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What To Do When “Someone Published a Book Just Like Mine”?

Imagine someone publishing a book so much like the one you’re writing. It could be devastating to discover “someone wrote my book,” but there’s another way to see this as an opportunity.

Lisa Tener book coach

“What do you do when you find out a book was just published that is almost exactly what you had in mind writing? I feel so deflated…”

I received this in an email the other day from one of my Bring Your Book to Life® participants and I felt for the writer. I also knew there was a flipside to the despair she felt.

I told the writer, here’s what you do:

  • You take a deep breath and you say, “Wow, a publisher picked this up. That demonstrates a need.”
  • If the book is selling well on Amazon, you take that as a sign of the potential and need for this information.
  • You read the “competition” and decide how your book can stand out. Perhaps it’s your distinct voice in the anecdotes or stories you tell. Perhaps you can add additional features that will help your readers in novel ways.
  • Look at the Amazon reviews to see what readers of this other book both liked and found missing or didn’t like. This can give you additional ideas for how to make your book even better.
  • You remind yourself how moved people were by the stories you read shared in class. (This is what I told the writer. If you didn’t share a story in my class, you can look to feedback from beta readers or an editor to remind yourself you have a powerful voice and wisdom to share.)

If a parent reads the other book first, it doesn’t mean that they’re “one and done.” They may well need continued support—and a book with more stories and different viewpoints could be a great next step.

Of course I encouraged her—and encourage you—to see how you can fulfill needs that the other book does not meet. See how you can make your book even more relevant and useful for your readers than the book you just discovered. Use the other book as an opportunity to make your book even better. But do not despair. There’s room for both books on your readers’ shelves.

NEWJoyofWriting_3D-copy

Get Lisa’s New Book:

The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

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