13 Ways to Know You Have the Right Idea For Your Book - Writer's Digest

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!

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: The 3 Prime Rules of Horror Writing, Contest Deadlines, and More!

Welcome to the first installment of a new series! There's always so much happening in the Writer's Digest universe that even staff members have trouble keeping up. So we're going to start collecting what's on the horizon to make it easier for everyone to know what's happening and when.

Bell_10:25

Lenora Bell: When Fairy Tales Meet Reality TV

Bestselling historical romance author Lenora Bell discusses researching, avoiding info-dumps while still charming readers, and how her latest book was inspired by her life.

Major_10:24

Three Keys to Crafting Chemistry Between Characters

Romance author Michelle Major explains her three go-to tips for ensuring your characters have believable chemistry.

Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

Take Two: Saving Money on Your Screenwriting Career

No one wants to break the bank to learn how to write a screenplay. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman shares practical tips on saving money on the pursuit of a screenwriting career.

richard_adams_watership_down_quotes_a_rabbit_has_two_ears_a_rabbit_has_two_eyes_two_nostrils_they_ought_to_be_together_not_fighting

10 Epic Quotes From Watership Down, by Richard Adams

Here are 10 epic quotes from Watership Down, by Richard Adams. The story of a group of rabbits who escape an impending danger to find a new home, Watership Down is filled with moments of survival, faith, friendship, fear, and hope.

WD Poetic Form Challenge

WD Poetic Form Challenge: Quintilla Winner

Learn the winner and Top 10 list for the Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge for the quintilla.

plot_twist_story_prompts_fight_or_flight_robert_lee_brewer

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.

Garfield

Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.

Pennington_10:21

The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.