View Full Version : Competing titles

05-25-2004, 12:50 AM
I'm getting a book of writing tips published this year. I wrote this book last year and, at the time, there wasn't another book like it on the market.

Until now.

I just found out that a new E-book similar to mine has come out. www.booklocker.com/books/1410.html (http://www.booklocker.com/books/1410.html) The only thing similar about them is that they are both books with writing tips. I haven't read this E-book yet so I can't really say much more.

To say the least, I am a little depressed about this. I've tried to cheer myself up with what my book will have that this one doesn't: Writing tips for every day, writing exercises, an accompanying journal, CD with more writing tips/exercises and goodies, mine is getting published through a traditional press while this is POD (not to put Booklocker down here!) and that mine will be print while this one is not. Still, while those are all good things, I keep beating myself up over this competition. And THIS one came out before mine. :cry Now I'll look like a copycat, even though I wrote and submitted this book last year.

How do you guys handle situations like this?


aka eraser
05-25-2004, 03:54 AM
Scotch. A double. Straight-up.

Don't sweat it Dawn. There's TONS of fishing books on the market too.

But only one great one. Ditto with your tips book. ;)

05-25-2004, 08:19 AM
If a book has zero competition, it usually means the subject wasn't worth a book. Good books always have many competitors. There rae usually fifty to a hundred how-to books on writing written in any given year. Many of them are very good indeed.

Fishing books is a good example. I'd only disagree to the point of saying there are probably more great fisihing books out there than great books in and other nonfiction genre. The good ones still sell.

05-25-2004, 11:24 PM
Aw, Frank. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! :) That was really sweet. :hug I appreciate the support, really. Your book is definitely awesome! Er, you can use that as a review blurb. LOL

Thanks also for your comments, James. :) I didn't think about it that way!! And sometimes, there are stories out there that don't have a book because nobody thought to write about it. Or they couldn't write about it, couldn't sell it, etc.

There is this nonfiction book I recently read that already had two other competing titles. The author used these titles for research, not as a roadblock to writing and selling his book. So maybe I can take this competing title and get something else from it besides a sense of doom.

05-28-2004, 05:50 AM

I was at the bookstore the other day looking around for books that are similar to the non-fiction one I am writing and hope to goodness someone will want to publish. There were a small handful of book the were along the same lines but all had something different than the other. And mine is also the same and different. My heart does sink a little to know that if someone were to see my book and the others, mine might not be chosen, but that is the writing life I guess.

Don't worry too much about it. You did the best you can (it is getting published after all) and your book is unique whether it has competing titles or not. :grin

Good luck!

April :star

07-04-2004, 06:11 AM
It is important to remember that, if you can't find competition, you will find it hard to sell to publishers. With a few notable exceptions, many publishers don't seem to want to be the first to do a topic. When I have submitted proposals one thing that all publishers wanted to know was who/what was the competition. If there is no competition, that makes it a harder sell and not an easier one. No competition can equate to no market.

Tom Nixon

07-04-2004, 11:54 PM
April, thank you for that. :) Hearing you talk about this helps me to deal with it. Yes, this is a part of "the writing life." But there are 2 factors that can help our book stand above the crowd: That it has new information and unique information. I guess this is why there are so many books on the same subject.

And, Tom, thanks for your input as well. I have to agree with you about how competition can be a good thing. I may not see it that way now, but after the book comes out, maybe that's how it will look then. Maybe I will find a way to use this in the book's promotion. And, having a competing title can give you the extra edge of coming to the publisher with those 2 factors mentioned above.


07-25-2004, 10:12 AM
No competition can equate to no market.

Tom's point is excellent. Publishers want to see that other books have been published on your topic-- and sold well-- so they know there is a market for it. It goes against many writers' gut instincts, but publishers don't like to hear that your book is "unique" or that it's the first book on a topic (unless it's a proven new trend/celebrity/etc.).

Dawn, there are at least 5 other books about writer's block out there, and Lord knows how many about freelance writing. New ones keep cropping up. But I have utter faith in mine, and that no matter what anyone else has written or will write on either topic, my books will still be needed.

"Writing tips," as a topic, definitely has been done before, countless times. But who cares? No one's done it like YOU will do it. Concentrate on what sets your book apart from others on the market.

07-25-2004, 11:52 PM
Thank you, Jenna! :) I really appreciate your input.

You've made a good point, too. I *always* try to put something of myself into my books: A sense of humor, my tone of writing, etc.

When I was writing for an E-zine, I often got put down by ONE reader in particular complaining that the subject I wrote about has already been covered elsewhere. (This is the same reader who harrassed me.) The reason why I wrote about this topic is because the E-zine hadn't covered it yet, I felt I could bring a new voice to this subject and that, perhaps, my personal experience with this topic might offer a new perspective on it.

The thing about my Tips book is that I didn't write it for the general reading public. I wrote it for all of those people who have asked me a question about writing, whether it had to do with their fear of writing, their problems in writing fiction, what they wanted to do with their writing, etc. And I discovered that there was just so much to cover that it was enough to make it into a book. The fact that it got accepted for publication is a nice plus. :)

Oh, and also to say "read my book" anytime someone asks me a question that's answered in there! ;) (This has happened.)

I have utter faith in mine, and that no matter what anyone else has written or will write on either topic, my books will still be needed.

That is true. And, who knows? Maybe YOUR book is the only one a person finds when they need info on something and that same book will give them all the help they need. It will save them the trouble of having to keep looking.

I have faith in my book, too.


07-29-2004, 07:45 PM

I agree with all of the above. In looking at my own book-buying habits, I realize that if I buy one book on a particular topic (like writing) it's more than likely I'll buy half a dozen (or more.)

So competing titles may not be as competing as you think, especially if your book is "the same but different."

Jenna's book is a case in point. I have three or four books on freelance writing, but as soon as I get money...

(I promise, Jenna.) :grin

07-30-2004, 06:27 PM
Don't worry too much about it. Most people who buy books on writing tips buy more than one anyway. Same with self-help books, diet books, etc.

Good luck,

08-02-2004, 07:08 AM
Thank you, Ruth and aq.

The thing of it is, though: Which title will get bought?

08-03-2004, 04:40 PM
A clue: Not the POD book. ;)

When I write proposals, I never list self-published POD or e-books in the "competition" section. They just aren't. The vast, vast, vast majority of them cannot compete with traditionally-published titles as far as sales figures go. If a POD book sells 100 copies, that's impressive. If a traditionally-published book sells 100 copies... somebody's got some big 'splainin' to do.

08-11-2004, 12:10 AM
Thank you, Jenna! That takes a load off. Whew!

At least, for THIS book it does. :)