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The Art of Catfishing for Niche Authors

Updated: Jan 7

This is a blog summary of the live stream I did. You can watch it below, and if it's something you like, please consider subscribing to my Youtube channel where I constantly make such content.

The slides I made is available for viewing here.

Without further ado, let's begin!

Patreons to credit: Anechke. -This could be you. Join now.-

#1: Mainstream Elements

I'm not going to repeat it here because I covered this in detail in my last blog.

#2: Knowing Readers

This is something I mentioned previously, but it goes a little deeper than just targeting your readers. It's knowing them by categories, and these are the categories you should know.

a. Paying Reader

b. Free Reader

c. Vocal Reader

d. Silent Reader

e. Toxic Reader & Haters

Know that your reader can consist of any combination from the above. When you're catfishing, the type of readers you want most would be the paying readers. The silent readers, we don't know them. The vocal reader is a double-edged sword. Sometimes they're nice to have, and other times, you question why you wrote this book only to let others ridicule it.

Don't let your readers control the direction of the story.

Often, there are times in our writing journey when we feel like we should listen to our readers. Aitsuji says that readers are like tourists who signed up for a packaged tour. You're the tour guide paid to bring them around based on the travel guide and itinerary. They have no right to quibble about the destination. However, they can get off at any point if they do not like a certain event. It's the same for readers. They should not backseat direct a writer as readers. It's rude and irritating.

#3: Designing Balance

Catfishing is the art of making others believe what it actually isn't. Hence, the easiest way to hook a suspicious and hungry fish is to offer it food that it wants to eat.

80% bait and 20% hook is my recipe for hybrid mainstream-niche success. For the first 50 chapters, or at least until you've locked your chapters in premium, please write it in a mainstream style of 80% weightage and only 20% of niche as a flavour highlight or hint to what the readers will see more as the book progresses.

As the story progresses, the readers invested in the story who want to know the ending will be less particular about your writing style if it is niche or mainstream. You can transit slowly from an 80-20 to a 60-40. The sweet zone is ultimately in the 50-50 range where both reader and author happiness is maximised.

Always draft your story's outline from start to end to help you figure out where you can start introducing niche elements in your catfish work.

#4: Exit Plan

Remember that draft? Yes, it serves as a secret second purpose. When every beginning has an end, the book that doesn't do well has to end earlier.

My suggestion? Plan to wrap a book that doesn't do well in 20 chapters or less. If it isn't possible, redraft the arc and do not go past 1 arc. Try to wrap everything within 50 chapters while introducing your new work.

Yes, you need to create new work while wrapping the unsuccessful attempt to pull your trapped fishes over to a newer net.

How do you know if it's time to say goodbye to a work prematurely? Look at the earnings. Your aim when creating a catfish niche work is to bring in earnings. If you don't earn what you're supposed to be earning, it's a sign.

#5: Pros & Cons

Catfishing might not be for everyone. Most niche writers write for a purpose, and making money is usually on the least of our priorities. However, if you really have to write for money, there are a few things you need to know about catfishing.

The readers that you gain from catfishing will not be loyal to an author. They're loyal to only the book unless you create a new work of a similar template. Also, writing mainstream as a niche author is much like learning a fifth foreign language. It's confusing, stressful and can be disheartening despite the money and attention you gain from it.


Still keen to be a catfisher after reading my depressing warning above? I guess you're in for a real ride. Hold on tight to your wigs because you'll need them. Here's all the love and support from me. Go catch some big fish!

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