The presenter for the webinar was Liz Garton Scanlon and she recommended a long list of concept books. When they arrived, I eagerly sat down to read. I had to laugh after I finished One Dark Bird by Liz Garton Scanlon and Counting Crows by Kathi Appelt. Both are counting books about black birds.
I couldn’t help but wonder what Scanlon thought if she discovered Counting Crows (2015) while she was working on One Dark Bird (2019). The good news is that she both found publishers because they are very different books. There is room for both.
How often do we put an idea aside when we hear someone is working on something similar? What we need to do is keep writing and here is why.
When you write, you tell the fiction or nonfiction story through your individual point of view (POV). No matter what you are writing it will somehow reflect your unique take on the world. That other author? Even siblings have different experiences and look at things differently. What is the chance that this author will see things just like you do? Pretty slim. So keep writing.
Reslant or Reimagine
If you can read the other writer’s work, do. Although it probably isn't very like your own idea, it may be. And if it is, you can reslant or reimagine your own work. A nonfiction picture book could become fiction. Or you might write it for older readers. A book for an educational publisher will be different than one written for a trade publisher or a regional publisher. A picture book? It may be fully illustrated but it is different from a graphic novel.
Whether you are writing a counting book, a book about birds, or even one about the Fibonacci sequence, there is almost always room for more than one book. You simply need to find your unique point of view and the piece that only you could write.
Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 27 books for young readers. To find out more about her writing, visit her site and blog, One Writer's Journey.
Sue is also the instructor for Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins March 1, 2021) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins March 1, 2021).