Monday, April 11, 2011

Don't Niche Me Out

Yes the title is ungrammatical, but apt, as is the poster for the next signing of "An Eclectic Collage" next Saturday in Eagle, Idaho.I'm one of the contributors to "An Eclectic Collage" with both an article on exercise and several recipes.The Collage contains, well a collage of writing: short stories, poetry, articles and yes, recipes!

Which brings up the reason for this post. There's been a lot of e-talk about writers needing niches in this new world to succeed. Why? Because a niche becomes a brand which becomes the impetus for traffic to your publications. Of course, that seems to make sense. But I resist it. Why? See above. I'm one of those writers who are the definition of "eclectic." I like to write almost anything (even a little bit of bad poetry from time to time) and while I'm sorta/kinda in the genre (mystery, horror, fantasy) camp, some of my best short stories have been literary.

It feels like a niche would cut off some of my writing arms, to my dismay. Doesn't "niche" mean restricted to a small space? Or does it? Perhaps it just means that I'm a writer obsessed with dead things and bright shiny objects (many long stories, and short ones too, although not so much in my articles and recipes) and that's my niche. Now all I need to do is let readers know, right? Or?

What do you think? Is a niche like a brand or completely different? Is it a good thing...or maybe too constricting ala the writers who are forced to write books in the same series...forever. Or just another tool to get your words to the readers?

And those of you who live close to Eagle, hope to see you Saturday!


Kathy McIntosh said...

Important question.
Many authors who write in a variety of genres go so far as to use pseudonyms, so readers looking for the book by an author they enjoy won't be disappointed with the switch. That creates big branding issues.
A niche is not a brand. It is a shelf where you put your brand and hope yours catches eyes. But I agree that the tendency to create smaller and more restricted niches can cut off at least a few writing fingers.
See you Saturday!

Jim Murdoch said...

A brand is the identity of a specific product, service, or business. A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing. So they are different. A brand may cover a host of products - Virgin is a brand - but not all those products will appeal to the same demographic.

Enid Wilson said...

I think niche is good, a brand, a specialty too.

Conda Douglas said...

Kathy, good comments--but I believe the old way of looking for books by author name may be shifting in this electronic world.

Conda Douglas said...

Jim, thanks for your explanation--really helped clear up my confusion!

Conda Douglas said...

Enid--yes, advertising the work with brand and niche, etc. is good, but what if we need pseudonyms--and then have to promote all of those names?! Where does a writer find the time?

Laura said...

For me, niche - rather than meaning pigeon-holed means specialised. It rings of in depth knowledge of a specific area rather than fenced in...

But I also love that there are writers like who who are all encompassing - what an achievement! The renaissance writer!
Great to meet you