How Can You Compete?

As a writer, I tend to empathize with other writers and the challenges they face. For example, if you write technothrillers, how do you compete with the cyberattacks that keep shutting down portions of Ukraine’s power grid? If you write political fiction, it must be hard to come up with a good story line when Russia is putting their thumb on the scale to impact elections in almost every western country.

Even Ian Fleming couldn’t come up with a way to combat a SMERSH leader who kills his adversaries with poisoned umbrella tips or radioactive isotopes slipped into their tea. But, then again, where’s the novelty in throwing political rivals into prison.

Who would believe a story in which democratically elected officials prepare legislation in secret, or who need to vote the bill to find out what is in it? Even George Orwell couldn’t pull that off.

Evelyn Beatrice Hall’s estate would have to change the quote to “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death my right to disapprove.”

When the world is filled with buffoonery, how can you surprise readers with a comedic twist?

Therefore, I’m focusing on specialized niche markets that haven’t received adequate attention in the 21st century. I offer a humble example:

SEE DICK.

SEE DICK GOOGLE.

GOOGLE, DICK, GOOGLE.

SEE JANE.

SEE JANE SNAPCHAT.

CHAT, JANE, CHAT.

The first-grade edition of a modern-day reading primer. By the third-grade, the plot thickens, and includes stalking, illicit cell phone photos, drive-by shootings, opioid addiction, and FBI agents posing as little girls—just like real life, but in small words and short sentences. All aimed to help children love the wonder of reading.

It’s a small niche, though. My publisher advises me that most schools are satisfied when their students read at the third-grade level, so there is no market beyond that.

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