Becoming a successful author requires you to accept the discipline of focus: first the focus of setting goals, and then the focus of developing and using the skills needed to achieve them.

Once you prove you can write a successful novel or nonfiction book, publishers will pay you to write about whatever interests you. The prospect of getting paid to dabble in new fields of knowledge with every book may make you feel like a kid in a candy store.

However, unless one of your literary goals is to be free to write whatever kind of book you fancy, storming the beachhead of a different market with every novel or nonfiction book you write is not the most direct route to becoming a successful author. Synergy isn’t possible because different kinds of books won’t sell each other.

You may have the desire and ability to write books about history, food and sports, but that doesn’t mean readers who enjoy reading about baseball and the history of France will want to read about how to make guacamole. You can’t count on readers who garden to buy books about travel or computers. You can’t rely on sci-fi fans to buy romance novels.


Nichecraft is the name we use for the literary alchemy of spinning ideas into gold. Pick a niche in a subject that you will remain eager to write about and promote and make nichecraft the heart of your strategy for success.

Every book you can write can help sell every other book you write. Make synergy one of your objectives. The more books you write on the subject, the more copies they will all sell, along with the products and services based on them. Just as you can build a house brick by brick, nichecraft is the easiest, simplest, fastest way we know for you to build a career, book by book.

Nichecraft also makes it easier for you to focus your attention on authors, books, other media and speaking opportunities in the field you want to enter. You have to assess its long-term prospects and convince your networks and yourself that you will enjoy being part of it.

The idea of nichecraft is worth many times the price of this book. It’s as logical and powerful as it is simple, and it works as well for Sue Grafton, who is writing her way through the alphabet, as it does for Jay, who laid the foundation for a virtually endless series of books that are needed by more people in more places in more kinds of businesses every day.

Our certainty that practicing nichecraft will make you a successful author can’t guarantee that you will be able to sell your books or that they will sell well enough to warrant more books in the series. But the unpredictability of publishing is part of what makes the business exciting and keeps publishing people open to new authors and new ideas.

Reprinted from “Rick Frishman‘s Author101 Newsletter”
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