Do I Need a Blogging Niche?

Posted February 25, 2016 in A Novel Natter / 13 Comments

Do I Need a Blogging Niche? My Novel Opinion

I’d be lying to you if I said I was happy with my blog as it is. Slow growth, probably only a handful of regular readers. I started My Novel Opinion for me, but I have visions of being a resource for readers. Offering author interviews, writing tips and showcasing upcoming book releases. I’ve been pondering what steps I should take to reach this goal, and so have found myself reading a lot of blogging tips.

One common piece of advice is:

Identify your Audience

Create a persona. Give them a name, an age, a home. Ask what this person wants to read. Target blog posts to this person. They go on to say, in order to identify your audience you first should identify your niche.

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Isn’t Book Blogging my Niche?

Well, yes and no. While book blogging is a niche within the blogging world, I don’t have a niche within that. There are YA bloggers, Sci-Fi/Fantasy bloggers, Romance bloggers and Non-Fiction bloggers. If you visit such blogs it is clear what their focus is. From the blog design to the content.

What Could My Niche Be?

I’ve always said that I’m an eclectic reader. I read a bit of everything. But do I? I mean really? I read Stephen King, but I don’t like horror. I read John Grisham but I don’t recall ever reading any other legal thrillers. I read Sophie Kinsella but I don’t gravitate to other chick-lit.

With the exception of King and the occasional Grisham (and I preordered the upcoming Joe Hill), I don’t read many male authors. Not including Stephen King, I only read 3 books written by men last year. And of the 15 books I’ve read so far this year, only one was male-authored.

So it’s clear that I prefer female authors. Perhaps even female main characters (I didn’t keep stats on that but from memory the majority of the books centered around female characters). What genres do I enjoy reading?

Looking at the books I enjoyed over the past couple of years, they seem to primarily fall under the women’s fiction category. I occasionally go on a suspense binge or pick up something more literary, even the odd historical fiction book. When I do stray out of women’s fiction, the books tend to still feature female main characters.

Should my Niche be Women’s Fiction?

That would be the obvious way to go. But do I really want to only be associated with one genre? Would it look out of place if I featured some historical fiction? That’s probably a bad example since it could still be a female-driven novel, just not contemporary.

This is what I have been toying with over the past couple of days. Going back and forth on whether or not I should re-focus primarily on women’s fiction books, but I don’t want to not feature the suspense novels I’ve recently been devouring. Would those look strange if I advocated a focus elsewhere? So would it be more advantageous to emphasize female-authored fiction? All of these questions have been spinning around in my head, merging into one another, and I’m no clearer on what I want to do.

Would there be more opportunity to grow if I honed in on a blogging niche?

Feel free to weigh in if you have any thoughts on the matter. Good or bad.

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Do I Need a Blogging Niche? My Novel Opinion

 

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13 responses to “Do I Need a Blogging Niche?

  1. I appreciate your dilemma. I read tips about blogging too. I have Google Analysis hooked to my blog and recently learned that most viewers of my blog are in my age group. It makes sense. In my About page I start with – I am retired. However, I do try to reach out to a younger audience sometimes too. I don’t think focusing on one genre would work for me. The best advice I read lately was – do what works and have fun. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

  2. I can relate to what you have said here, and while I too would describe my reading tastes as eclectic, there are some genres that I read more widely than the others, but I guess that is the case with most people. As far as I am concerned, I want my blog to represent and reflect my reading life completely, and that is why I am hesitant to narrow it down based on genre.

  3. For the most part, I prefer to follow bloggers who read eclectically, because I do too, although I will follow bloggers who focus on a single genre if I really love their blog. Personally, I have tried to increase the number of nonfiction focused events on my blog, because that’s something that I enjoy; that I think makes my blog unique; and that I’d like to see more of online. I’ve really enjoyed that and I do think it’s led to some great new interactions with other bloggers. However, I still write about whatever I’m reading and that can vary widely. So, I guess I think you could choose to specialize as much or as a little as you want and whatever you enjoy, there will be other bloggers who enjoy the same things and who will love what you’re doing 🙂

  4. I know I am probably the exception to the rule, but I tend to avoid niche bloggers. I like to stick with those bloggers whose tastes are as varied and wide-spread as mine are. I don’t read just one genre, so I would not want to follow a blog who only covers one genre. So, I guess you have to ask yourself if what you would gain by narrowing your focus offsets what you currently have as an eclectic reader and then ask whether that gain (or loss) is worth it.

  5. I think you should read and write about what you enjoy. You don’t want to give up reading books you’d like just because your audience might not like them. You should be able to write about what you want. I think that’s more important than how many people are reading your posts.

