Publishers identify each book's particular niche, or market segment, during the earliest stages of development, typically during concept development. We need to figure out who will buy the book before we can actually write the book.
We work to identify markets that offer the greatest opportunity for sales. We love when a book can appeal to a large market. Wheeee!
Some books, though, are made to appeal to a small market. Those might be a tougher sell to a publisher.
Consider two examples:
- Textbook A is designed for physician assistants (PAs) in the U.S., a market of roughly 84,000. Capturing even 10 percent of that market could prove profitable for a publisher.
- Textbook B is designed for PAs working in pediatric ophthalmology offices, of which there might be, I don't know, a few hundred? That would be a considerably tougher sell for most publishers.
That doesn't mean that Textbook B would never be published, but it does mean that the author will have to be more diligent in finding just the right publisher.