Expanding A Niche

Over the past year, I’ve explored many areas to write about. I’ve pitched and I’ve queried. I’ve seized opportunities and missed others. I’ve thrown a lot at the wall, and tried to analyse what stuck.

I started out by trying to write in a few broad areas that I had an interest in: cycling, social justice, and history/myth/legend. I’ve had articles published in all those areas. But of those three, it’s the cycling niche that has really taken off.

There are a few reasons for this: the Olympics must have helped, for one. I discovered a magazine that had a light-hearted approach to new cyclists, which chimed with me, and now I write regularly for Cycling Active. The amazing success of cycling generally has brought it into the consciousness of many. And I’m a woman – a niche within a niche, I’m afraid. And I write with a comedic edge, which seems to be in demand.

But the thing about niches is this: they are small. I read most of the other cycling magazines on the market, and while I enjoy them, I have yet to break into any of them. Cycling Weekly and Cycling Plus are “aspirational” as far as my own level of cycling is concerned. “Ride” and “Cyclist” are way out of my league. At the moment. (Nothing wrong with having aims, and I WILL get into at least one of those this year. Why not?)

So I need to jimmy open my comfortable niche, and I’m looking at broadening into the arena of women’s health and fitness. I’ve been looking at the available magazines – there is a wide variety, and it would be foolish of me to just ping some ideas to the first one on the newsagents’ shelf. They really do differ in tone and approach. Some are shallow and vacuous, with endless articles about weight loss. Others have surprised me. The covers all look the same but some have interesting content and a far more refreshing attitude than I’d expected. Those are the ones I could gel with. Sure, I could write anything for anything – but I would rather write something that means something to me. Positive body image, useful fitness, and a spirit of adventure motivate me far more than Beach Body In Ten Days By Eating String.

Beyond that…. well, another current favourite magazine is Outdoor Fitness. The stories in there are pure adrenaline, with a mix of articles about adventurers and explorers side by side with real people doing amazing things. So there’s another potential market, if I can keep my eyes open for stories that would fit.

I’m quite excited about the future, and the new challenges I’m facing this year. So if I go quiet for a few weeks, just assume I’m caving in Mongolia or something. (Tax deductible!)

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