I originally wrote this blog post for R E Loten's blog last year. I have edited it slightly.
The question came up in a Facebook group “Which book do you wish you had written?” The majority went for Harry Potter.
Here’s the thing - only J K Rowling is J K Rowling. If someone else had written Harry Potter it would not be Harry Potter because only J K Rowling could write Harry Potter. The same is true for any writer, only they can tell that story.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to another writer. If you are attempting to get published traditionally you are encouraged to read similar books to yours for comparison. Publishers like to take on authors whose books they know will sell. Certain formulas are known to be successful as they are popular with readers so authors can be pushed in the direction of making their book more marketable. Writing to some formula you are not happy with because that sells must be soul destroying.
If you self-publish you are expected to research how to present your book so that it sits comfortably in your genre.
Publishing is tough, there is so much competition and rejection attached to it. You have to be strong and have faith in what you are doing to survive.
As a reader, I like to read something unique. The books that stay in my head have something about them that makes them stand out from the crowd, because in my eyes there is something special about them. I call these books my six-star books.
My answer to the question “Which book do you wish you had written?” is none of them because if I had written them, they wouldn’t be what they are and I wouldn’t have got to experience them as a reader. Reading a book you have written is a whole different experience. Maybe, one day, one of my books will be someone’s six-star book, maybe not and I am ok with that. I don’t need a bestseller either, I am happy as I am.