Thursday, October 23, 2008

Find Your Own Writing Niche

Where do you fit in the writing world? How do you discover your particular niche? One of the best ways that I've discovered is to continually read yet be sensitive to looking for your niche. Earlier this year, the second edition of Ready, Aim, Specialize!, Create Your Own Writing Specialty and MAKE MORE MONEY! by Kelly James-Enger was released. I read the first version of this book and reviewed it on Amazon. This week I dug into the second edition and love the principles and detailed information for every writer in it's pages. Whether you are beginning or advanced in your writing career I recommend you consider this book.

Why? Because even if you write fiction, you need to learn about the nonfiction market to help promote your book. Even if you spend most of your time trying to get your novel published, you need the exposure from the magazine world which is predominately nonfiction. You can learn this valuable skill in Ready, Aim, Specialize!, Create Your Own Writing Specialty and MAKE MORE MONEY!

Many writers flounder around trying many different areas of the market before they specialize and find their particular niche. Kelly James-Enger can help you cut down on the learning curve, evaluate your own background and discover your own place in today's market. Her seasoned counsel is priceless. Step-by-step she helps writers tackle the market and understand how to meet the editor's needs (and as a result their reader's needs) to succeed in publishing.

In the process, Kelly covers the top 10 hottest specialties. With each specialty, she gives you insider wisdom to succeed in these markets. More than writing for magazines, she provides the reader with a strategy and game plan to enter the full-time writing life. For example over on page 209, she writes about how specializing helps you build your "platform" (a much discussed word in the writing community). She writes, "Specializing in a subject helps you create a platform as you become an expert in your subject area. The other way to develop a platform is to become a celebrity of sorts, or to get as close to a celebrity as you can. Consider Dr. Phil McGraw. He was a moderately successful "life strategist" who became a household name after he started appearing on Oprah's daytime talk show. His own series soon followed, and now even his wife and son are best-selling authors."

When I read a writing how-to book, I want to turn to an expert--someone who had repeatedly succeeded in finding a specialization. Kelly is one of those writers. She knows about these different fields like health, diet, nutrition and fitness because she writes about them day in and day out. This book is loaded with tips and insight about breaking in then thriving in each specialty. You will want to read and re-read this book.

Most of this entry is the contents of my Amazon customer review. I tried to update it with a new date but Amazon preserved my original review date--even though I wrote it this week.

If you purchase this book and only read the final chapter, and then practically apply this information to your writing life, you will have received the full value (and more) from this book. Kelly gives practical advice for maximizing your freelance income and says, "If you want to boost your bottom line or simply work more efficiently, give these 15 strategies a try" (page 223--and my emphasis on the number of strategies). Just to give you a taste, here's several of these strategies without the important explanations: Negotiate for Higher Rates, Pitch Multiple Ideas, Come Up With Spin-Offs, Look Local and Forget The Muse.

If you haven't figured it out, I like this book and highly recommend it. Kelly knows her stuff and is a living active example of someone who helps others with these types of books.Go to her newsletter page and subscribe to her free publication. Every month I find great encouragement from this newsletter and I know you will as well.

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6 Comment:

At 10:25 AM, Blogger AnooCre8ion Left a note...

Hi Terry, this is my first time commenting on your blog. I found it a bit ago and really like the advice and information you give. The last week or so I have been really searching and considering my niche, which area do I really want to get into.

This article has been a great help and I am going to buy the book you recommend.


At 10:30 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


Thank you for the kind words about my blog. I'm glad to help you through this post and point toward Kelly's book. You will find I point to many different books in these posts. I've learned a massive amount of material from books as well as other writers. I continue to read at least one how-to-write book each month and I've been doing it for many years.

I hope this helps you discover your niche in the writing world. We need more good writers.

Author of Book Proposals That Sell

At 10:41 AM, Blogger AnooCre8ion Left a note...

Terry, I've just ordered the book after a visit to Kelly's website, and I will now patiently wait for its arrival.

Thank you again,

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Krista Phillips Left a note...

Terry, sometimes your blogs remind me of my dad when I was in High School. "If you want to make something of your life, go to college... do this, do that!"

You give very smart advice but it's easy to plug our ears and do it our own way (and fail).

It's interesting to think about a niche in the fiction world. It goes beyond genre, I think. I heard someone say at ACFW that Angela Hunt's niche (she was the keynote) is that she had no niche. *grin* None of her books are about a particular topic and she’s known for her randomness, which is pretty cool.

I *think* I have identified where I want my niche to be, and an editor at ACFW said there was a need for it and I'd found a good spot, so I took that as encouraging.

Now if I would just take your sound advice and climb out of the depths of my novel writing and figure out what to do next:-)

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Avily Jerome Left a note...

Thanks for all your resources, Terry! I always find good stuff on your blog, and it is very much appreciated!

At 8:31 AM, Blogger Angela Watkins Thomas Left a note...


I would like to thank you for taking the time to share your expertise with others.

I will be sharing this with others.



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