7 Days to Easy-Money: Get Paid to Write a Book
2. Visit your library
Next, drive to the library. Ask the librarian for Books In Print. This is a multi-volume
set of reference books which lists all the books currently available by author, subject
and title. Your library may have the books, or it may have the BIP CDs. If your
library's BIP is on CD, get a printout of all the books in your subject area.
Don't faint if you see an ultra-lengthy list! Several years ago when I was
assessing the market for a book on time management, BIP spat out ten-plus pages. I
got all the books which sounded as though they might be similar via inter-library loan,
and none resembled my book at all. So the fact that there are lots and lots of books
means little other than that this subject is popular. This is a good thing!
Next check out Forthcoming Books. FC should be available at your library
right near BIP. FC lists all those books which will be released in the next six months.
You'll want to have the books which are the main competition for your book
on hand if possible. You don't have to buy them all. You can borrow them from the
library, or if they’re listed on Amazon.com, you can use Amazon.com's clever "Look
Inside" technology, so that you can scan the contents pages of competing titles.
Amazon.com is your next port of call. Type the subject of your book into the search
query box, and you'll get a list of all those books which touch on your subject area.
Print out this list. Having the list handy helps you when the time comes to pick a title.
Read the descriptions, and all the reviews of any books which sound as if they
might be similar to yours.
Write a report on your discoveries
Now you've finished surveying the marketplace as it stands for your idea, take the
time to write a brief report on what you've discovered. This report is for your own
use. Do this right away when it's all still fresh in your mind. It's important to do this,
because when you talk to your editor or agent, you'll want to have all the information
on the market situation handy. Your report doesn’t have to be long. A page will do.