I'm all for niche marketing and know that by identifying your niche market and selling to you it you can create a dedicated audience that will then buzz a book (or movie, or music or even soap or beer) to a wider audience.
But not to the exclusion of any other marketing.
But it does happen in publishing. And when it does not only does the writer suffer from over identification with the niche but the reader suffers by not being exposed to a range of possible choices. For instance, I know quite a few authors who had pink cartoon covers slapped on their novels to make them look like chick lit even when the books clearly were not. It not only killed the books but the bad sales hurt the author’s next sale.
Another example is a little more complicated.
In looking through the catalogs and reading about the upcoming books for the spring, summer and fall one of the things I've been noticing is that it seems like everything written by black authors is being published as black fiction by black imprints. And that compared to debut fiction there are fewer black debut hardcovers. (I'm all for debut fiction being in trade or mass across the board by the way, I think it’s easier to take a chance on a writer you don't know for $13 than $26. But there's a discrepancy here it seems.)
I'd like to open the blog and invite authors, publishers, or editors to weigh in on this one.
Is this a good thing because more authors are getting published due to the imprints existing and the market growing? Is it a bad thing because there's a ghetto effect -- the writers aren't being read by anyone outside of the niche? What are the pros and cons? Other issues?
If I was still a journalist I'd do the work myself here and interview a few dozen people and report back, but I'm in the middle of finishing up a novel. So hopefully a journalist reading this will find this a worthwhile topic - or will point me to any articles that have been written about it recently. I goggled it last night and couldn't find anything that was written recently.
Please write me at MJRoseAuthor@aol.com if you have an essay/post you'd like me to put up on the blog about the benefits/dangers/issues relating to this. Or just feel free to use the comments section.