Why Worrying about Genre is Holding You Back

This post by Nick Stephenson originally appeared on his site on 10/29/14.

I get a lot of emails from other authors who are struggling to gain momentum on their titles. Some of these authors have dozens of books out for sale (one industrious chap even had 70+) but sales aren’t where they’d like them. The main reasons I hear about?

My book is in an unpopular genre.” Or, “Advice about book marketing doesn’t apply to my books. They’re too obscure.

I get it, I really do. You’ve written something totally outside of the traditional idea of BISAC codes (the genre categories the ISBN companies use) and you’re not sure there’s a market. You’re more interested in writing for yourself first. And that’s cool. But it doesn’t mean there’s no audience.

Hell, if you can get ONE person to read your book, there’s nothing stopping you from getting a thousand. Or ten thousand. Or a million. I’m yet to see a genre of book that doesn’t have an audience large enough to sustain a decent income. But you’ve got to make it easy for readers to find out about your work. And this is where the 80/20 principle comes in. Here’s what I mean:

The 80/20 rule in a nutshell: what’s the 20% of effort that leads to 80% of results? What’s the 80% of effort that leads to 20% of the results? The exact percentages are flexible, but you get the point. Here’s an example:


Read the full post on Nick Stephenson’s site.