View Full Version : How to choose selected competing books?

06-12-2008, 11:19 AM
I'm just in the process of preparing my first non-fiction book proposal and am struggling a little with the competition aspect of it.

My books topic is going to be on dieting; not so much a specific diet plan, but rather a look at the principles behind dieting, the psychological aspects, the fitness side of things, and so on.

How would I go about choosing the top 5-7 competiting books for this? There is just so many to choose from I'm not sure where to start?

And also, on a side note, if I state in my book for example that you need one gram of protein per pound of body weight a day, will I need some type of scientifical journal reference to back this up?

(I have a degree in Physical Education and have worked as a personal trainer for many years, so I'm just going of what I've learned in univeristy or researched myself in the past).

06-12-2008, 02:02 PM
I've never dealt with something like this, but I think I would look at the sales ranking of some of the more popular diet books on Amazon and/or elsewhere. I would also look up any related books that have appear on any of the better-known best-seller lists in the past couple of years. I would also search for books that, like yours, are not so much diet plans but about diets.

I'll offer one that sounds more like your book than the typical diet book: Losing Weight When Diets Fail by Tom Kersting.

June Casagrande
06-12-2008, 06:41 PM
Put yourself in the publisher's shoes. They see "Skinny Bitch" on the bestseller lists for months and they want to replicate that kind of success. At the same time, they see other titles that were just as worthy failing miserably.

They want to know EXACTLY why yours will be even more successful than "You, the Owner's Manual" and EXACTLY why you're different from the ones that have failed.

So pick a few titles that were wildly successful and a few that are examples of how you'll sidestep others' mistakes.

Think like a business person. Think dollars. Think about the "market" as they see it. And that should help you narrow 'em down.

Hope that helps!

June Casagrande
06-12-2008, 06:46 PM
Oh, re "scientific journal references": Wherever possible, qualify your assertions by citing respected sources. But those sources need not be academic. And citing conventional wisdom is acceptable, too (though not as good). Speaking from a position of your own expertise and experience is also acceptable, assuming you have convincing credentials in the field.

I only thumbed through Skinny Bitch, but the authors' credentials are mainly just that they're enviably thin.

(That's a long way of saying, no, you don't necessarily need the journal references. But they're preferable.)

06-13-2008, 02:38 AM
My books topic is going to be on dieting; not so much a specific diet plan, but rather a look at the principles behind dieting, the psychological aspects, the fitness side of things, and so on.

Very interesting...I too am writing a similar book, 75% fitness 25% diet though.

Go to amazon, click on the best sellers then when it takes you to that page you can search by topic...I'm sure you know that already...but you click on one and then look at the other books in the same subject matter or related material...it will lead you in the right direction.

Skinny Bitch is already on my comp. list! LOL!

06-13-2008, 11:19 AM
Thanks for all the replies! Skinny Bitch was actually one that I had found earlier and was on my list, before I started wondering if I was going about this the right way.

I'll definitely look into Losing Weight When Diets Fail as well; that does sound very much along the lines of what I'd be doing.

It's encouraging to hear the author of Skinny Bitch didn't have a lot of credentials though - it gives me more hope that I could actually get published! It's been a dream for so long, so I need to at least give it a try.