13 Ways to Know You Have the Right Idea For Your Book

Author:
Publish date:

This excerpt comes from How to Write a Book Proposal, 4th Editionby Michael Larsen. 

Image placeholder title

When Michael Pietsch at Little, Brown and Company first read part of David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest, he said, “I want to do this book more than I want to breathe.” How much do you want to do your book?

Your challenge: finding the best book for you to write because the idea pushes as many of the following hot buttons for you as it can.

1. Your passion for writing it
2. Its potential for generating fame and fortune
3. The timing for it
4. Its originality
5. Your credentials or years of experience in your field
6. Your track record
7. Your ability to write about it
8. Your platform
9. Your ability to test-market it
10. Your ability to promote it
11. Its potential to be a series
12. The size of the markets for it
13. The communities you have online and off to help you

Finding the right focus for your book—neither too broad nor too narrow—is essential. As one wag put it, “Don’t start vast projects with half-vast ideas.” Nobel Prize–winning author Toni Morrison suggests one criterion for deciding to write a book: Would you buy it?

Buy it now!

Viet Thanh Nguyen | The Committed | Writer's Digest Quote

WD Interview: Viet Thanh Nguyen on The Committed

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen discusses the challenges of writing his second novel, The Committed, and why trusting readers can make for a more compelling narrative in this WD interview.

Dinty W. Moore: Poking Fun at Hell and Dante's Inferno

Dinty W. Moore: Poking Fun at Hell and Dante's Inferno

In this post, Dinty W. Moore shares what inspired his most recent book To Hell With It, what lesson it taught him, why writers should have fun with their writing, and more!

Arisa White: Putting the Pieces Together

Arisa White: Putting the Pieces Together

In this post, Arisa White shares how she was able to piece together her past with her present, how some works freed her to write, and more!

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Adapt vs. Adept vs. Adopt (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use adapt vs. adept vs. adopt with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

wow no thank you

Nuggets of Humor

Bestselling humor author Samantha Irby talks about her writing process and finding funny topics for essays.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

Announcing the 14th annual April Poem-A-Day Challenge on Poetic Asides. Here are the guidelines for this fun annual poeming challenge that starts on April 1.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Call for Submissions, Free Downloads, and more!

This week, we’re excited to announce a call for submissions to the WD Self-Published Book Awards, free resources for writers, and more!

Flash Fiction Challenge

2021 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 28

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write a story using only dialogue.