It is happening everywhere: NICHING.
Like TV niches: if you are on the right, you go to FOX. On the left, MSNBC. CBS, NBC and ABC Networks are fading. They are generalists. TV channels are increasingly specialized: Food, fishing, fashion, biggest losers, biggest winners…hardly anything in the middle. Same with specialty stores, specialty doctors, specialty religious institutions, political parties etc. Same with magazines that were once read by “general” readers. Only specialized readers thrive.
It’s becoming the same things with cookbooks: What sells are famous chef books, (I see Paula Deen’s estimated net worth is $24 to $28 million.) Famous country (Tuscany) books are still selling as are diets of the day (gluten free) or Minimalist, books for those who can’t or don’t want to cook. So what options are available to an author who is exploring a different topic entirely: Season to Taste for example…
This is one of those astonishingly unexpected treasures that we may be fortunate to stumble across by chance or word of recommendation. It’s food memories remain in the palette of the mind while interspersed in a tale of loss (of the sense of taste after a devastating car accident) and the joy of gradual recovery. Skillfully woven between meals is a love story. You won’t find a more lucid explanation of the physiology of smell than these words written by its author, Molly Birnbaum.
How can this author reach those who are reading Grant Achatz’ Life on the Line, a widely recognized narrative also about the loss of taste? How can she bask in his reflected glory?
Many of us lose our sense of taste as a side effect of chemotherapy or traumatic head injury or other medical catastrophy. So Molly Birnbaum and Grant Achatz publishers could/should/would do good things to make doctors aware of these books and recommend them to all the many patients yearning for reassurance that their own sense of taste will return, even an astonishing, fleeting one whiff at a time.
Many despairing authors could reach a wider readership by exploring unconventional paths.