She Kept Doubting She Had a Marketable Book
I recently heard from an aspiring author who had several ideas for a book. When she researched her first idea on Amazon, she found several books on the subject, many of which had excellent reviews.
“I guess I should pack it in. Why does the world need another book like this? There are already quite a few good ones.”
Don’t Let Self-Doubt Stop You From Writing Your Book: Listen to What Publishers Know
Her conclusion is common, but runs counter to the wisdom of the publishing community, and, in particular, traditional publishing houses.
- Publishers want to see books that are like yours.
- Publishers are excited to see that those books did very well and resonated with readers and sold!
Why? This proves there’s an audience for your book (it’s marketable!) and that people will pay good money (at least the price of a paperback or ebook) to get the information, wisdom and transformation your book can provide.
- Publishers also want to know what will make your book stand out and be different.
So, even if you plan to self-publish, it’s a good idea to research whether there are books on your subject and think about how your book will be different.
How to Research Your Book’s Marketability
One suggestion in researching comp books: use keywords on Google to find the comps. Amazon is not as good a search engine for books as it used to be and it’s easier to find the most relevant results using Google instead. Of course, you can do both.
You can also use Publisher Rocket ($97 one-time fee) to find out how competitive a category is, as well as how popular it is with book buyers on Amazon. [Note: I am an affiliate and receive a commission should you purchase from my link.]
Janet Snoyer’s Comp Books Research Tip
Janet Snoyer, a graduate of my Bring Your Book to Life® program is now the author of The Family Guide to Medical School Admissions. In class, before she even started writing, Janet shared her strategy of reading Amazon reviews for competitive and complementary books to hers. This brilliant move helped her realize what features readers liked about the other books (and therefore might be valuable to include in hers), as well as what was missing and what they wished they’d gotten from these books, both in terms of features and content.
How to Make Your Book Stand Out
There are many ways to differentiate your book from others on the market. For example, you can:
- Target a new or under-served audience, such as a dating book for mixed-race couples, rather than a dating book for a broad market like women or men.
- Include cutting-edge research to back up your strategies with evidence-based information and give readers the understanding that helps motivate true change.
- Find your unique voice and really play it up. If you’re a playful person, really let yourself ham it up. You can always cut back if you go too far, but for now, experiment with gusto. If you’re sarcastic, take that to a new level. People are drawn to writers with a strong voice and your voice can really make your books stand out–book after book after book. A client of mine, Dr. Carla Naumburg, offers a great example of an author with a strong voice–irreverent, sassy, yet at the same time nurturing, kind and wise.
- Apply research from one field to another. For example, apply a recent breakthrough in physics to dating or business practices or weight loss. Of course, in this instance, you’d want to apply the research-based strategies in real life in, let’s say, a course you offer, or as consulting services; this will provide you with stories that prove it works to apply the research across different fields.
- Add unique features to your book that add to the reader’s experience. These features can add to readers’ understanding of the material (illustrations or graphs for example), engage readers in experience and their own transformation (writing prompts, QR codes that lead to audio meditations, exercises or rituals are some examples), or just make the book more fun or interesting. For example, many journals offer prompts, but I have not seen other journals with QR codes that lead to videos and audio meditations. I incorporated these into The Joy of Writing Journal to add a layer of depth of experience, as well as make it easier and fun to write. I wrote it during COVID when people felt particularly isolated and I felt that the videos and my invitation to join the Facebook group added a layer of connectivity to the experience. What features would turn your book into a deeper, more engaging experience or help your readers experience the full transformation possible with your material?
Share your ideas and questions. What have you done to make sure your book is marketable? What questions do you still have?