Again and again I see the OSR described as a "niche within a niche".
While I understand the philosophy behind such a sentiment, and have perhaps used it myself in the past, I have to chuckle when I consider the real truth of the situation. Fact is, the OSR is booming, and selling numbers any game company would be proud of. The difference is, there's not one game company behind it all, so it looks like a bunch a little operations not really selling all that much when viewed in individual terms.
Diversification, by definition, "seeks to increase profitability through greater sales volume obtained from new products and new markets". This is something the OSR achieves through its very nature: a bunch of guys all participating in the revival of what is at its core the same game slash gaming philosophy.
Difficult to see, perhaps, because there is no company called "OSR", but the sales advantages it has are the same most companies have to work at deliberately.
Take "GURPS" for instance. Talk about a "niche" game. How does GURPS stay in business? Well, obviously you haven't seen a row of twenty copies of the GURPS Basic Set at the local big-box store. GURPS employs the strategy of Diversification. In the last six months alone, they've released a dozen game supplements. One of those titles alone might not generate a ton of revenue, but together, they add up. If there's 300 guys out there playing sci-fi GURPS, there's a new supplement for them. 400 playing fantasy, 250 playing WW2, etc. Palladium does the same thing with Rifts, etc.
Which brings me around to Marketing. Every company involved in D&D or one of its bastard children seems to get it. WotC is running out a "Red Box" set this fall, as well as "Rules Lite" version of 4E, Paizo is diving into the old-school world of Sand-boxia with its next Pathfinder Adventure Path.
Why are those companies taking notice? An issue of Knockspell only sells a few hundred copies right? But consider what's been released in the last two years: multiple issues of Knockspell and Fight On!, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC, several monster books, several variant rule supplements, campaign settings, adventure modules, etc, etc. That's thousands of books altogether.
So why is the OSR having such a hard time marketing itself? I mean, there's still a thread every other day about "what are retroclones?" on the various gaming message boards. And I'm not just talking about ENWorld and such, but even frickin' Dragonsfoot!!! If the home of 1E on the internet still doesn't understand what OSRIC is all about, then there are some problems we need to address.
You'll see Erol Otus's sweet cover for Fight On! #8 splashed across a lot of blogs over the next few days. Right there on the cover it states "A fanzine for the Old School Renaissance". That's a good place to start.