Tuesday, September 22, 2015

How to Eliminate Your Competition

It is easy to have competitive feelings in the publishing world. Admittedly there are thousands of books and websites all trying to get your attention and eyeballs. Whether you have a manuscript and are trying to get the attention of a literary agent or publisher or your book is published and in the marketplace and you are attempting to get readers and buyers of your book. It can feel crowded and hard to break through the noise.

I've been at conferences and new writers are trying to get my attention for their project or book.It can be a challenge to have your few minutes with an editor or agent in that environment. In this article, I want to give you a couple of tools to eliminate your competition (or at least reduce this tension).

1. Your Attitude 

Some writers view themselves surrounded with competitors. Others see the competition as someone to partner with and help. It is old visual of the half-filled glass. It is half empty or half full? Your attitude will be a huge part in this process. I view my “competitors” as someone that I can learn from and help. If I help them, then they are prone to help me.

There is always something new to learn from anyone who crosses your path—whether they are brand new in the business or they are experienced.  If you take this open attitude, then it will draw others to you instead of propel them away.

2. Your Actions

With the attitude adjustment, take a careful look at others who are in your field or niche. Now ask yourself the question, “How can you help that person or business?” Take several minutes to brainstorm some answers on paper. Can you post a tweet or Facebook post about that author or business? Can you write for a review copy of their book, then read the book and write an honest review? Can you approach them about guest blogging for them or contributing an article for their website or newsletter? Do they have an affiliate program? Can you join their program (usually free) and market their book or product to your audience and make money? These types of efforts create a win-win philosophy for each party. You are helping them to reach a new audience and you are also earning money from the effort.

When you begin to be open to these possibilities, you will see there are many different ways you can help others. The key is to take action and move forward with these ideas. It does not happen in isolation but in partnership, great things transpire.

Several months ago, Patricia Fry approached me to possibly endorse her new book. Propose Your Book is a targeted to people who want to learn how to successfully sell a book proposal. If this topic sounds familiar, it should because almost ten years ago I wrote and launched Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. The book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews and continues to help many people. I've not updated this printed book in years but I hold the exclusive Ebook rights and have continually updated the Ebook version. I even created a free book proposal checklist (follow the link).

On the surface, I could have balked at Patricia's request because this new book is one of my competitors. To be honest the thought did not cross my mind and instantly I wrote back saying, I'd be honored to help and requested a printed copy of the book. If I'm going to endorse a book, I read the book cover to cover to make sure I have something unique and honest to say about the book.  Patricia sent the book and gave her publisher's deadline for the endorsement.

Last week, I received an autographed copy of Propose Your Book. Prominently on the back cover are these words:

“To learn a skill like book proposal creation, I want to turn to someone like Patricia Fry who is aware of the current market needs, authoritative, detailed, and honest. Read this book and follow the instructions, then an editor or literary agent will want to champion and sell your submission.”

--W Terry Whalin, bestselling author of more than sixty books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams

My endorsement helps Patricia but also promotes my latest writing book. Because Propose Your Book is brand new, I noticed there are no reviews on Amazon—at this writing. Often the publisher will include the endorsements on the Amazon page (something which has not happened yet for this book). Even though I write a number of reviews, it would look odd to endorse and also review this book. Part of my effort in helping Patricia is writing this article and promoting it—which tells people about the availability of this excellent book.

The next move is yours to apply this information to your own writing life. What actions are you taking today to eliminate your competition?

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