Who knew an interview with authors of dinosaur erotica could actually be quite…sensible? I’m serious, y’all. Royalty-free photos, paying someone a fiver to make you a cover, researching the markets…
But here’s the gold:
“If your niche is popular, make sure you do everything you can to stand out.”
–Alara Branwen & Christie Sims
This is brilliant advice, and it sums up my recent thoughts. I took some kind of short-course back in my teenage years, a few hours led by someone who’d worked in Allen & Unwin’s non-fiction department. (I was the only other person in the room who’d read Merridy Eastman’s There’s a Bear in There (and He Wants Swedish).) When drafting a query, you need to note how your book differs from others on the market.
You know that term, “similar but different”? That’s what you need to do. Something that can fit into a genre easily, but unique enough that people will actually want to read your book. Because if yours is just “similar”, without the “different” part, then why should people buy yours instead of someone else’s?
Okay, I’ll stop playing vague: I’m thinking of New Adult. And erotica. These genres/subgenres seem overwhelming same-ish to date, and therefore it is very farking difficult to make your book stand out. Maybe you’ll get lucky and entice “subgenre-whores”, who will read anything and everything in their chosen section. But how to seduce your average Joe Reader? You need to grab them.
You’ve heard of the term “reluctant readers”, especially when it comes to children, but also people who are reluctant to read certain genres/subgenres. They’re reluctant because they haven’t found the right books to suit them yet. Maybe they think everything in that genre is rather same-ish. This is where you come in.
Dinosaur erotica is an example of “similar but different”. You need to be similar enough to fit into the market, but different enough to stand out. It’s not the paradox it seems. Because if you don’t have the “different”, why should we buy your book? Just because you wrote it? That’s not reason enough, especially if we don’t know you. We need more, and we want you to succeed. Don’t forget the “different”.