Competition is in the Eye of the Consumer

November 9, 2016
November 9, 2016 Anita Henderson

full-bookshelves-smallFor practically any product you think of there is a competitive product. There isn’t only one company selling hamburgers, only one computer giant, a single brand of coffee, or a single manufacturer of automobiles. Competition abounds, and it’s all good. Even the greatest books ever written have competition, not only among other books, but among those in the same genre, and even those with a similar storyline.

When asked about competing books, newbie authors sometimes mention that there isn’t another book on the market similar to theirs. Not that they’re cocky, thinking their book is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Instead, they view the concept of competition from THEIR perspective rather than from the perspective of the reader. Big mistake.

You could talk until you’re blue in the face, trying to convince someone that your book idea is unique. It very well could be. But considering sales strategy and the psychology of selling, people need something to compare a product to. And remember, your book is a product. So giving potential readers a reference point helps them connect your book idea with something they’re familiar with. And believe it or not, comparing your book to a similar, perhaps more popular book, could work in your favor when done the right way.

As a new author penning a book with advice for parents of teenagers, consider how describing your book as, “Chicken Soup for the Soul, with a dash of hot sauce!” could pique someone’s interest. This statement gives readers a point of reference, plus a point of differentiation. It suggests that your advice book not only gives practical insight using heartwarming stories, but that it also has a little spice to it, perhaps some humor, or contemporary colloquialisms that certain parents could relate to. Even though you’re naming a competitive book, you’re also illustrating how your book is different.

If you’re not sure about competing books, search or visit a community bookstore and browse the shelves of the section for your book. Look for popular titles and authors. Or, ask your beta readers if they know of books similar to yours. Read those books, and note how your book content is both similar and different. Although the thought of your book competing against others might seem scary at first, it could turn out to be one of your best marketing strategies.

Remember, readers will compare your book to others, whether you like it or not, because they need a reference point. Trust me, when you tell others about your book, after asking, “So, what’s your book about?” many might also ask, “Is it kind of like . . .?” Be prepared, not insulted, at the comparison. Help readers make the smart decision to purchase your book. That’s a win for you and a win for them!


Anita HendersonAnita Henderson helps entrepreneurs and executives enhance their platforms, and build their brands by becoming published authors. Through her  Write Your Life program, new authors overcome the struggles of writing, publishing, and marketing books, and learn to leverage their books to achieve success.

Anita is the author of three books, including Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life And The Book You’ve Been Wanting to Write; and co-author of five books including Write Books That Sell Now and Building a Business, Building a Life: Incredible Stories of Women Entrepreneurs. She owns The Write Image, a boutique book publishing services company that created the proprietary Write Your Life book production process. Her freelance articles have appeared in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also co-creator of the Write Books That Sell Now online course for aspiring authors, and co-host of the Write Books That Sell Now weekly podcast.

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Anita Henderson

Writer, storyteller, The Author's Midwife. Founder of Write Your Life and The Genealogist's Writing Room.

Comment (1)

  1. Kanika Marshall

    Very good point about doing a bit of market research/comparison to be prepared to answer questions about our own works.

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