Book Proposals That Sell - Competition Section

Author : shaun.jimmy
Publish Date : 2021-02-26


Book Proposals That Sell - Competition Section

Okay. Fess up. You'd love to avoid this section of your book proposal altogether because why bother? Your book is the ONLY one that needs to be written on your topic anyway, right? (And, who has time to read your competition and summarize it all when you've got your own book to write? Sheesh!)

Here's why it's important: Editors thinking about spending their money on you need to know what else is out there. They can't risk bidding on you, believing you've got something truly unique, only to find out later that they missed a similar book. They will LOVE you for doing the research for them. It's your job. To help them do their job. But, some writers get writer's block because they worry about criticizing other titles. Don't worry! That's not a good idea anyway, in case you run into the same editor. You can praise the other titles, in fact. Just be sure and list what your book offers that's above and beyond theirs. New and fresh in the marketplace. That way, everyone wins!

Some writers argue against reading similar books because they don't want to cloud their "take" on their topic. Ah. Nice argument. Until you write something ridiculously similar to someone else, when all it would have taken was a quick look at your competition to see fantastic alternative angles. What about this fear I heard the other day. "I don't want to risk plagiarizing other people's thoughts without meaning to." Okay. In theory, I guess that could happen. You could read:

"...I would not eat them here or there. I would not eat them anywhere. I would not eat green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am." And, then by accident, you could come up with the same text.

Not.

I highlight this delightfully silly ditty from Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham to snap you out of it already. No more fears. Okay?! Get to reading!
Ideally, here's what you want to include:

Four to six of the best-selling titles in your genre. You know, the books that people would read if yours never hit the shelves. For each title, include a paragraph comparing and contrasting your two titles. Include things like:

Title and subtitle
Author's name(s)
Publisher and year of publication
Page numbers
Price (I see this in about a third of all proposals).
Hope that helps! You can also get helpful ideas on the Amazon.com review section of your competing titles. Never depend upon this in lieu of actually reading the other titles, but intelligent reviews about what works and doesn't work can give you valuable strategies. Not only about how to review theirs, but also regarding how to write yours!

Linda is an award-winning author and ghostwriter, whose 6- & 7-figure book deals have been covered in the national media and hit the NYT list. For behind-the-scenes instruction (where you'll see actual proposals that sold), join her live monthly 4-week Teleseminars. To learn more about those or her writing retreats, click here:

https://theq.qcc.edu/ICS/Campus_Life/Campus_Groups/Music_Club/Discussion.jnz?portlet=Forums&screen=PostView&screenType=change&id=3f2b4deb-71a1-4447-8269-cab7ef50757f
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