A niche market, IMHO, is a much smaller venue where you will be readily recognized, welcomed and accepted without judgment. In other words, where you have credibility—either earned on your own or borrowed from someone who HAS earned credibility.Sarah Weinman has an article in today's Los Angeles Times here about the not-so-happily-after-ever ending of The Shack's success.
A perfect example of what I’m talking about is the recently published best-seller The Shack. Author William P. Young wrote the small book as evidence of his Christian faith and to inspire his family and friends. He showed it to a well-known Christian writer who introduced him to a well-known pastor. The three decided to self-publish the thin volume after Young could not interest a major publishing house.
While Young had no credibility in the Christian market himself, his two partners did. They sent copies of The Shack to influential Christian friends, tapping into the niche market to which they were already connected. Word-of-mouth spread and book sales grew. People bought copies for their friends who, in turn, referred the book to their own friends. The book has been a phenomenal success, and the Hachette Book Group has now secured the rights. (post from August 8, 2008)
In November, William Paul Young went to Ventura County State Court where he sued his partners, Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings, who counter-sued him. Young also included Hachette and Windblown, the partner's self-publishing company, in his lawsuit. And Hachette has gotten into the act, filing its own lawsuit in federal court. Hachette argues that the proper venue for these suits is federal court. I assume this is because federal law governs copyright.
For nearly eight months, the trio have been mired in a series of lawsuits, accusations flying over improper accounting practices, millions of dollars in missing royalties, contract breaches and copyright disputes. Hachette, meanwhile, just wants to know to whom it owes money — and how much.Young's deal with Windblown gives him an author's royalty of a dollar each for hardcover copies of The Shack and 50 cents for paperback copies. This is a lower-than-usual author's royalty. However, he also earns a third of the net profits of Windblown.
According to Weinman, Young is complaining that Windblown, Hachette and his partners "got 'more and more creative' in determining his royalties, including an attempt to exclude nearly 40% of sales by designating them 'high discount sales,' such as those earned from book clubs or giveaway programs."
For their part, Jacobsen and Cummings are claiming that they had to do so much editing of the manuscript they originally saw that they deserve co-author credit.
Stay tuned ...