Recently, I went online at my local library to request Don’t Leave, a picture book by Amy K. Rosenthal. Not only did my library have that book, they also had another picture book by the same name, this one by Tom Booth. Curious just how similar the two books would be, I checked them both out.
Nor surprisingly, there were similarities.
- Both books break the 4th wall and address the reader directly.
- Both books challenge the reader not to blink.
- Both books feature anthropomorphic animal characters.
That was it, but it made me think. How often have I given up on a project because I hear that an agent has just sold something similar? Or a pubilsher has announced a book by the same name?
But the pairing of Don’t Blink titles made me realize several things.
Don’t Give Up
These books were published a year apart. It isn’t likely, but what if Rosenthal had heard about Booth’s book and given up? She would have lost a publication.
But she finished her book and pursued publication and so should I because . . .
The Similarities Would Have Been Limited
Both of these picture books are about blinking and both challenge the reader not to blink. But one is a bedtime story allegedly encouraging the reader to stay awake. Every time you blink, you have to turn a page. The second is a staring contest between the characters and the reader. It is also a cummulative tale with more and more animals characters arriving until they all leave to do other things.
My book on a topic and a pubilshed book on the same topic would like be just as different. Why?
Each author brings a unique perspective to his or her work. Yesterday, I was watching the Kidlit Distancing Social with Candice Ransom. One of the things that she discussed is that if every person watching the video wrote a book about birds, they would all be different.
Each of us brings out own interests, experiences and talents to the table. These things shape our books and make them unique.
That said, you should still check what is out there. That way you will know how your work is unique and will be able to share this with potential publishers.