Your Competitive Edge as an Indie Ebook Author
Welcome to Part 3 of the 8-part Indie Author Business Plan. In this segment of our series we’ll discuss the importance of knowing your competition and explore ways you can use knowledge gained from researching competitors to your advantage.
We started this series with the development and creation of a company purpose, and from there, we focused on defining a target audience. So far, we’ve solidified our identity by creating core values, goals, and a clear mission statement and have found ourselves ready to begin serious research on our competitors so we can get a feel for how we compare as well as learn best practice strategies that have already been field-tested by authors just like you.
Part Three: The Competition
This is the part of the process where you do your due diligence by scanning the field of authors in your territory to pick up on any advantages you may be able to take away. It’s also important to know where you fit into the current field of play so you can identify and exploit your differences and similarities when marketing your ebook. Readers want to know how you compare. If you have knowledge of authors similar to you, who your current or prospective readers might be fans of, you’ll be better equipped to market yourself thanks to this important knowledge.
Leading Authors in the Genre
Find out who the leading authors in your genre are and start to take note of what they bring to the table. Try to find out by reading interviews with them how these leading authors were able to make their names prominent. Consider how you, yourself, discovered them in the first place? Did you find them easily with a Google search? Did you hear their name by word of mouth? Did you come across a paid advertisement, either online or in the real world, that led you to this author? These are all important factors as you can learn which avenues of marketing were successful, plus by taking note of how you discovered these authors you’ll have first-hand experience of the customer journey.
Leading Authors in Sub-genre
Take your research a few steps further by researching authors in sub-genres as well. These authors may be a bit more unique in the content they are putting out, but the strategies they use to market themselves can be even more helpful providing outside-the-box ideas to apply. You can never do too much research, and should always keep competitors in mind. It is also a great idea to reach out to the ones who are most successful for tips on how they found success and could also lead to a marketing partnership where both parties benefit by leveraging each other’s fan bases and reaching more people. Sometimes going outside of your comfort zone to start a discussion can lead to the kind of huge growth you never would have otherwise expected.
By monitoring the competition and identifying successful and unsuccessful strategies you give yourself and your brand a competitive advantage just by having a knowledge of the world you strive to be an important part of. This is not about stealing ideas, or being one step ahead of other authors, or being better than anyone else – this is about bettering yourself by studying and respecting those who have come before you so you can contribute your gifts in the best way possible just as successful competitors have done. Remember your ebook fulfills a need for a specific demographic and you want to make sure that every prospective reader within that demographic is able to discover your work.
— Marquina (@Marquina) June 15, 2016