That is the question.

Whether you’re looking for a topic to write about or a niche to specialize in, what people do too often is think of a general topic like depression, for example and try to cover it all. But depression could stem from many things;  depression from work, entrepreneurial depression, a bad marriage, post-partum depression,  illness, Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, or addiction, to name a few. The point is that there are a lot of different reasons why somebody becomes depressed.

But it’s very difficult to be seen as an expert on such a broad topic as each one of these sub-niches requires different training, experience, and expertise. So, if someone were suffering from depression from addiction, the prescribed remedy would be different than say for someone suffering from post-partum depression where hormones play such a big role and where it is unique to women.

Plus, solopreneurs and small business owners don’t have the resources to become known as an expert on such a broad topic. When someone says, “My book (or product) is for everybody.” or ”My services are for everybody,” it’s not for anybody. It has to be more specific or it is destined to fail because they don’t have a specific clientele that they can market to. This is true whether you are writing a book,  just getting started and picking a niche to specialize in, or thinking of switching niches.

And it’s especially important when you think about your advertising budget. If you run ads that are not targeted to a specific market, you are going to end up paying for a lot of clicks from people who are not interested in what you offer, which can quickly burn a hole in your advertising budget.

You could also confuse the market; if you don’t speak to a group specifically; all markets may not get that your product, program or service is designed for them, so they will choose to go with someone else who does speak directly to them. So, not having a specific market to advertise to, and/or not having a focused message could cost you book sales and other business revenue or even put you out of business! And that is why it is often important to consider sub-niching.

When you sub-niche, people who need the solution to the specific problem that you solve will start reaching out to you, once you are visible and have built trust and rapport, when they have that problem because you are exactly the person that they need to help them resolve their situation. But most people don’t think that way because they want to help as many people as they can, not realizing that the way they are going about it is destined to fail.

Also, they may feel that they need to speak in general terms so anyone can buy their book and hire them, especially if they need the money, which, ironically, will lead to fewer sales and less money, if they can even stay in business. And sometimes, even a sub-niche is too general. For instance, look at stress management. One person may write about or teach yoga for stress management while another specializes in Qi Gong and still another in meditation, three completely different disciplines to solve the same problem, all requiring completely different expertise and book topics.

The way to determine whether you need to sub-niche is to look at the market share.  One way to do this is to use a keyword-research tool and see how many people are looking for a solution for the general category.  If it’s getting over 100,000 in clicks or volume (different sites measure this differently) the category is too general.  So again, to go back to our example of depression, as I’m writing this article, depression has a volume of 349,836 in Wordtracker.(There are many keyword tools, but this is the main one I use. I also use Ubber Suggest.) depression far exceeds the 100,000 mark, whereas clinical depression is 116,411 and post-partum depression is 69,629 in Wordtracker.

Now, 116.411 is not that far above 100,000 so if that were something of interest to you, I would not rule it out. These are general guidelines, they are not set in stone. On the other hand, you need a large enough volume of clicks or volume to get enough customers and/or clients to make money.  I look for clicks or volume with a minimum of 33,000. However, having said that, occasionally you will find an obscure niche or sub-niche that makes money but has a lower number than that.

The way I discover that is usually by checking out what is selling in Clickbank. (You can find this out by going to Clickbank Reports or studying the stats in Clickbank. (You can search by gravity, which will lead you to these types of anomalies as well.) But, a good example right now is the New Battery Reconditioning Course, which is #8 in Clickbank but gets zero clicks in Wordtracker or Ubber Suggest.

And sometimes, the topic is broad like “niche” which has a volume of 272, 289, but there aren’t any sub-niches under that keyword.  In that case, you would have to explore further to find out what other words people are looking up that would ultimately get them the same result, which I will discuss in another blog post.

So, when you’re thinking about finding a niche, don’t just think about a general topic. Do your homework and find a potentially lucrative niche, sub-niche or sub-sub niche for whatever you are trying to achieve if it is a topic with many facets, and think about how you can narrow your focus down to cater to that market and your marketing efforts will be much more rewarding and profitable.

Need help narrowing down your book topic? I’m offering a limited number of complimentary coaching sessions to help you narrow down your topic and zero in on your best target market so you write the book that your market wants to buy! To get started go to and once you fill it out, someone will get back to you and let you know the next step. 

Ellen Violette helps busy creative visionaries, leaders and changemakers, write, publish, launch to #1 bestseller, and market their book to get more clients, make more money, make a bigger impact, and leave a lasting legacy.  Ellen Violette is an award-winning book and business coach, multiple #1 bestselling author, podcast host, CEO of Create a Splash Marketing & Grammy-nominated songwriter.