Blogger: Rachel Zurakowski
Location: Books & Such main office, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Researching at a bookstore is fun and you can learn a lot, but you can find out about trends in other places as well.
Spend some time looking at books online (which will give a broader selection than a bookstore) to find out who’s publishing the type of material you’re interested in writing. This can help you to answer the question, is there a market for my work? If a number of books exist in your category, spend some time figuring out what makes your idea unique. For nonfiction, a competition section is an important part of a proposal, so you’ll need to do this anyway. If nothing exists like what you’re writing, you’ve either had a stroke of genius or your idea has been tried and has failed–several times; so publishers are no longer interested in producing books on that topic.
You can also find out a lot about new releases in magazines and publications like Publishers Weekly and Christian Retailing. These often contain articles about book trends and current acquisitions.
Publisher’s Marketplace, (www.publishersmarketplace.com) requires a subscription, but book deals are reported by agents and editors on the site usually the day they’re sold. Since it can take as long as two years for a book to be published, spending time looking at the deals reported that day gives you a peek into the future of those bookshelves.
Another way to stay on top of the market is to subscribe to publishing house e-newsletters. Take advantage of the marketing the publisher is doing and use it to learn of new releases and excitement in the industry. Catalogs and advertisements from retailers can be insightful as well.
I also encourage you to continue to read! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the writing and researching that you forget to spend time reading books that have been published. Perhaps you’ll want to pick up the competition to see what made it shine. Not to mention that reading good books will help you to write a better book.
What book market research tips do you have to share?