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Market Analysis

Lesson 4 from: How to Write a Killer Book Proposal

Sally McGraw

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Lesson Info

4. Market Analysis

Lesson Info

Market Analysis

Next we are gonna talk market analysis. The market analysis section, you have three goals here. You wanna show how your book is the same, how it is different, and how it is better than existing titles on the same topic. So that's your mantra for your market analysis: same, different, better. For this section, you wanna do some online research and drum up a few stats. So many stats, I know. Open with a paragraph that includes some sales/market statistics about your topic or field. Let's take a look at what that might look like. This is for a book that is about business practices for yogis and healers. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 28.2 million small businesses were up and running in 2011. Small businesses and entrepreneurs accounted for nearly two-thirds of the new jobs created between 1993 and 2013, and they represent nearly half of private-sector employment. This segment of the economy is constantly growing, and more new, small businesses are launched every sing...

le day. The reason this is here is because we're about to talk how the book that you are writing compares to other existing books in the same arena. What you're saying here is there is a ripe market for this book. That's why we're bothering to include statistics as you introduce the market section. Second paragraph: But many entrepreneurs dive in without truly exploring the best tactics for creating profitable, successful businesses. This is especially true for those entering the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, or LOHAS, industry, and a handful of savvy authors know this. Some books that explore topics aligned with my own include. Then you dive in to the comparisons. I've actually seen book proposals where people just go right into the comparisons. I feel like it can be helpful to warm it up a little bit, to talk about the reason why we're talking about these books that are like mine is because there are so many people who are dying to read about this topic. See? Look at them all. We can barely keep them from breaking down the walls. So, open with that paragraph that talks about stats, and then you're gonna highlight four to six titles that are similar with yours and compete with yours. Basically, the way you're gonna do this is you're gonna go on Amazon. (laughs) I have talked to literary agents about this, and I said, "So, you know, how do you research?" They're like, "Well, Amazon, mostly." So don't feel bad if that is the place that you end up doing most of your research for your market analysis. There may be books that you read to do research for your book. If you're deeply into this topic, you've probably read plenty of the books that compete with your book. So definitely draw upon your own knowledge, but because of the spread of types of books that you wanna include in the market analysis, just tapping your own knowledge is not necessarily the best way to go. You wanna also see when you put your topic into Amazon what does Amazon think is the most important topic or title in this category. Speaking of which, please include variety. It is perfectly fine to highlight wildly successful titles to illustrate that there's interest in your topic. It is perfectly okay to do a couple of bestsellers in that mix and to talk about how well they did. Another hot tip for you, don't compare your book to "Eat, Pray, Love." (audience members laugh) Please. (laughs) I have been told that by so many literary agents it's kind of a joke at this point. I've also heard them say that, you know, if you stack your market analysis section with nothing but bestsellers, and you're a first-time author and you've never gotten anything published, that can make you seem a little bit overblown. You might wanna scale it back a little bit. Not to mention the fact that less popular titles can be a great opportunity for you to point out what they forgot to do, what they failed to do, questions that they didn't address. You are going to try to do that to the bestsellers as well, but it might be a little more easy pickings when it comes to smaller titles. I would say generally steer clear of lots of self-published titles. You do want to show that traditional publishing has succeeded in this topic area, but you can throw one or two in there, especially if your topic area is one that hasn't been covered a lot by the big business. So, do your research and then discuss similarities, differences, and what sets your book apart. Same, different, better. That's what this section is all about. Let's look at what a market analysis section looks like. This is an example for a memoir by an immigrant from Sierra Leone. This is just one title within the market analysis section. You've got your intro, and then you'll have four to six paragraphs that look more or less like this. "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier" by Ishmael Beah received tremendous critical acclaim and sold well worldwide. The book follows Beah who, as a boy of 12, gets swept up in Sierra Leone's civil conflicts in the 1990s and is forced to fight alongside full-grown men. Beah's story is gripping but brutal and relies on shock tactics to keep the reader engaged. Although both his book and mine are memoirs set in Sierra Leone, my book offers a less violent and more balanced view into my home country's history as seen through the eyes of a relatable narrator. So, points out the things that are overlapping and the same, the things that the books share, talks about how they're different, and then gets into how they're better. You need to do this with each title. Four to six titles, each get a paragraph just like this one. All right, so, looking at the market analysis paragraph by paragraph, you wanna do that intro that includes statistics about your topic. This can be one to two paragraphs, just about. Then dig into your four to six titles that you've meticulously researched and highlighted. I would say try to limit this section to about two pages. It can get lengthy. If you end up with six strong titles that you wanna do a comparison with, it can cruise on into three pages, but try not to make it too long.

Ratings and Reviews

Beth Howard

Sally's presentation was excellent. She is articulate, professional and informative. I learned some great tips about adding statistics (and how/where to find them.) I especially appreciated her guest speakers, two seasoned literary agents who added helpful perspective. More classes from her, please!

Lee-Sean Huang

I am currently in the process of preparing my own book proposal. Sally's class is concise and super helpful in breaking down the elements and considerations needed to be awesome. I feel like I will be coming back to re-watch this while I prepare my proposal.

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