How to Identify and Define Your Unique Selling Point to Differentiate Your Self-Help, How-To or Business Book from Every Other Expert on the Subject



How is your book different from similar books on the market? How will it stand out from published books already available in the marketplace that may compete with yours for the same buyers? What exactly is your unique selling point? What is different about your book compared to competitive titles?

How to Identify Your Unique Selling Point

Every new book will compete with other books. Knowing your competitors is a great tool to ensure the book you’re creating will present unique material and fill an exclusive place in the market. Imagine your book in the bookstore. What books will be next to your book? Who are those authors? Why would someone choose your book instead of another author’s book?

Amazon is an excellent source for identifying similar books. Enter a keyword search for your book idea and Amazon’s search-engine will produce a list of current books on your topic that you can research further. Review the books listed in the “Customers who bought this book also bought” section to find additional similar bestselling books.

For each book:

  • Peruse the table of contents to determine the scope of material covered and the way it is presented.
  • Read the descriptions and review the back cover: Note the marketing copy, selling points and who has endorsed the book.
  • Check out the reader reviews to learn what readers liked, didn’t like, and what they wish had been included or covered.
  • Explore the content: Read a few chapters and identify the approach, point of view, structure, depth and style. Is the book packed with hard-hitting information, statistical/technical overload, complex theories, or detailed accounts? Or, does it contain simple step-by-step instructions, homespun advice, basic processes, or easily understood philosophy?
  • Review the bibliography and note if the sources the author used differ from your list (which may indicate a difference in perspective and material covered).
  • Check the copyright page for the number of editions published. This will indicate how successful the book is. Some books will list “Tenth edition”. For others, you need to search for a small sequence of numbers at the bottom of the page (such as 10, 9, 8, 7). These numbers indicate what print run the book is on. The more printings of the book, the more successful it has been.

Defining Your Unique Selling Point:

Once you’ve completed the research, you should be able to fully identify your book’s unique selling point and what separates it from the competition.

  • Do you take an unusual angle on a subject?
  • Is your perspective on the subject fresh, new, more complete, more concise?
  • Does your book present new information or a new discovery?
  • Do you present new content or a fresh approach to old content?
  • Do you link ideas in a new way?
  • Do you explore a recent trend or current topic in the news?
  • Does your book fill a gap in the market – a niche within the subject that is not being addressed or a position that has opened up due to out-of-date, inaccurate, or poorly written books on the topic?

Use your answers to these questions to craft a unique selling point statement for your book.

(To help you identify and define your unique selling point, you can also use the “Analysis of Similar Books Worksheet” and the “Unique Selling Point Worksheet” included in the Expert Author Workbook.)