The Power of Differentiation

One thing that publishers hate to do is release the second book of anything. They want to publish the first book EVER to … *fill in the blank.* To succeed with your book, you’ll need to tap into the power of differentiation.

A daunting proposition, perhaps?

A lot of our clients confront anxiety around this, especially those whose topic has been widely covered, like business, medicine, dating and relationships, and health and fitness.

I mean, how many different ways can you say, “Eat less, move more”?

There’s Nothing New Under the Sun

With so much content out there, it can seem like you’ve got nothing to add that isn’t already in print. Or maybe you fear that you don’t have enough unique content to warrant a book. Let’s put the “not unique” fear to rest. No need to question whether you have unique and relevant content.  Trust that you do and move forward.

The question to ask is, “How can I position my knowledge in a such a way that I can say, ‘this is the first book ever to… (insert your message here)?’”

To answer this question is vital, because if you’re unable to differentiate your message, it’s nearly impossible to obtain a book deal. And even if you self-publish, your reader doesn’t want the second book of anything either!

Find Your Special Sauce

You must identify your uniqueness—that special sauce that makes your message so delicious. What new perspectives are you bringing to a conversation that’s already in flow? Or, what unique perspectives can you bring to a conversation that no one is having yet, but they should?

Try this hypothetical. Imagine you’re on a panel with the top five experts in the world on your topic. Ask yourself: “What idea or nugget could I bring to the conversation that everyone else would be like, ‘Wow! I never thought of that!’?”

What came to mind? Anything? If so, write it down. It just might be your special sauce.

Test Your Concept

Once you have an inkling of what your special sauce might be, it’s time to test it. You can’t just go to an agent or publisher and say, “This feels unique!” You’ve got to know it is.

The best way to know is to look at traditionally published books on your topic (released within the last five years) and have performed well. Narrow it down to the 5 most similar to yours. Compare and contrast those books with the one you intend to write. Once you do, you can see very clearly what these top experts have said already, and even more importantly, what they haven’t said.

Then, you can fill that gap.

Be a Revolutionary—the Rewards Outweigh the Risks

Differentiation requires you to go beyond what’s already been discovered in the past.

True, it can feel safer to stay in the zone where everyone agrees. But, it’s the kiss of death if you want a book deal. Don’t be afraid to shake things up. Be willing to challenge the “conventional wisdom” of the day.

Often, especially in fields of rapid innovation, by the time “wisdom” becomes “conventional,” it’s no longer true. Few truths are absolute. Much of what we think of as true today will become untrue over time.

A big benefit in being one of the few that challenges conventional wisdom and presents new perspectives is that it demonstrates to people that you’re not an “average expert.” You are a leader.

Sharing your leading-edge ideas has powerful implications, not only for a book deal, but also for growing your brand and business. You can both differentiate yourself as a potential author and in the marketplace at large.

The Bottom Line is This:

Use the power of differentiation. Determine what makes you and your book unique to both increase your odds of getting a traditional book deal and help you grow your brand and business.