[Feature photo: Les Haines]
If you really want to make it as a writer you must decide on the niche you want to write in.
If you have never thought about your niche target, consider it well, as without it you won’t know what audience to target.
Writing is a service industry. Your readers are your customers, your writing is your product and you — or rather, your online you — are the company. And like any company, you have to know who your target market is in order to get your product into the hands of that group.
Whenever you have a story idea, it might help to ask yourself these questions:
If these questions seem overwhelming, here’s an easier question: What do you enjoy reading? You will write better stories in the niche that you enjoy reading.
This sounds obvious, simple even. And it is. But you wouldn’t believe how many students write stories they have absolutely no interest in.
You may be wondering, “How do you know they’re not interested?”
It’s simple: The passion just doesn’t come through in the words, the story, the characters. There’s no excitement, no curiosity.
Which brings us back to your niche. If you want to be a travel writer, for instance, you’ll want to read a lot of travel stories. Again, this sounds obvious, but a lot of travel writing students just don’t.
If you are one of the few willing to do what it takes, you will know how to write travel stories because you will know what they are. You will be able to say, “I like the stories of Author X more than Author Y, but I like the way Author Y uses voice…” or whatever. In other words, you will have a firm grasp of the product.
An informed reader will borrow specific things they like from other authors, and apply them to their own writing. The more you read in your genre, the more you’ll become aware of what is a good story — and what isn’t.
It’s a process, but the more you do it, the more likely you’ll stay within your genre, establish your niche and give your readers what they want.