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