As writers, we often plunge in headfirst without thinking because we are brimming with ideas and are rushing to say something.
Maybe we should consider whether that ‘something’ is worth saying at all. Does anyone care if we say it or not?
If you have something to say you should darn well get it down. If someone reads it, great. If they don’t, at least you cleared your head.
But what if you do want someone to read and appreciate your writing. What if that ‘something’ you want to say doesn’t connect with the audience you are currently writing for?
It’s simple. Move on and find a different audience.
Find your niche.
Well, aside from being an alcove in a wall, the most obvious meaning is —
Being a specialist in a subject area does have its advantages. Not as many people can write about your subject therefore you are more likely to be heard. In theory.
The reality is that your target audience is much smaller. You are a bigger fish in a smaller pond. Not so much interest from wider sectors can be demoralising.
But there are a lot of positives too —Those who are interested in what you specialise in are likely to be enthusiastic to find another kindred spirit.If you possess expertise in a particular field, you have the potential to command respect in the long run.Once you establish yourself, people will come to you.Specialist writers usually command higher payment for a piece due to the nature of the information.Great business links can be formed between like minds opening up opportunities for consultancy, speaking and collaboration.Photo Credit: Free-Photos on PixabayFirst and foremost, you have to have the credentials. It’s no good waltzing up with a piece for which you don’t have the expertise. You will be expected to have trained, studied or gained experience in the area in question. Don’t lie. Experts don’t fool easily.Articles take longer to write because of the research they entail and information must be precise at all costs with every source cited properly.English usage and, if applicable, technological terminology must be of an excellent standard.Your readers will be wanting to learn something new, often facts, but in the case of an art critique, for example, if you have the credentials they will be interested in your opinion and interpretation.You will already know if you have specialist knowledge in a particular area. But if this is not up to date you can always refresh yourself or embark on further study.You will need to be totally on top of current developments in your field so you might want to start reading relevant periodicals if you don’t already.If you are nervous and if it’s relevant, start out by blogging on your own website or publishing in the local press.If you want to excel as a food critic, for example, start making links with restaurants and chefs — it is very much a who you know game. Make sure you are aware of new developments in the industry.Explore links with old contacts and friends in the same field.Visit events and build a reputation in your area then expand if you wish.Photo by eddie howell on Unsplash
There are many niche publications on the market (a quick online search will reveal hundreds of trade, business and specialist magazines). Don’t forget you can always submit articles to newspapers, write chapters for reference books, or even write your own book (although it’s good to establish your reputation first).
One more major point to make is that you might have an area of interest but lack the expertise.
Say you love bonsai trees and want to write about them at a serious level. Get stuck in and learn as much as you can — the types, the people who grow them, the science, grow them yourself.
Even if you are not an expert, it is still possible for you to become a well-known niche writer on a specialist topic if particular qualifications are not essential. But only if you do the groundwork.
According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, another meaning of the word niche is ‘a place, employment, status or activity for which a person or thing is best fitted’.
So far we’ve only talked about non-fiction writing. But there are many areas of the fiction market which have smaller, more select readerships. When we talk about niche fiction it is more a case of you, the writer, finding your niche. This doesn’t just mean your genre, it relates to your voice and style too.
Don’t try to write to trend because you can’t do it successfully unless you can produce work incredibly quickly. The market is constantly changing and evolving.
Write what you want to write then find it a home.
Start an email list, blog or website and read other people’s work in your genre. Join writing forums and meet with other writers to gain insight into your own writing and the current climate.
Get active on social media and find your crowd.
Then when you are ready to publish you will have some interested takers.
Appreciation? Money? Satisfaction?
These are not standalone reasons — they are all valid and intertwined.
Bottom line — writers want to be paid.
However, there are those writers for whom digging beneath the surface trying to answer bigger questions is just as important as money, even if they might only be acknowledged by a handful of admirers.
But these writers also know that such admirers are special. A gathering of like minds trying to find depth in this shallow world.
Can you write for more than one market?
This is another option — the mixed bag.
If you want to write in a niche market, please do so. But you can write other material too. There are plenty of readers looking for a comedy piece, a how-to article or a life-story reveal.
Writing for multiple markets can be achieved successfully and will give you the balance of writing about what you love while earning a living from more popular material. There is no shame in this. Artists have done it for centuries.
One word of caution though. If you profess to be an expert in a particular area, be careful not to jeopardise your career by writing other material which could damage your reputation.