book marketing planning

Is Writing a Book that’s Popular Being a Sell-out?

Jack Kerouac, the talented writer
Jack Kerouac

I know it’s common to think of book writing as some kind of artisan thing, a Jack Kerouac at his writing desk, typing away his creative best.

But that just ain’t reality, kid.

In the real world, we must find a rising trend and a unique angle for our book. Not only for it to be looked at in the first place, but because if you don’t, you’re really only writing books for you.

That’s nice, but it doesn’t pay any bills, even the ones for your book.

As a past copywriter, I’m familiar with having to get my commercial brain into gear and research like mad. But I understand that’s not all that common. I sent a K-lytics report on hot niches to a writer friend and he was both awed and confused.

Although there is nothing wrong with that. It is extremely difficult to deduce which hot cell or hot niche would match up with your own interests, knowledge and writing style. Some writers have gotten contracts for writing Dummies guides. This in a way is easier: there is a guideline in place, the topic is already crystal clear, and the only problem is getting the 90,000 words together!

A Case of ‘Potted Publicity’

Let’s take a case study of Australian copywriter and author, Bernadette Schwerdt. (Google suggest thinks I want her net worth, no thank you).

Isn’t it funny that the click-bait story about her early success of Australian Copywriting School (now long gone) was written up in 2018, as she launched her book: ‘How to Build an Online Business? Of course, it’s no coincidence.

She also wrote ‘Secrets of Online Entrepreneurs’ (2016). But why later on?  Why not in 2009, right after her ‘overnight success’?

One could speculate that’s because you can hardly create and run a copywriting school as well as write amazing books. (Published by Wiley). Except that isn’t all she has done. She has been a lecturer at three universities; executive producer of a Fairfax Digital online TV show (on online entrepreneurship); contributor to BRW, Mamma-mia, B&T, Fin Review, etc; was marketing reporter for a TV show called Small Business Secrets, has done acting as well… and has created six online courses.

Some people make you wonder where they get the time, don’t they? 

I don’t think that Bernadette ever considered writing up her online school experiences was selling-out. It was simply collating the information in a tidy package and launching it at the right time, i.e. when more people have access to tools to enable them to open an online store, course, or craft venture.

Forming a Commercial Book-Selling Strategy

A book that helped me have a more commercial mindset as a book writer (after just ‘winging it’ for ten years), is the Author Training Manual.

Most busy people won’t have the patience to read it through and implement it, no doubt. But I have taken pieces of information and let that guide parts of this Academy’s resources and my own coaching.

Competitive Title research and Comparative Title research is one of the most difficult but most interesting parts of that book. You may notice that Wiley’s form (if you deign to apply) contains sections that are similar: as a non-fiction writer, you are expected to know your niche market very well.

Comparative is when you are checking other books which are not in the same category but are similar in nature, e.g. a Book Marketing guidebook would be comparative not competitive to the Author Training Manual.

There is another post I wrote on finding your hot niche.

Here’s a Free Bestseller Tip

You can write a book on the topic of your choice, but angle it toward a hot niche category.

So, you can still get out your niggles with the world—or your creatively told tale of someone’s life—and manage to angle it towards, say, ‘feminism today versus 1880’ or ‘keeping Australia beautiful by living in tiny homes’ or ‘inspiring young business minds in their spare time’. An angle that thousands of people are not already talking about, in other words. Then from that angle, look for the niche.

Keeping Australia beautiful topic is placed in GREEN AND ECO LIVING category, probably.

Inspiring young business minds – SELF-HELP: YOUTH: INSPIRATION/MOTIVATION, probably.

These three angles are all too easy to tie in with specific stories usually hot in the media. Like getting the kids off their mobiles and into something good.

Speaking of selling-out, have you heard about ‘Creative Ways with Money…? a book & eBook out in Feb 2020. It’s written by this crazy Australian who loves to investigate scams, spruikers, Bitcoin, Uber, and barter. It’s third in my ‘Know Your Finances’ series, right after ‘Create Your New Life of Abundance’.

Are you struggling with all the tasks of self-publishing? Then please have a go at trialling our Book Creation Success club. It is risk-free.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Alice Gerard

    As a person who is just getting started in the art of writing a book, I find all of this information to be very helpful. And, no, I don’t think that getting paid for the work of writing a book is selling out! Thank you for the encouragement! I’m excited about writing a book!

  2. Anne

    Hot niche books are here to stay and there is nothing wrong with that! Nice article explaining how it’s done!

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