    I follow a lot of book blogs, and I like when I get a sense of the type of writing people like, not necessarily the genre. Then I know I can trust their judgment, and I might read outside of my comfort zone because of their recommendations. I’d focus more on the type of writing style you like and not the genres. For example, I enjoy books with a good plot and not just character driven stories. I don’t much care what the genre is.

  6. I think that a lot of us begin with a niche in mind and then our blogs evolve or migrate to something a little different or quite different. For me, I’m no longer posting only about books or films relating to my 100 fictional characters. I still hit on my original theme but I’m more likely to just post on what I’m reading or ARC books that interest me. Your niche may not be something easy to pigeonhole but just reflects your taste in fiction. I’ve always loved your blog’s name! That tells the story.

  7. You could try doing fiction by women primarily, but still discuss other books as a means to compare. For example, you could analyze the way women are represented in those other books. Really, I guess my suggestion is that to find a niche, you needn’t necessarily limit your reading. You could instead come up with a theme about the way you will assess the books, to tie it all together. For example, I love this theme: http://onelittlelibrary.com/literary-wives/

    I’m not saying limit yourself to that theme (obviously), but a theme like that might help tie things together for you, without limiting your reading. Or you could even just play a game of sorts — in the hunt for your favorite novel, you compare certain facets of every novel you read, looking for the ultimate champion! Ha! Well, there are ways to create a central theme on your blog without limiting yourself to a single genre. If you read a lot of fiction by women, it’s likely you can write discussion posts talking about why, or compare a good read of Dickens to your usual fair & contemplate why you lean toward the fiction by women. Etc, and so forth.

    I’m not sure if I’ve helped. Good luck!

    (I hadn’t read everyone else’s remarks: I agree with them. I don’t personally care if someone has a niche. I just care of they like the kinds of books I like. I certainly don’t limit myself to a genre.) 🙂

  8. I think this is a great question and I’ve asked myself this many times…since my reading tends to be a little all over the place. I think about other bloggers I love and I can easily label them (X is super literary and comes up with the most creative post ideas, X is into Grit Lit, X is into super weird books, X is into nonfiction, etc), but I could never really label myself.
    What I ended up with is that your niche doesn’t have to be genre based. It could be your voice or your writing style or the types of features you like to post. For example, I love categorizing books and making lists, so I try to do that a lot. I also love sports and sports books, so sports talk shows up in my posts and sports books on my blog. But, who knows, really?!
    Also, Lory at Emerald City Book Review wrote a great post about this awhile back and there are a ton of insightful comments if you want to check it out:
    http://emeraldcitybookreview.com/2015/11/do-i-need-a-niche.html

  9. Whenever I go through blogging groups and courses, “books” is never a blogging niche. It’s a bit disheartening knowing that there are sooo many book bloggers out there that we aren’t considered our own niche, or are a very small one. I don’t think you need a niche, of course you probably know i’d say that given that my blog covers many things. I think your passion and voice comes through and pigeon holing yourself into a niche because you think you need to be in one is the wrong reason to do it. I like the FB group Blogging on Your Own Terms, it helps define your unique voice and how to make that heard in a chaotic blogosphere.

  10. I’ve found that our niches tend to involve over time as well. I started with freebies and deals and it turned into personal finance and saving money, and now there is some minimalism thrown in!

  11. Such a great question! I don’t know that I have a niche, but I do have a tendency towards certain types of books and I think people have come to expect it, which certainly isn’t the same as limiting myself to them. If I did have a niche, it would probably change every few months. The one nice thing about reading eclectically is that we get to meet all sorts of new people and gain new and unexpected followers.

  12. I totally understand where you are coming from. I have wondered the same thing about my blog before as well. Although I read mostly young adult, I also read graphic novels for all ages and a handful of adult novels every year. Not to mention that I read all kinds of different genres, although like you sometimes it is more of a specific author then a whole genre. I kind of like not fitting into a niche even if a lot of people say your blog should have one. I agree with Allison above, it is fun to meet all kinds of different readers with a blog like ours. I wouldn’t fret. But you could always do a women’s fiction niche and then do monthly spotlight posts on other books you have read outside of that genre, or something like that. Have a wonderful week!

  13. I much prefer bloggers who are eclectic readers instead of those who only read one genre. But not only that, I prefer when a blogger doesn’t just post reviews, but discussions, or posts outside of bookish things. Maybe it’s because I’ve become a new mom in the past few years and I love reading motherhood posts, or crafting posts, or just posts about you, the blogger, that connect me to you, more than a review would. I do think that reading all over the place attracts more readers on the blog because there’s something for everyone to enjoy. I only have a handful of readers, it seems, but I like it like that. I have time to dedicate to each reader when they comment and actually try to build friendships with them. I think it’s totally fine to be niche-less!

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