The day before the recent Austin SCBWI conference, I gleaned a discomforting tidbit from one of the Featured Guests: An established writer of well-regarded picture book biographies is working with a publisher on a subject identical (or at least very closely related) to one that I’ve been wrestling with for more than three years now.
I must have blanched when F.G. told me, because F.G. immediately began reassuring me that there’s always room for more than one biography on a subject, that I shouldn’t be discouraged, that competing books can stir up more interest in a topic, etc. And frankly, I’d been surprised all along these past several years that there wasn’t already a children’s book on this person — he seems like such a natural subject, which I guess is how everyone should feel about the topic they’re writing about.
Still, I’d been wondering what my first order of writing business would be upon the end of my vacation (which is… now). And I do believe it will be finishing up my current chunk of research and taking a crack at another draft of my manuscript. I don’t know when this other author’s potentially competing book will see the light of day, but I’d rather it be after I’ve got a manuscript under contract for my own version.