I hope you all had a lovely weekend!
I finally put my annuals in because, after a week of over 90 degree weather, we are hoping the danger of frost (which we had last weekend) is past! Who is in charge of the weather around here? It's nuts! :)
Of course, given my reputation as The Black Thumb Of Poughquag, my plants will probably be looking like this before long :)
Also (thanks to Beth Stilborn and Laura Miller) I MAY have a new plan for Perfect Picture Books which would make the list easier to search and easier to update. Keep your fingers crossed! It will probably take me the whole summer to put it together, but it will be great if it works! :)
Today, after many weeks in which we have been distracted by other things, we have an Oh Susanna question!
Oh Susanna! I am currently working to get my first picture book published. I have been studying the market and in doing so I came across a recently published book that looks somewhat similar to mine. Should I be discouraged? Will anyone be interested in publishing my book if there is already one with a similar topic in the market? Sincerely, Clueless
I think this is an excellent question.
Although we are all told to be original, there are some who say there are no new stories. New baby and sibling rivalry and fear of the dark and first day of school and wanting a pet, etc., etc., etc. have already been told.
This may be true. But if you spend five minutes in the library or bookstore, you'll see (using new baby as an example) Julius The Baby Of The World, Not Yet Rose, The Best Kind Of Baby, Penny Loves Pink, A Baby Sister For Frances, The New Baby, On Mother's Lap, Hello Baby, Babies Don't Eat Pizza, Waiting For Baby, Peter's Chair... I could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea - there are LOTS of picture books about kids getting a new sibling.
Pretty much any topic/idea/theme you choose to write about will have been done before in some way. The trick is to make it your own - to put a spin on it that hasn't been done so that your story is new and fresh even if it deals with a tried and true topic. If you were to read those 10 books listed above, you'd see that although they all revolve around the arrival of a new baby, they are all different stories. In Julius The Baby Of The World, Lilly is jealous and doesn't have much nice to say about her new brother until her friends criticize him and she rushes to his defense. In Not Yet Rose, Rose worries that she won't like being a big sister or that the baby might not like her. In The Best Kind Of Baby, Sophie imagines all the kinds of babies her mother could have, thinking puppies and monkeys and fish would be much more fun than a human baby. As you can see, those are all very different types of stories, which address different aspects of getting a new sibling and have different moods and atmospheres.
In addition to trying to put your own unique spin on your story, you will also want to research the publishing houses you plan to submit to. For example, (sticking with the idea of new babies), does the house already have a new baby book? How old is it? Is it still in print? Has it sold well and become a classic or is it lesser known? Is the actual story it tells similar to yours (e.g. is it a brother waiting for a sister and yours is too? Or is it a jealousy story and yours is too?)?
A house that has a book very similar to yours will probably not want to compete with itself. But another house may be happy to have it... overjoyed if they love it and think they can outsell other houses' books on that topic :)
If you find that your story really is too similar to one or more books already out there, think about ways you could tweak your story to make it different. Could you tell it from a different point of view? Could you change the focus slightly? Could you make it a sister waiting for a brother instead of a brother waiting for a sister? Could you place it in a very unusual setting or time period, or make it about an animal family instead of a human family? Try stretching your idea in different directions and see where you end up :)
I hope that answers your question and helps you out a bit! And as always I'd be grateful to have all our readers chime in with their thoughts and experience in the matter!
Have a magical Monday everyone! :)