Welcome to a new series on NerdyBookGirl in which we will take a look at some of the best niches to consider placing your self-published book.
The series is intended to help you in one of two ways – either to open your eyes to a niche you might not have considered publishing in before, or to help you narrow down your existing idea and find a natural home for it.
For a particular niche to make the series, it needs to offer both evergreen potential, and also represent something most people could potentially publish in. That means if you see a niche featured here, we don’t just think it’s a niche which makes money, but a niche which could make you money.
So, without further ado, let’s crack into our first NerdyBookGirl Featured Niche, self-help.
What Is The Self-Help Niche About?
Perhaps you have an idea of what a self-help book is all about in your mind. Perhaps you’ve made use of such books yourself in the past.
What most people fail to realize, however, is that self-help is typically a much broader spectrum of books than they perhaps realized. It runs the full range from kind of slushy, touchy-feely titles, through to pull no punches, Fight Club style advice.
Broadly speaking, any book in existence has one of two purposes – to entertain or to solve a problem.
Self-help is very explicit about its purpose – it sets out to solve problems. The scope of the problem it seeks to solve may vary from very general, non-specific problems, through to more specific, niche topics. The whole gamut of problems and their prevalence can be found in the body of self-help titles.
The lasting appeal of self-help is due to the fact that human beings will always seek advice to the things which bother us or hold us back in life. That is why some of the top self-help titles are still selling immense numbers of copies decades after their original publication.
Simply put, there will always be a market for good advice.
Within the broad umbrella of self-help exists a number of more niche submarkets, such as self-help for single people, self-help for marriage or self-help for people with a range of psychological health conditions. More specific niche variants of self-help may be dealt with in future installments of this series – however, for the purposes of this article, we are considering self-help as a broad, umbrella genre.
Why Self-Help Represents A Good Niche
Unlike many other well-selling topics, self-help is truly evergreen.
The public’s interest in certain flash in the pan topics, like vampire romances, or Pokemon go, may wax or wane – but people seeking advice with the things which give their life pain will never go away.
This means that there is no shortage of ideas whatsoever for you to access the self-help genre from a creator’s perspective.
No matter who you are, or the kind of life you have had, you will have faced problems at some point. Chances are, you will have approached these problems from a frame of reference which is different from other people who approached similar problems.
This means that you have a unique background in solving particular problems in a particular way. Your experience may be able to speak to others in a way which touches and reaches them like nothing else out there can.
Say, for example, you have a health condition, which you have learned some really good approaches to managing over the years. You also happen to be a woman in her early 30s.
Your advice and experience relating to your illness are likely to be a lot more relevant to another woman in her early 30s than, for example, an older man in his 50s. Your perspective is therefore inherently valuable as it offers the chance to reach people who may not otherwise be reached.
Another key reason why self-help is an important niche to consider is the fact that it represents a genuine chance to make a difference to people and bring some benefit to their life.
If you are someone who is motivated by helping others, and seeing the difference you can make in life, then self-help is a genre you should absolutely consider writing in.
It represents a good combination of a genre with sustained interest, a multitude of ways to approach writing about it, and the genuine chance to benefit others.
Strategic Angles To Access The Niche
So now that we’ve taken an overview of self-help as a genre, and looked at some of the main reasons it represents a good opportunity for you to write in, let’s consider some of the strategic angles you can use to break into this marketplace.
A NICHE VARIANT OF WHAT’S SELLING
A key strategy for entering into the self-help genre is to consider what is already selling, and considering whether there is some way you can make a more specific, niche version of an already successful title.
For example, let’s consider the area of self-help which is based around helping people to develop habits.
A plausible top-selling title within this area of the self-help genre may be entitled something like ‘How To Form The Right Habits’.
You may see this title and think about different ways in which you could make a more niche variety of the broad idea, for example, ‘How To Form The Right Business Habits’ or ‘How Millionaires Form Habits’.
Don’t be afraid to consider niche brainstorms of almost any successful title. By changing elements such as the target market’s age, gender, purpose or background, you are likely to be able to find a lot of potential varieties of a title which is already working.
Don’t just assume that any niche variant will automatically work. Make sure to do some market research into the demand for your idea, and also to consider it from a common sense perspective. A lot of topics will only be right for a particular age group or gender, for example, and trying to niche down their market inappropriately is a recipe for failure.
A BOOK VERSION OF A HOT TOPIC
A lot of the most popular and successful books actually start life somewhere else, such as in blog format.
This conversion of existing source material to book form is a strategy you may wish to consider when looking for a way to enter the self-help market for yourself.
An effective way to do this is by seeking out a topic on which there are several blogs publishing regularly, getting engagement from their readers – but on which there is no book currently published.
This requires spending some time browsing the search engines to locate potential ideas. Searching for your self-help idea followed by ‘forum’ is a way in which you can discover active areas of discussion around almost any self-help topic.
If you are able to find an active, passionate forum which is based on a topic which does not currently have a book based on it, then you may have stumbled across the next self-help goldmine.
A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE YOU HAVE
The previous two strategies for entering the self-help genre for yourself have focused around seeing what is already selling, and finding a way to put your own approach to that.
This strategy instead takes the opposite starting point – thinking about a unique perspective you have which there may be some demand for.
Start by brainstorming all of the roles and identities you have in life – for example father, student, boss, husband etc.
Then, brainstorm all of the situations you have faced, overcome or have some experience in, such as cancer survival, stress management etc.
You may be able to come up with some combination of perspective and experience, such as Stress Management For Married Bosses, that stands a chance of helping people with their own problems, and in turn generating you money.
Before you launch full throttle into your own idea, carry out a little bit of market research. Make sure your perspective and idea actually are unique, and try and ascertain that people are searching for similar material on Google. For detailed steps, read our guide on Finding a Winning Book Idea.
By now you know –
- Why Self-Help Is Worth Your Attention
- Why Almost Anyone Can Enter The Self-Help Market
- Specific Strategies For Your Self-Help Success
Let’s end on a note of caution – although it’s fine to make money through helping others, money should never be your sole motivation.
In order to experience success in self-help publishing, it’s better if you genuinely care about helping others.
Simply put, the depth and quality of help you offer are likely to reflect your commitment to making a genuine difference in your reader’s lives.
The quality of your help determines the quality of your book, which in turn lead to your reviews and sales figures, which of course end up determining the almighty revenue figure for any given project.
The bottom line?
The more help you offer, the more money you’ll make.
It really is that simple.
Now go and help yourself by exploring whether a self-help publishing project is a good option for you.