The most effective method to recognize great book thoughts and writing opportunities

The most effective method to recognize great book thoughts and writing opportunities

The first and perhaps the most important step in writing a book is to have a great idea for a really useful or interesting book. The great idea makes writing fun. The great idea makes the book easier to sell to an editor. In the end, the great idea means that you have the opportunity to earn a lot of money with your writings. Unfortunately, many new writers have no idea how to do this. Consequently, I offer the following advice based on the approximately 150 books I have written and the three dozen books I have published:

Do not choose something big and obvious ...

The first complete book on any important topic (the last war, the current success of large companies, the next medical breakthrough) can be a good book that succeeds even to the point of becoming a sales success. But I respectfully suggest that you leave great topics to great writers. The problem with big well known problems is that they are well known. And that means, most likely, that great publishers are already talking to great authors about writing books. I'm sorry. But that is the reality.

Find your own space ...

A point related to this idea of   staying away from really important issues is that you need to find your space. You will find it very difficult to succeed, especially as a new writer, if you are doing what has already been done. Publishers, booksellers and readers will respond too easily to your book or book idea with the feeling: "Well, yes, but [hasn't it [insert the name of the best-selling and best-known writer]]?, It is possible You can find your own empty space, a niche that is no longer occupied by a successful book, series or author.

Fortunately, it is often not necessary to be very innovative to create the illusion of existing in a new space. Incremental innovation generally works well. All you need, sometimes, is to be different enough for publishers, booksellers and readers to say, "Oh, that seat is empty."

However, a warning must be made. His innovation cannot be "to write a better book." And it is not that writing a better book is not a good idea. It's just that "writing a better book" is not innovative. Too many writers think of the idea.

Test the market appeal of your idea ...

Here is another technique to filter and refine your ideas: you should write a press release about your idea to verify that the definitive book sells well as a concept. A press release is a news from a page that promotes your book and shows people who will help sell and promote your book (distributors, wholesalers, booksellers and magazine publishers) that your book is special and unique and worth looking at. . . Your press release gives your book the opportunity to leave the package of other books and get noticed. Any idea that cannot be distilled in an excellent press release is risky.

You can see the press releases of the books by visiting the websites of the publishers. You want to visit websites and look for press releases for books such as the book that can produce your idea. While doing this, look at any magazine that reviews books like the one you are contemplating: Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Booklist, etc. Have an idea about the type of books that make people talk

Create a list of periodicals that disseminate your book ...

If you are considering a nonfiction book, you should be able to present a list of a handful of special interest periodicals (magazines, newsletters, newspapers, etc.) that show that people are interested in the subject of your book. If you want to write a book about guinea pig farming, conspiracy theories about the last president or monetary policy in emerging economies, for example, one of the best ways to predict with confidence that people will buy and read your book is to verify that people are already buying and reading periodicals on the subject.

If you create such a list, include the list and subscriber count information in your proposal to an editor. The editor can use his list to promote his book. In fact, as a former editor, I promise that an editor will analyze more seriously any proposal that shows this level of author's knowledge about the marketing of a book.

Try to adapt your idea to an existing series ...

Here is another technique. If you can adapt your idea to an editor's existing series, you should try that approach. While, of course, writers find it more satisfying to follow our own path creatively, it will be much easier to sell another idea that fits an existing successful series.

I have always written about how to use technology for business and personal finance. That is my space. And I have many good interesting ideas for books. But my best selling book has been Quicken for Dummies (Hungry Minds 1993-2005). Would I like to write a different type of personal financial management book? Yes. But to date, Quicken for Dummies has sold a million copies in its numerous editions. The royalties on those solve any creative disappointment.

Focus on a small niche ...

That last issue I mentioned, the million copies of Quicken for Dummies, raises an interesting point. When thinking about the writing opportunities you pursue, know that you can earn a lot of money with a book that sells ten thousand copies. Maybe as much as $ 15,000. A book that sells twenty thousand copies or more is a great success for both you and your publisher. And that means that your best bet is often to go after a niche.

Don't just write another whodunit mystery, Or, better yet, write a mystery of mystery for Christian children or Muslim children or Jewish children. And then promote your book not only as all other mystery editors do, but also using religious education newspapers that go to churches, mosques or synagogues.

Do not worry about cutting the market too small. Few books, almost none, sell more than ten or twenty thousand copies. If you find a group of one hundred thousand or one million people with a special interest, even though it is a very small portion on a planet with billions of people, your book idea can produce a successful job.

Verify that your idea is big enough for a book ...

A final idea and this is especially important for new writers. You must ensure that your idea is large enough for a book: the content you will create is large enough to fill 250 pages or 500 pages or whatever. Experienced authors can do this intuitively. I know what my ideas support two hundred pages or four pages of writing. But new writers often cannot evaluate this very well. Have you ever read a book in which, in the third chapter, the author has just repeated the material already covered in chapters 1 and 2? That is a book where the idea was not big enough.

Especially for nonfiction books, you should try writing a couple of example chapters, maybe chapters 1 and 4, to make sure you have a great theme. Its chapters do not need to be pristine or perfect. But make sure you can write a couple of good and rich chapters that are not redundant. When you're done with those chapters, see what other topics you want to cover and make sure there are still things left for at least two or three more interesting chapters. A little repetition is fine, I think. But he doesn't want people to look for the TV's remote control in the second chapter.