How To Make Your Book Different From The Competition

How To Make Your Book Different From The Competition

Our publishing expert, Joe Gregory of answers your question on gathering material for a book.

There are quite a few books in my field already, how can I make mine different?


Joe Gregory

Joe Gregory

If you can identify at least three other books that are selling well in your market then that’s a positive sign your book has got a potential readership.
The last thing I want to hear as a publisher is, “There is no other book like this!” or “It defies categorisation!” What this really means, in almost all cases, is that there is no market for the book.

However, there’s a paradox at play.

While you should definitely be able to find a category for your book, if what you’ve written is the same as everything else out there it’s really not ready to be published. You need to gain attention with your book, otherwise you’ll make no impact. What is new, interesting, exciting, contrarian or edgy about your message? A good question to ask yourself is, “What existing paradigm/conventional wisdom does my book challenge or replace?” If your book doesn’t say something that grabs attention and shakes your field up, then how can you change your message until it does?

As an example, Paul McKenna’s book, I Can Make You Thin definitely fits in the self-help/weight loss field. But, while all the other books focus on what to eat and how much to eat (the accepted wisdom), Paul’s paradigm shift was, “It’s got nothing to do with what you eat, it’s got everything to do with your relationship with food.” Effectively, his book then becomes a category of one (psychological weight loss) within the broader market (physiological weight loss).

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