Every Business Category is Over-Published
This is just one more reality of the business book market: from management to personal finance, from leadership to real estate, every business book market is over-crowded. This comes as no surprise to business book editors and publishers, who know intuitively that this is simply a given. Nonetheless, it makes the job of a literary agent or editor all the more complex.
For acquisition editors, most of which have a quota to fill (e.g. acquire 20 books per year), this reality makes their lives truly difficult. The same is true for agents, who also hope to thread the needle with each book project by putting a new spin on a topic that has likely been covered to death. I am not saying that there are no new ideas under the sun—of course there are. However, discovering those niches becomes increasingly difficult with each passing publishing season.
That’s why the author platform (the author’s ability to help sell his or her book) has emerged as one of the two top criteria editors use in evaluating the viability of business book projects (the other is the quality of the idea). Those authors who are hugely successful bloggers, give dozens of speeches per year, do extensive consulting, appear often on cable news channels, etc., will always be looked upon far more favorably than those authors who do not have these things going for them.
But this isn’t all bad, as it forces authors to not only think outside the box but to throw the box out altogether. This means coming up with new research areas, new concepts (even if that entails putting a new spin on an “old” idea), marketing themselves in new ways and more. The good news is that this is happening and people are buying good business books in fairly robust numbers, even during this last disastrous recession.
So rather than be intimidated by the glut of books out there, use it to sharpen your ideas, become far more aggressive in your efforts to be published (and in marketing your book later), and don’t let anyone ever talk you out of pursuing your passion. For it is passion that often separates the old ideas from the new and exciting concepts that can catapult your next book on to the bestseller list.