My agent asked me to do a competitive analysis for my novel proposal. Two, actually: one for the CBA and one for the ABA. The CBA one will be easy, because I’ve attended (and taught at) numerous Christian writers’ conferences and spoken to countless CBA authors, publishers, and agents over the years–and I read a LOT of Christian fiction. But I haven’t had as much in-depth personal experience with the ABA. So I did the logical thing: I went to Amazon.com and did a search for my genre. What a complete disaster!
Since the pages that come up in a genre search do not reveal the publisher, I had to click on each title and scroll down to see who published it. The VAST majority of the time, I recognized that the book had been self-published.
Because Amazon has its own self-publishing arms (both print and digital), its website is FLOODED with their own self-published books, in addition to books printed by other subsidy publishers (and some that list the author’s name as the publisher).
I don’t see those as being of interest to commercial publishing houses in a competitive analysis for a proposal.
And because Amazon offers out-of-print books, both in print and as e-books, a LOT of the books on their site are too old to include in a competitive analysis.
After wasting way too many hours and becoming incredibly frustrated, I switched tactics. I went to Barnes & Noble’s website. What a delight! Every book on the website was commercially published and fairly new. I then took the next step and went to a B&N store. Even more delightful! I LOVE bookstores, and B&N especially. Hubby and I perused the store for quite some time, and I bought a book that looks similar to my WIP. Can’t wait to read it!
I now have an ABA competitive analysis for my proposal. Yea!