As a book development editor (and an author), I’ve helped authors create successful nonfiction books. One of the biggest trends I’ve seen recently is the growing number of nonfiction writers who are turning to self-publishing. This can be empowering for them, but without proper planning, it can lead to disappointment.
For example, I have one colleague who self-published a book on personal finance and then was frustrated when it didn’t sell well. But as far as I could tell, he had done absolutely no investigation of competing titles. His book sounded like every other book on personal finance. And without a strong platform to support the publication, he didn’t have a chance of reaching readers. If he’d spent some time researching the competition before writing his book, he would have realized that he had to have a unique selling proposition or angle that hadn’t already been done many times.