Writing Novels for Niche Audiences (Browncoats)

brown_coats_forever_by_winter_artwork-d3cncovIt isn’t a new concept. I’ve been reading posts about it for the last year. These posts usually say things like, “Learn to identify and leverage niche audiences in your novel.” What does that mean?

Well, if you’ve written a novel about an individual who overcomes an alien abduction and goes on to become a champion marathoner before saving the human race when the aliens invade, you would not only market your book to lovers of science fiction, but also to survivors of alien abduction and to people who enjoy running marathons.

Writing a Book for Millions of Readers is Bad

It turns out, writing a book for millions of readers is a bad idea nowadays. Writing a book for the 12,863 individuals who claim to have been abducted by aliens in the last 5 years is a much better one. Now that the modern marvel known as the internet (not the inner netting of men’s swimming trunks) allows writers to market to such specific clumps of people via Facebook, etc., it makes much more sense to narrow the target audience.

Being the proactive individual I am, I asked myself, “Self, if it is good to identify niche audiences within my novel after I’ve written it, wouldn’t it be better to write my novel with specific niche audiences in mind from the beginning?”

After mixing a drink and watching the Simpsons, myself finally responded, “Yes. I believe so.”

That only left the question, which niche audience should I write for? This answer was easy. Of course I should write for a passionate niche I’m passionately a part of. And who gets more passionate than Browncoats? No one, that’s who. (Well, maybe animal rights activists. Those guys are nuts.)

So, with this in mind, I set out to write my most recent novel, First Relic. I styled the two main characters as geeky Browncoats who spend much of their time in a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) they created based on the Firefly universe. One of the characters even swears in Chinese phrases taken from the Firefly television show.

I had a blast with it. Benji (the swearing guy) ended up being one of my all time favorite characters. While the book isn’t fanfiction, nor is it specifically about Firefly or even outer space, I believe Browncoats will enjoy it as a quality science-fiction thriller as well as for all the Firefly references.

The book just released last week, and this sort of word of mouth marketing usually takes a year to bear fruit. I’ve already begun my efforts to let the Browncoat community know the book exists. In time, they will decide if it passes the high standards of the Independents. (If you want to read First Relic and throw in your two cents, follow the link.)

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