Paranormal seems to be a big trend in YA lately. Some people love that, and some are totally over it.
I find myself in the (un)fortunate position to be writing a paranormal story. And because it’s based on the Caribbean jumbies I grew up with, I figured that I was still standing out from the pack. And then I came across this book.
While the premise of this book is different from my own, the setting and creepy cast are similar. I really hate to participate in trends, so at first, this really chafed.
My next reaction: curiosity.
It’s my job as a writer to know what’s happening in the market. I need to know the genres and trends so that I know where I stand in the world of children’s lit. And finding stories that are similar to mine, can only be an advantage. I was worried before that my premise was too out there, but now I know it’s not. (Meanwhile, Nalo Hopkinson has the jump on both me and this author as far as writing about Caribbean folklore creatures is concerned.) If this book does well, it bodes well for someone else taking a chance on mine. The similarities between my book and this one are close enough to perhaps attract the same readers, but the premises are different enough that should my book be published, it won’t tread on her ground. We’re also in different age brackets. My book is MG. Hers is YA.
As a writer, this is part of the job. There’s hardly anything new under the sun, so it’s how you set yourself apart that matters.
Read the work that’s similar to yours.
Know the market for that type of book.
Distinguish yourself from the pack.
(If only I could take my own advice on that last one, I’d be all set.)