1-7 Do a Competitive Analysis for a Book Proposal

If the author is creating a book proposal to submit to an established publisher, the author may ask the assistant’s help in doing one of the required sections, the Competitive Analysis.

1.The primary objective for the Competitive Analysis is to discover and demonstrate to the publisher how the author’s book will be different from and better than the competition.

2.In the book proposal, the publisher would like to see the following for each competitive title listed: Book title, author, publisher, publication date, number of pages, ISBN, retail price, and any information that can be found on sales success and the subjective similarities and differences – how this book differs from the book the author is writing – in what way is this book strong and in what ways is it missing something.

3.You would like to find 6 to 8 directly competitive books and then develop a certain amount of information so that the author has as much background as possible to do the part of the analysis that only the author can do – the subjective part.

Where and how to find competitive books

You can perform valuable research on the market and the competition in several ways:
• By evaluating the author’s own library of books
• By visiting your local bookstore
• By getting online at Amazon.com
• By checking out publishers’ web sites

Ordering Competitive Books

The author may already have some or all of the competitive books or may want you to buy them or get them from a library. It is probably essential to physically look at the book to be able to do a thorough analysis.

Collecting Data

You can easily take the inventory with you to a bookstore to take notes. You will see there are many more items we ask you to gather data for that go into the final book proposal competitive analysis. This is to help the author narrow down the list of books based on many factors.

Look for indications of how many books have been sold, but don’t expect to always find them. It is almost impossible to find exact figures, but there are some helpful indicators such as Amazon.com’s rank and number of reprints.

Writing the Final Competitive Analysis

Once you have accumulated all of the information, it is time to write the analysis that will appear in the book proposal. While you can do the first part, with the general information, the author should write the paragraph of analysis using your notes for assistance. The primary objective for the Competitive Analysis is to discover and demonstrate to the publisher how the author’s book will be different from and better than the competition.

In the book proposal, the publisher would like to see the following for each competitive title listed: Book title, author, publisher, publication date, number of pages, ISBN, retail price, and any information that can be found on sales success and the subjective similarities and differences – how this book differs from the book the book the author is writing – in what way is this book strong and in what ways is it missing something.

Here is an example:
Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good
Authors: Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: April 2007
ISBN: 038-550-8026
272 pages
Hard cover, $24
Estimated sales 50,000

This book offers a fun, and irreverent look at what it takes to succeed in business and life from the point of view of the founders of successful multi-million dollar enterprises. While it has interesting stories, it is missing a way for the reader to take the lessons learned and translate them into the readers own business. The author’s book also has insightful stories from the rich and famous but also gives specific strategies, worksheets, checklists and exercises to take it from the interesting to the practical.

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