Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

How to make your book stand out

You have a book idea, but you also have a problem. There are several, perhaps hundreds, of other books out there on that very same subject. With that very same idea. So you have to ask yourself, how can I make my book different? How can I make my book stand out from all of those other books on this subject competing for all of that shelf space?

One thing I have noticed while working on the ghost book is that there are other paranormal-loving writers out there writing a similar book. Either theirs is a book with their own branding (as in authors who are famous from TV shows), their books are regional or their books have a unique twist to them.

When you can make your book unique, that’s a big help in making it stand out from the rest. If you are a professional chef with years of entertaining at parties under your belt, you can make your cookbook unique by including funny stories overheard at parties or adventures in getting your masterpieces ready on time.

This is just one way to make a book stand out above the rest. Here are some others:

Slant. What is your book’s slant? Is it a collection of stories or investigations of a case? Is it focused only on one side of an issue or does it explore a debate in the book’s subject? Your book could be a book that’s being sold for charity, to commemorate an event or to showcase material from a club, organization, etc.

Voice. If you have a way with words, you can figure out a new way to tell a story or write a nonfiction book. You can be funny, upbeat, satiric, playful, etc.

Experience. If you have a unique experience with your book’s subject, something that people are not very aware of and/or that really should be out there for the reading public, this will add credibility to your book.

Expertise. If you are an expert on this subject and have several credits to your name, years of experience to back up and support what you're writing about, and you have a unique approach to your book’s subject, this will help your book still have a fighting chance of standing out.

Popularity. You don’t have to be Johnny Depp or Britney Spears to get your book noticed, but if you are popular in the blogosphere, are an award-winning athlete, have a lot of press and/or are at the center of a major news story, you have a pretty good chance of writing a book that is different from every other book on that subject. (It can also help sales.)

Newness. If your book’s subject has not been written about for several years, there’s a pretty good chance it’s time for an update! There’s always something new to add to a subject and new information is being discovered about so many things. If you have new material put together for an old subject, this will help get the book noticed. At the same time, if something new is being done with something old (such as a new trend in cooking), it can be something new to write about, as well.

The Void. Thousands of books are out there and there could be a bazillion books on one topic alone. At a recent visit to the bookstore, I was floored by how many books they have just on the subject of grammar. Zounds! However, there is always that chance that a book HAS NOT been written about something. Say you have an idea for a book and, like every good writer, you do some checking to see if it’s already published. If it’s not published, there may be a very good reason why. Maybe there’s not enough to make this idea a book. Maybe this topic is too controversial. Maybe it’s not a sellable idea. But if you are able to change ALL of that with your book – if you have enough to make a book on this subject, if you can find a publisher willing to play the controversy card and IF your book idea is indeed sellable and something people are willing to buy – go for it and write the book. Just because that particular kind of book is not out there doesn’t always mean it shouldn’t be.

These are just some ideas on what can make your book different from the rest. Hopefully they are enough to offer some ideas on how to make your book stand out.

Writing a book is only the first step of getting it into print. Figure out how you can make your book unique and this will increase your chances of getting your book into print and getting it noticed.

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  • At 9:05 PM , Blogger colbymarshall said...

    I've also found out (the hard way sometimes) that ideas you think are original are quite the opposite...something to look out for!

  • At 8:00 AM , Blogger Dawn Wilson said...

    Colby, that's a very good point. Thank you for posting about it. :)


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