The Secret to Successful Book Planning? Knowing Your Niche

When it comes to successful book planning, one thing stands out above all else. Knowing your niche. Now you may well be shouting at me right now. I know my niche, Steph! I’m a business owner. Don’t insult me!

But just hear me out. 

Writing a book is tough. It requires you to dig deep and draw on all your resources. Yes, you may well have a niche that you work in on a daily basis, but the niche your book sits in might be slightly different. If you really want to be seen as an expert, getting this bit right is vital.

In this post, we’ll explore how you can be certain about the niche you’re writing in and why it’s such a benefit to have clarity before you write a single word.

Knowing your niche – the benefits

As author and entrepreneur Pat Flynn once wrote, ‘The riches are in the niches…’ And to some extent, he’s right. But you’re not writing a book for the riches. You’re writing it because you have something valuable to say. Because you’re an expert in a particular area and you want to share that knowledge and expertise with a wider audience.

And the best bit? People love experts. Writing a book instantly raises your profile to expert status. You have expertise in a niche area and, therefore, you become instantly recognisable. Think of the books you’ve read by experts; no doubt they’ve changed your life in some way. You can be that person for someone too.

As soon as you’re seen as an expert, people want more of you. Whether it’s through interviews or consulting, working with an expert has appeal. If Brené Brown offered to work with me on courage and vulnerability, I’d snap that up in a heartbeat. Writing a book is no mean feat and people respect that too.

Digging deeper is important

You’re probably already pretty aware of the theme or topic of your book. But it’s worth digging a little deeper. Really looking at your niche to ensure it isn’t too broad or too narrow.

To be fair, it’s quite difficult to become too narrow. Often, the more narrow your book topic, the better. Author and marketing expert, Seth Godin, agrees – ‘Obsessively specialise. No niche is too small if it’s yours.’ And he’s right. People like to read things in detail. When you think about search terms on Google, you tend to be pretty specific in what you’re seeking information about. It’s the only way to get the answer you need.

If you’re too broad with your niche topic, you won’t cover anything in particular detail. There’s nothing worse for a reader than reading something that is a bit wishy-washy, where the author has clearly tried to cram in too much information about too many aspects of a niche. You then become something of a generalist. Nobody wants to read or work with generalists.

Successful book planning – niche down

When planning your book, it’s time to get crystal clear on your niche. It makes outlining so much easier. Here are a couple of examples of how I’ve used niching when writing previous books. Hopefully, you’ll find that they give you a better understanding of how important it can be. 

  • Keeping Bums in Seats – my first book for teachers

When I first thought about writing a book for early career teachers (ECTs), I realised starting teaching is a huge topic – and terribly broad. From behaviour management and managing parents to teacher wellbeing and managing time, there were so many different aspects I had to cover.

It was then I realised something. If I tried to cover all those huge topics in one book, it wouldn’t do them justice. I would probably dedicate a chapter to each, therefore only skimming the surface of the issues at hand. So I decided to look at the topics within the broad niche of being an ECT and create separate books on some of the biggest themes.

During the process of writing my latest book, I had a similar epiphany. This time, it was during the first draft – I realised my chapter on habits and productivity was becoming the biggest one by far. Something my editor also noticed during subsequent revisions. With so much knowledge about habits, I was in danger of going into too much detail about something that wasn’t the niche/focus of the book – how to write non-fiction. 

It has, however, given me the subject of my next book… so watch this space!


Never be afraid to write to a narrow audience about a specific topic. If it speaks to them, they will want to read it. You wouldn’t buy a generic book on parenting if you were particularly struggling with moody teenagers or tantrumming toddlers. You’d look for a specific book about your specific problem.

Writing about a big topic might feel like the ‘safe’ option when you first start planning your book, but it can get a little unwieldy when you start to write it. The tighter and more focused you can be, the easier it is to write.

So look at your book idea and think about how big the topic is. Can you trim it down into something tighter and more detailed so your reader comes away feeling satisfied?

After all, it’s all about them – but you know that, right?

If you need further support with nailing your niche, why not book in for a Power Hour with me? We can work together to make sure you’re fully clear about who you’re writing for and what you’re writing about. Contact me for more information.

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