Troubleshooting: If You Can't Find A "Book Nemesis" (Or Book Buddy Or Cousin)

The book nemesis exercise can be a bit tough, but it’s super-valuable to work through.

Your book nemesis doesn’t need to be the opposite of your topic or Spiky POV. It just needs to be a book that is related to yours (in any way — topic, audience, spiky POV, etc.) that you disagree with in some way.

If you can't find a Book Nemesis at the moment, here’s what I’d recommend:

  1. Browse at a bit more of a high level. What are other books your audience would read? Is there one of them that is very different than how you would have written it?
  2. Is there a particular opinion that feels a bit off to you? A particular tone?
  3. Try to just go with your gut here. Find a book that feels similar to yours but “off” in some way, and then ask yourself: How would I have written a similar book, but in a different way so that it feels “right?”

If you’re still having trouble finding a Nemesis, search for tangential topics or audiences. For example, don’t search for your exact topic — search for things around it! Search for other books your audience reads.

Let’s say you were writing about self-publishing. If you were having trouble finding a nemesis in that topic … search general “writing” books instead. And general “self-improvement,” “business,” and similar things like that. Because your audience would potentially read those things too, and therefore their comments will be valuable to you.

You may be asking yourself, are my book buddies/cousins /nemeses redundant? The short answer is: no! Each of those books should serve a different purpose for you.

Here's a refresher on the purpose of each:

Book Nemesis

What’s one thing about the book that doesn’t resonate with you — and how can you do “the opposite” of that in your book, so that your book is more “like you?”

Book Cousin

What’s one thing about the book that does resonate with you — that you can emulate for your book, which serves a slightly different topic or audience than the one you found?

Book Buddy

What’s one thing about the book that does resonate with you — that you can emulate for your book?


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