In an effort to spend more time on Twitter1, I came across a tweet with the following advice:
Go to the library and read 100 books published in your category in the past five years
I know I need to do more market research about my book. This is brilliant! I can totally do this.
Remember what your category is…
Oh right. My category is children’s book for families with a single-by-choice parent. How do I even search for that? [Types “children’s books for single-by-choice parents” in the search bar] Ok, there are a bunch. Most of these are even children’s books! (As opposed to books about single parenting for adults.) And… I have about a third of them already.
Between Amazon, Goodreads, and some [great compilation pages(https://www.topcounselingschools.org/rankings-helpful-books-for-single-mothers-by-choice/), I can definitely make a solid list. Still nowhere near 100, though. Also, I’m pretty sure I won’t find most of these in the library.
The joys of writing in an obsure and hyper-specific genre, right? Points for uniqueness?
Let’s get creative!
I decided to expand my search parameters. How about books about the many different kinds of families? Oh! Also, let’s see what Amazon recommends when I search for enough of these books:
- An inordinate number of mommy & me books. (A little too exclusive, but this is good stuff.)
- Books about how a baby is made. (This could get interesting…)
- Religious books. (As an athiest, it’s not exactly where I was going with this, but sure! Why not?)
Obviously, not all of these are 100% relevant to my exact topic of what is basically a love letter from a solo parent to their baby, but I’m never going to argue with more books.
Let’s get organized!
I created - say it with me - a spreadsheet!2 I only have 31 books in my list, but this spreadsheet has helped me gather some interesting information about these books so far, even without actually reading most of them just yet.
In this spreadsheet, I am recording the book title, author, illustrator, publisher, publication date, and my own random thoughts about the book.
Some interesting insights:
- Amazon does not always list a book’s illustrator. I know that this is (very likely) on the author or publisher to include that information, so this is not Amazon’s “fault”. However, why not list the illustrator? I know these books have illustrators (because what toddler is going to read an all-text book?). So, why not include them? After all, they are a huge part of the book.
- Goodreads lists both author and illustrator, which is super helpful. In general, Goodreads is much more useful for finding information about a specific book, but it is easier to find related books (and go down subsequent rabbit holes) on Amazon.
- I have never heard of half of these publishers. I think many of these are actually self-publishing names, which is great because that is my planned route!
- A lot of books were published in 2020. Hooray for pandemic writing!
- A lot of the rest of these books were published in the early-2000s. There seems to be very little in-between here.
Let’s start reading!
I will have more insights as I actually start reading these books. As I mentioned earlier, I already have a few of these books.
I am really hoping I can find these books in a library somewhere. I would love to just buy all of these books because that is the far easier option, but my budget is giving me a dirty look as I type this.
- More time on Twitter? Who does that?! Well, I guess I do know since I’m going to have to start marketing this book at some point, right? Twitter is as good a start as any.
- This should surprise no one who actually knows me.