Some writing thought leaders suggest authors who want to make their books more marketable consider “writing to market” for best results. Writing to market simply means determining what niche is currently trending and writing something that appeals to readers of that market.
The problem with this advice is some writers feel they’re “selling out” or forcing their muses to dance to a tune they might not prefer. Imagine a writer of hard sci-fi attempting an historical romance or a writer of erotica having to come up with a techno-thriller. For some writers, it’s doable, but others would find this kind of genre-shifting work stifling.
Plus, many creatives like the feeling of channeling we get when we pull those tenuous story threads out of our souls and weave them onto the page. I know that some pieces I write just seem to flow with no preconceived idea of genre or niche.
The good news is with a bit of effort you can still write to market while being true to your muse’s direction. Here’s how:
Instead of researching all genres to find that hot-selling niche, concentrate on the genres that you prefer. By definition, a niche is a narrow sub-segment of a larger whole, and most of these hot-selling areas are narrowly defined sub-genres. For example, a few years ago there was a lot of interest in books centered around MMORPGs (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games), which is a narrow topic indeed. The interest in that niche has since subsided, although there are still some hard-core fans.
Once you’ve defined the genres you’re ready, willing, and able to write within, look at the top 100 books in each category and subcategory of that genre on Amazon. You can use programs like KDP Rocket to help with this, or you can go old-school and look it up on Amazon’s site. You’ll want to find books ranking in the number 20 to number 40 position that are selling well in a subcategory to determine which niche is hot right now.
Set your muse free and write the story that’s brewing in those cranial folds, but adjust elements of it to match your “hot” category. For example, a paranormal romance writer might discover that zombie romances are hot right now. You still get to write a paranormal romance but your main character prefers sweetmeat tartar to a chilled glass of vintage hemoglobin.
And there you have it. No need to sell your soul to Amazon or trade your passion to make a buck. You can have your story and sell it to market, too.