I am researching competition for a picture book idea. I know there are topics with very stiff competition and I want to avoid anything similar to what has already been done.
But this time, I am also researching how this particular publisher approaches certain types of books. I want to know if they do double page spreads, spot illustrations or full illustrations, and what kind of language is used. So, I’ve ordered a couple books to study.
When I get the books, I plan to read them quickly for an overall impression. Then, I’ll read aloud to see how the language flows. I’ll study the illustrations to see how much liberty the illustrator has taken with the text; in other words, how much do I have to provide for the illustrator and how much will they interpret.
I’ll also try to think about how I can add something new to the collection of books on a topic. If this topic is covered 20 times in current children’s books, I”ll need to be bolder in order to “stand out in today’s crowded market.” If it’s only covered once, I’ve more leeway, and won’t have to push quite so hard.
Tools for Researching Competition
- Search. Search both Amazon (or Powells or your favorite online bookstore) and Google (or your favorite general purpose search engine) for books on your topic.
- Specialized search. Be sure to also search GoogleBooks and any other specialized search engines you know about.
- Library. Search the catalog of your favorite library to see if they have it available for checking out. Also search WorldCat.org to see what other books are available. (Hint: You can download a WorldCat plugin to put this search on your Firebox browser; there’s also a plug-in for your Facebook page.)