Have you ever written a story and sent it off either to a magazine or agent only to hear something like, "I'm sorry, but we have a work like that already?"
Some of the ways that I have been able to research the market is to check with the library. What are some of the new releases?
I receive an email newsletter from the Sarasota County library that posts new arrivals. I can choose from several filters.
Another tool used frequently is the library online search for books. I can log in from home and search for books by subject. If the book is not at my home library I can request a hold and they will send it to my home library for easy pickup.
Horn Book Review, Kirkus review, Publisher's Weekly are a few that offer best books for the year and you can filter to children's books.
Of course we all know Amazon is a great tool for researching subjects and can also read excerpts of the book to give you an idea of the slant the author has taken.
Another helpful tool to use is Renaissance Readers, this site tells you published date, number of pages and much more.
But why do a market research?
You don't want to spend volumes of time and effort on a topic that has been recently published unless you can slant it differently. You will need to be able to show how your book is different and why it should be published.
In my recent market research I have been looking at picture book biographies. I'm amazed at how focused they are, but still contain other information not known before or not highlighted before.
Some things to note in your Market research:
Target age group
Fiction or Nonfiction
Chapters: How many pages to a chapter?
Who is the main character?
What POV is used?
Prose or Poetry?
What are some of you market research techniques?