This research stuff is harder than I thought! I’m not sure if I’ve found a niche, or just become more confused.
The first thing I did was go to Amazon.com and check on the Kindle store for my topics, including with variations on wording. So I looked up teen fantasy and got a lot of books I wasn’t really expecting–like fantasies involving teens or teens having fantasies, as well as books for young children. Next I used Amazon’s indexing tools and found a “teen” category, with all sorts of subtopics. I decided to see what the Teen default would bring back, and I got some interesting results. It seems teens are really into fantasy worlds, dystopian fairy tales, and both fiction and non-fiction involving abused teens and teens with real-world problems, such as cancer and alcoholism. Interestingly, the books appear to strongly cluster, so that the greatest interest is pretty clearly in fantasy, then fairy tales, and finally problems. This is true even if the current rage–The Hunger Games trilogy–and the low-on-the-top-100-list Twilight series are ignored.
OK. Teen fantasy is a real possibility.
Next, I tried “dissertation” as my search term. Altogether, there are only 241 epublications in this area, and almost all of them are digitized versions of hard-copy books. Hmm… maybe an active blog and a few short publications are possibilities.
Classroom management brought back almost 900 publications, most in both hard-copy and electronic format. ESL and ELL returned fewer than 200 overall, and only 10 for adults. So, another possibility. Combinations of reading comprehension, reading for special education, and reading for ESL/ELL were dominated by the ESL/ELL (197 hits). Even reading comprehension yielded 91 publications of which more than half were for English language learners. Training kicked back almost 12,000 titles, including 133 blogs and 9 magazines; and entrepreneurship was second in popularity among all adult non-fiction books, and seventh in all electronic books.
ESL/ELL is hot, but not for adults. I wonder if this is because of all the free and low-cost courses that are offered in cities. With all the people immigrating to the U.S., ESL for adults should be as popular a topic as for kids in school. Maybe this is because so many immigrant adults have been exposed to English in whatever country they were educated. This may be a good niche if I can narrow it further.
That gives me 3 pretty strong possibilities for now: teen fantasy, dissertation advice, and ESL/ELL for adults. Writing for teens is too time-consuming as a start, so I’ll leave that for later. English language themes need further investigation. But dissertations–well, I’m already working with a bunch of students on formulating them and writing them, and I’m hearing a lot about different problems and difficulty in understanding, not to mention general frustration. That is, I can write about getting through a dissertation right now!
I believe I can safely say I have found my niche. (big smile)
Back to the how-to books!
One more thing–I did check on books at Books On Board and eBooks. The results were similar to each other but qualitatively different from Amazon. First, there were more non-fiction books in the top sellers on these sites. Second, biographies seemed to be more represented than books on starting a business or even becoming self-assertive. If I were an elitist, I’d say that, except for current NY Times best sellers, they are more high-brow than Amazon or Apple. However, they are easier to navigate is someone is interested in a distinct topic or subject. And since my goal is to publish for the Kindle, I will stick with what’s popular at Amazon.
Now it’s back to the two Kindle publishing books.