The other day, I was surprised to see an ad for a book published fairly recently regarding Kitty Genovese, a woman murdered as bystanders watched in Queens, New York, in 1964. This case was so notorious for its study of human behavior (Why would witnesses fail to act?) that people have analyzed the event for decades. Most adults know the name and reference without blinking.
But what about younger people? A Psychology 101 undergraduate may have never heard about the case. To that student, Kitty Genovese and the question of bystander apathy are fresh news.
Nothing new under the sun
As you write your book, consider that your topic may be well-tread. Most issues are. For instance, I searched Amazon for books for a “new mother” and received over 60,000 results. Searches for “car repair” books yielded the same. Apparently, Amazon tops out at around 60,000 results.
For fun, I decided to try a more narrow topic. I searched for books on “eyeshadow” and got over 1,000 hits. This search revealed a passionate hatred for blue eyeshadow. I then tried “red lipstick” and got over 1,000 hits. This search shows that red lipstick is both loved and hated. On the day of my search, one book labeled red lipstick an icon, and another called it a menace. I’ll go with iconic, of course!
A compelling new twist
Whether you’re competing against 60,000 or 1,000 books on your subject, write compellingly. If you are the first author they encounter discussing an issue, your readers will be wide-eyed, whether or not they are rocking blue eyeshadow and red lipstick!