(Powerpoint Presentation available at end of article after May 19th)
You have talents. You want to make money. You have ideas…maybe so many ideas that you can’t figure out where to start.
How do you find ways of converting thoughts to cash?
Whether your aim is to write articles, stories or books, you can focus your work in such a way as to capture interest by marrying your own experiences with what various segments of the population wish to know.
Do you write romance? mysteries? science fiction? So do a LOT of other people. What would help you capture a portion of these markets for yourself? There are several popular cozy mysteries with clever and interesting gimmicks, for instance:
- Susan Albert Wittig writes mysteries with herbal titles (and recipes!)
- Lillian Jackson Braun’s “The Cat Who...” is a delightful series starring a news reporter and his Siamese cat, Koko.
- The Miss Fisher Mysteries are written in Australia in the 1920’s with a wealthy flapper as the lead. The setting adds a great deal of depth to the storyline.
Although the majority of magazines focus on a specific topic, they are always looking for new information or a new angle on that topic. Garden magazines may have published a hundred stories on the best ways for senior citizens to raise tomatoes, but they will run another one if it is interesting and from a fresh point of view.
Did you know that if you write a lot of stories on one topic, you can combine all those stories into a book? Rose Marie Kern has had over 1,000 articles published on various elements of aviation. Her book, Air to Ground, is a compilation of all those articles and is very popular with flight instructors, new students, and aviation groups around the nation.
So how do you find niches that you are comfortable with writing about? Some people focus their whole lives on one thing – others enjoy multitasking. You need to objectively look at yourself and your life to determine what are things that other people admire about you? What things do you know so well you don’t even think about them as something others might enjoy?
Start by creating categories describing the basic elements of a person’s existence: Career/Jobs, Avocations, Passions, Hobbies, Activities, Places you’ve been, Talents. Include things you may have experienced that are not in the normal realm such as: Have you every been physically attacked? Do you work with physically challenged people? Have you experienced a natural disaster up close and personal?
Write those elements in boxes surrounding a central box, then see if you can determine how they can be used in your writing. Say you grew up in a big loving family on a Hoosier farmland then got a job that transferred you to the New Mexico desert where you were all alone working for a boss that is into something shady.., what on your chart can you add to the tale to round out your character and her experiences?
Click here for a blank chart: experience chart
Rose’s Experience Chart
This chart is especially helpful for writing short stories and articles for magazines. Under Hobbies – you see Dogs/Corgies. If you have pets, I guarantee you’ve been entertained – write about it! You may have a gift for crochet or knitting, a special story connected to the baby blankets you’ve made for family, or hospital baby wards.
There are dozens of magazines devoted to craft beers, recipes, woodworking, hunting etc….all of them are looking for a new point of view. Books, articles, stories…people like familiar topics, but they want a fresh viewpoint.
You could just engage your talent with one kind of writing…but why restrict yourself? You can choose to be productive on many levels in many directions You can create multiple streams of income.
Click here for the .pdf of Rose Marie Kern’s presentation on Niche markets
Given May 19th via Zoom during a SouthWest Writers meeting.