Step Two – Know The Market

The next thing you might want to do is to familiarize yourself with the market. You might say, “But didn’t you just tell me the market doesn’t matter?”

I sure did. But let’s make something clear. Say you have an idea about a duck who wants to run for President. Yeah? Cute idea. Okay, now go search Amazon for “duck president.”

See what happens. Yup, someone has already done your idea and done it quite well. Does that mean you can’t write the duck story? Heck no. But do you think it might be a good idea to change your duck to a beaver? Maybe. And perhaps your beaver ought to go for ambassador to China instead. Would this hurt your story idea? Probably not. Now think about checking out the duck book from your library. Go see what the story line is. Were you thinking the same thing? Or something entirely different? These are just some simple things you can do to give your idea its best chances before you even begin writing.

And … as always … if your duck for president idea is sooo good and so not like the one that’s already out, then write it. But don’t be surprised if it might be harder to sell your story.

Here’s another reason to go to your local bookstore or library and check out what’s on those shelves. You might not have a clue what book format you want to write. Format? What do you mean? Do you know the difference between….

  • A picture book and a chapter book?
  • A board book and a picture book?
  • An easy reader and a middle grade novel?
  • Trade vs. Mass market?
  • Commercial vs. Literary?

If you don’t understand any of this, you could make a common mistake when you write and later, submit your story. So do yourself a favor and go find out what all of this means (checking out my glossary would be a first step). Once you know what kind of book you want to write, go to Step Three – Write.