What Are Other Authors Selling? Why Should I Know…

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Last week I spoke about the benefits of going to the library. As I mentioned I have committed to visit the library once a week, so I did! This time I focused on checking out what other authors have written about on my topic in the age group I write for. The experience was enlightening and inspiring, to say the least, even though this was not the first time I had done research on what other authors were doing. What made this experience different was my focus. My goal was not to find a niche in my genre to target but to learn from what worked for other authors by looking at their writing styles, vocabulary, illustrations, format, and any other detail that called my attention. Below are some things to consider when looking at books that are published and successful, to learn from them and to create an applicable guide to follow with your own project:

·         Publishing Information. The first thing I did was to collect information from the books I liked that were within my marketing target and made a list of the titles and the aspects I liked about them. I also compiled information about the publisher, illustrator, etc. in case I decide to consider pitching my book instead of self-publishing.

·          I looked at the main characters. Were they boys, girls, animals? What was unique about them? How did they relate to the target reader? Was it the character that made the book successful or was it the story? How different or similar were they from my main character?

·         I looked also at the story, message, and other characters, and compared them to my own project to determine how different it is to what’s out there, and whether or not I can apply anything I learned to my own project to make it more current, relatable to the reader, captivating and marketable.

·         Pay attention to any new idea that might pop up into your mind while checking out other books within your genre and write them down. You never know, maybe one of these ideas will be your new best-seller!

In the end, we authors have a passion for writing, feel that we have something to say, are committed to sharing a message, love books and want to be able to make a living writing and reading them. So, what better way to be successful than learning from each other?

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