As a publisher, we are in a somewhat privileged position to see a global view of the topic(s) lots of people are currently writing about. Topics come and go in seasons and it is often easy to spot a ‘wave’ of interest for a particular subject area – which in turn leads to important questions about how to position a book in the marketplace.
As an author, you have a few questions to ask yourself about your chosen topic. First and foremost: has someone else already written about what I want to write about? This may sound obvious, but a surprisingly large number of people have submitted manuscripts on topics that have already been well covered by others. So, a second question: do I have something to say on this topic that is relevant and has not been picked up by other authors?
Again, getting into the mindset of a publisher, it’s important to be able to differentiate your book from the many others on the same topic that will likely exist in the marketplace. What makes yours different? How will it stand out from the crowd? What makes your book the best book to read on that topic?
Two pieces of advice:
First, do your research. Know who else has written on your subject and what they have to say. Make sure you have a fresh angle on it and something original to say.
Second, consider all of this when pitching your idea to a publisher. Be sure to point out that you are aware of possible competing titles and know why your particular take on the topic is unique and valuable.