“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
– Oscar Wilde
Yes, this quote is well-known, but good advice all the same. I’d like to offer a different perspective on it.
Why I chose this quote
It’s time to start working on launching my new book. It’s not finished; prepping for launch starts way before that! I’m coming up with ideas for cover design, title, and book description. Considering options for promotion. Thinking of blog and social media content.
Oh, and doing that thing I’m always telling everyone else not to do. Finding people to compare myself to.
Part of an author’s job is finding comparable authors. So after spending many months writing something unique, I now have to find other authors like me. Or at least, other books like mine.
Commissioning a cover designer? Two comparable titles please.
Writing a book description? Make sure it’s in line with comparable titles.
Not sure which retailer categories to request? Check which categories your comparable authors are in.
The thing not to do is to compare the success of those books to mine, or the success of those authors to myself. Nothing good lies down that road.
What this quote means to me
I’m trying not to see this as a soul-destroying exercise because there are some good reasons to find comparable authors. Naming a reader’s favourite author is a great way to show them they might like my book too. Seeing how those authors promote their work might help me with marketing.
Comparable titles can also help differentiate my book. I realise this is counterintuitive but bear with me. Other books may be similar in certain ways. No other book is going to be similar in every way. Identifying the differences means finding more reasons for readers to choose my book. Which could help me with the blog and social media content ideas too.
Of course that doesn’t make finding comp authors any easier. Particularly since I’m writing a young adult scifi mystery. Which isn’t even a book category. I guess that’s my way of staying true to this quote. If there’s a choice between easy and dull, or difficult and exciting – I choose difficult and exciting every time!
Which would you choose?
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