What makes my book unique?

May 11, 2009 · 0 comments

A big part of selling my book will be convincing both an agent and a publisher that it’s unique, different than travel memoirs already on bookstore shelves.

So from the beginning, I’ve asked myself: What makes my book unique?

Travelogues written by women voyaging alone have become so popular, they’re practically their own genre (Think: Eat, Pray Love.) And plenty of travel memoirs are set in Africa.

But put those two themes together, and you’ll recognize the niche I’m about to fill: Very few travel memoirs have been written by women traveling in Africa. It’s even rarer for a female author to backpack the continent alone.

My book, however, must be unique for more than its plot. Publishers and readers will look for a literary voice that stands out, a style that’s fresh. I’ve got to let my dry humor and perspective shine, while shedding light on far-away places and foreign friends. That means inserting my personality into my writing.

In the end, that’s what’s going to make this book sucessful: my writing personality. My style. My voice.

Watch out, literary world.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Galen Kindley May 11, 2009 at 8:17 am

Forgive me if I’ve missed this–I feel like I must have–will your book have photographs? Africa most certainly is a place for unique photos. Did you do much of that?

Best Regards, Galen


Alexis Grant May 11, 2009 at 9:01 am

I do have some wonderful photos.

But I need to do more research on how to present that in my proposal, since I imagine photos make a book more expensive for publishers. Anyone else have advice on this?


Karen Walker May 11, 2009 at 8:47 am

Hi Alexis,
How weird! I went to sleep last night thinking about your travel memoir and what was going to make it unique, because, I too, had realized there are lots of memoirs written by women traveling alone. And here you are letting us know you’re thinking about that. You are thinking about all the right things, and going about it so cleverly and thoroughly, you are sure to succeed.



Alexis Grant May 11, 2009 at 9:01 am

So nice to know you care, Karen! Thanks.


Marvin D Wilson May 11, 2009 at 11:26 am

Yep. Got that right. It is the author’s “voice” that not only sells a particular book/story, it is what brings people back to read all your books.


Elle Parker May 11, 2009 at 12:50 pm

I agree – author’s voice is everything, especially in a book like this. Choosing to read it is very much like deciding if you’d actually want to travel with that person

Elle Parker


Alexis Grant May 12, 2009 at 8:23 am

I really like this idea: Do readers want to travel with me? And K.A.’s ideas below add to that, too.


K. A. Laity May 11, 2009 at 10:58 pm

You’re definitely on the right track. Elle is right: it’s wanting to be along on the trip with you that will draw readers. I have a feeling you will make the trip interesting and informative. What are you like in a tight spot? That’s a real test. Is that where you rely on humour?


Dr.Mani May 12, 2009 at 1:03 pm

I remember a travelogue titled “Our Hearts Were Young and Gay” about two young ladies who took Paris (and Europe) by storm. Now THAT was a writing persona that’s remarkable and memorable – must be well over twenty years since I read it, and I still remember it!

All success


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