You’re an eager author. You have a great a course in miracles idea. You’re all fired up about it and think it will sell like wildfire. So you’re getting ready to pitch your idea to literary agents and publishers. Of course you’re going to use a book proposal to do that, and one of the things you’re going to do is tell them that nobody has ever written a book like yours before — nobody, not Stephen King, not Michael Crichton, not anybody. Right?
Oops! You just went to Amazon.com and did a book search, and to your great embarrassment, guess what? Hard to believe, incredibly hard to believe, but you found that there are four — count ’em — yes, four books on your topic that have been published by other people. How dare they! How could they! Now what are you going to do?
THE COMPETING BOOKS SECTION OF YOUR BOOK PROPOSAL
I’ll tell you what you’re going to do, and it’s really easy. Trust me, this is kid stuff. It doesn’t matter how many books there are on your subject already. It could be one or it could be a hundred, the procedure is always the same. You select the top books that are your competition and you talk about them in your competing books section of your book proposal.
“Talk about them?” you ask. “Why should I even mention them? I don’t want my publisher to know about them! They might not want to buy my book.”
Now, that’s a natural first reaction. But think about it. You can’t prevent your publisher from knowing about these other books. You found them easily enough by going on Amazon.com, didn’t you? Well, guess who’s on Amazon nearly every day? Yup, that’s right. Your prospective literary agent and your new editor. These are professional book people. They virtually live on Amazon. So don’t think they won’t find out about these competing books.
“Then what am I going to do? They’ll never buy my book once they see all this competition.”
HOW TO KNOCK THE COMPETITION
Let me share a secret that all nonfiction book authors know. It’s easy to deal with competing books. Sometimes the very fact that there are competing books is good for you. How? Well, it shows there’s a market for your type of book. After all, if there are fifteen other books selling like hotcakes about sports cars, chances are there’s room for one more. Like yours.
Then there are books that may appear on Amazon but that are out of print. Don’t even mention these. They’re not your competition.
Finally there are books that are in print and are selling. You can tell if a book is in print by looking at the top where it mentions the price. If Amazon is selling it new, then it’s probably in print. This is your competition. But it’s easy to deal with it.
The thing you want to do is admit that this book exists, that it is on your topic, but then immediately say something negative about it, or explain in a few words why your book will be better or more popular.