Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

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Frequent Contributor
Susan_Driscoll
Posts: 40
Registered: ‎03-09-2007
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Understanding The Market for your Book

For those of you who answered the straw poll (secretly or otherwise) with the goal to sell books/make money or help or entertain readers, this post is for you. If you expect to sell books, you’ll need to start taking notes now—during the writing process or even before. Identify not only your audience but also your competition. Once your book is published, you’ll have to compete for readers with several other professionally published books like your own. The more you know about your competition, the greater your chances of succeeding.
Browsing the shelves of your nearest bookstore is a good way to meet your competition. Don’t let the word browsing fool you—consider a bookstore visit vital research for the success of your book, as it is the best means of assessing your competition and maximizing sales.
You can definitely start by searching for your competition online—browse the relevant category at bn.com to see what the major houses are publishing. For serious research, however, nothing can replace the experience of visiting a store physically and examining hardcover and paperback books. Retail bookstores provide a gold mine of information for writers beyond what they can get online. Pay attention to what’s on the tables and shelves or have a casual chat with a clerk. Gathering information about the books that are selling and receiving heavy promotion will greatly improve your odds of writing a marketable book.

 Question to ask your local bookseller:
o Is the idea for your book unique?
o Is there a similar book that worked?
o Is this area glutted with books, or is there a void that a fresh approach could fill?
o Are there local writers’ groups, organizations, or media that might be interested in your subject?
o Are there certain times of year that books on your subject sell more than others?
Here’s a suggested activity: if you find books that compare or compete with yours, buy three: One, that you think isn’t as good as your idea (it will make you feel better on those dark days); second, one that is about the same level as yours so you can make sure your book has all the elements required for your genre and category; and one that’s a best seller in your area that will serve as a model for your book. Over the next few weeks, read them and provide a summary of each: how are they different; how can you make yours unique and better. Then put them on your bookshelf so that they don’t influence or infuse the actual writing of your unique book.
Need help figuring our your competition? Post your idea here and let the other participants weigh in with their feedback.
Susan Driscoll
President & CEO
iUniverse
Frequent Contributor
Dezdura
Posts: 62
Registered: ‎08-23-2007
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Re: Understanding The Market for your Book

I thought about this awhile and decided I had some problems with what you wrote that you might be able to clarify. Perhaps I am reading your post too literally. I actually do not think I've ever found a story, characters, or overall theme that comes close to what I am writing now. There are small parts in the book that may be "similar" to other things that have been published, but the entire novel is strangely unique. Your post filled me with dread because it made me wonder if there was nothing out there "similar" would it be unpublishable? Are they now only publishing books that look like other books?
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Irishbookish
Posts: 53
Registered: ‎02-14-2008
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Re: Understanding The Market for your Book

Seeking out the prospective market for a book was something I used to casually do during the writing of my books. Once, I borrowed a book from our local library and as I was reading the back cover, my blood ran cold. It had some similarities to my first book, even with some similar names. I literally swayed on the spot. I thought, OMG!! Someone has stolen my ideas!' My next thought was, 'OMG people will think I'VE stolen HER ideas!!!' I checked out the book and rushed from the library clutching the book with dread. Within pages of the book, however, I was immensely relieved to find that the story was very different, and could never have been a problem. Funnily, this was one of the deciding factors in my getting published, because I kept feeling that the longer I leave it, the more likely someone is to publishing something similar to mine!!

I had visions of being locked in a courtcase - emerging from the Court House, Paparazzi swarming around me like desperate flies after a rotten tidbit; me with a large (expensive) pair of Gucci sunglasses and a floppy (yellow) hat hiding my shame from a disillusioned public, wondering where my next pound will come from...

 
"As Time Doth Pass, Remember..."
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