Even before you start to write your book, you should research your competition. For example, let's say you wish to write a book on Renaissance Herb Gardens. You must compare your book concept to what is currently in print or out of print. Your list should include up to
twenty competing books with the following information:
- Copyright date and year of publication
- ISBN (all versions)
- Number of pages
- Number of illustrations/photographs
- Special features of the book
In the first paragraph, write a brief description of the competing book, and in the second paragraph, describe why your book is better than and different from others.
You should ask yourself how your book will find a place in the marketplace to replace the competing books.
Make sure your research on your competition is through and complete. If you find more than twenty competing books, the market may be saturated. Fiction is different. Your writing should have a unique voice.
- Books in Print and Out of Print
- Periodicals, newspapers, Internet
- Google Book Search
- Library of Congress website
- Book Publishers websites (often they will show their forthcoming books) -- check Literary Marketplace for complete list
- Publishers' Weekly Magazine
- Authorities in your field
- Libraries and librarians
- Directories, databases
For excellent information on researching the competition, see Chapters 3 and 4 of NONFICTION BOOK PROPOSALS ANYBODY CAN WRITE by Elizabeth Lyon. ISBN 0-399-52827-X, published by Perigee Books, $14.95.
Copyright 2011 Jan Kardys