In trying to write a proposal for a traditional publisher, I gave this section it’s fair consideration too. It is a reference for the publisher to see a) that you understand that publishing is a business; and b) what part of the market that you are targeting.
I used amazon.com and wikipedia.org as my primary research resources. As for the books, I had read the non-fiction bestsellers or books of interest that would serve as either competition or references. In terms of references, I took this to mean both the type of book, the market segment that I would be writing to, and the sales potential.
Remember: I was (and am!) hunting big game in terms of non-fiction best sellers. Here’s what I wrote:
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Competing or Reference Books
The author suggests the following three examples as competing books. He believes the success of these books is an indicator of sales potential for ONE as much as it is an indicator of adversarial potential; i.e. readers who bought these books would be interested in ONE:
– OUTLIERS: The Story of Success. (Malcolm Gladwell, Little, Brown & Company ). # 8 on Amazon.com non-fiction best sellers’ list (518 days) as of 23 February 2010.
– THE TIPPING POINT (Malcolm Gladwell, Little, Brown & Company ) # 26 on Amazon.com non-fiction best sellers’ list (1,291 days) as of 23 February 2010.
– SUPERFREAKONOMICS: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. (Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, William Morrow). # 34 on Amazon.com non-fiction best sellers’ list (133 days) as of 23 February 2010. The previous FREAKONOMICS book sold over 4 million copies.
ONE will exploit the same reader base that these three books appealed to, and will rival them in terms of intriguing ideas presented in an easy-to-read, engaging style. ONE will also provide answers raised by the following type of books, but not in an academic or an ideological fashion:
– WHO STOLE FEMINISM? How Women Have Betrayed Women (Christina Hoff-Sommers, Simon & Schuster) From Amazon.ca review by Rocco R.: “The American people are tired of disingenuous, narrow special interests, lies, and deceptions—which is precisely the reason why Christina Hoff-Sommer’s book is so enormously popular.”
– SPREADING MISANDRY: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture (Paul Nathanson and Katherine K Young, McGill-Queen’s University Press). At Amazon.ca: “What makes Spreading Misandry a useful book is that it puts a small spoke in the works of the large and noisy machinery of moral indignation that feminism has succeeded in constructing in academe and the media over the last 20 years.” The Sunday Independent
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Okay, nobody laugh. I am now about to leave for my first ever hot yoga class.
“Apology, Madam. I thought the instructor said ‘downward dirty dog.’ Won’t happen again, I assure you. Besides, my eyes were closed. Is it hot in here, or is it just me?”