding – Marketing

I was perusing blog sites participating in the Indie Carnival…and issues piled into my head. Marketing is an art. Folk get loads of degrees to practice it. I took 3 marketing classes in college…enough to know the basics…enough to know that like drugs, exercise, dieting or most any other activity…it can be taken too far.

I'm going to throw some generalizations out…and see what kind of an uproar I can generate. Reach me here if I tick you off.

Niche marketing is a fallacy for writers.
-          Narrows your market
-          No writer has the reach/panache to entice enough readers
-          The ROI to reach the audience is prohibitive

Branding is all encompassing.
-          It's revealed in your covers.
-          It's reflected in your blurbs…blog…website…
-          And every other face presented to the market.
-          Attempting multiple brands doubles your overhead,
-          And dilutes your impact.

Pen names serve one valid purpose: To keep your mother from learning you write erotica.
-          Otherwise you dilute your brand,
-          And confuse your readers.
-          You really think anyone cares?
-          Why have to explain to your friends who Gost Ryter is?
-          (One exception: Your name is Pikt Minoze)
-          I'll bet JA Konrath wishes he never started with a pen name.

Young Adult is not a genre
-          Labeling yourself YA limits your audience.
-          A cover shouts…"This is about teen <fill in>."
-          Thus the YA identification is unnecessary.
-          It ensures no 15YO boy will pick it up.
-          Okay 'YA' helps writers find each other.

I confess…no clue where the sweet spot is.
-          Does this attempt to interest too many?
-          Does it too narrowly target an audience?

Some of my other prejudices:
-          We need better/more books for boys.
-          YA shouts girly.
-          Did I mention boys sneer at the YA tag?
-          Whatever happened to Hardy Boys?
-          There's no such thing as laser marketing.
-          An author's headshot is really unimportant.
-          Unless you're drop-dead gorgeous.
-          I want to scream when I see smoky cover elements.
-          Most important factor in reader-age: train of thought.
-          Harry P. proves story arc is irrelevant (for young readers).
-          It's all about the craft.
-          Or maybe your product.
-          Or maybe who you know.
-          Or maybe how hard you work.
-          Or luck.
-          Maybe perseverance.
-          Yeah…it's all of those things.
-          Everything is boring to someone.

Have a great weekend!


  1. I just reviewed my covers to see if I have 'smoky elements.'


  2. That's why I don't really have an author photo. And I learned early on that the audience for my books was much wider than anticipated.

  3. It's still mind boggling to me, how so many folks are still getting rich at taking things too far in marketing! I have to laugh at the mother knowing about writing erotica! My mother stumbled upon something I wrote when I was about 12, and she demanded to know if I wrote it. She liked it until she knew they were my words and thoughts. Her reply was, you should not have feelings like this already! (Trust me it wasn't anything of the erotica nature either!) Strange how our mind works isn't it?

  4. I actually don't believe that any young adults read YA anymore. It's become an adult genre. I think you'd be hard pressed to find young adult readers who read YA books. OR, more realistically the percentage of young adults who read YA books is woefully low, especially compared to the percentage of adults who read YA books. As far as pen names go, STALKERS is a great reason to use one. LOL. And if you don't think stalkers are a problem, we need to have a private discussion. ;) And I couldn't agree more that everything is boring/crappy/tasteless/tacky/horrible to someone out there!

  5. Good advice. Sometimes I just want to throw marketing out the window. *sigh*

  6. Bookmarked should I ever decide to self publish. Nice, concise advice.

  7. Wow, Mac and Lisa, my teenage son would strongly disagree with you. ;) Have you even read some of the great YA novels from guy pov's?

    And all the teenage girls I know would stronger disagree with Lisa's comment. They all read YA novels.

  8. Nice article. I especially like your exception to the pen name rule.

    I agree that we need more/better books for boys. Rick Riordan does fairly well, I think. I can't speak from any personal experience since I have girls, but my oldest hangs out with a bunch of boys. They are all big readers. They actually have the same tastes in books.