When I look at a query letter the first thing I look at is the idea. I want something that stands out, that grabs my attention, that feels marketable, and gets me excited to read a book. When choosing the idea for your book it’s imperative you analyze it as carefully as you revise the writing.
Writers often say the idea just came to me. Which is great, ideas are great that way. They pop into your head and suddenly a book forms around it. But just because it shows up, doesn’t mean it’s the idea you should write.
The idea is the core of your book and yet its the place we spend the least amount of time considering. It pops into our head so we must write. Wrong.
Choosing an Idea
As much time as we spend thinking about the perfect title should be spent finding the perfect idea. One idea coming to you isn’t enough, before writing you need to be considering many.
You need to sit with yourself and your critique partners and discuss and debate numerous ideas. When pitching the next book to your agent and editor you should be pitching not one idea, but three, four, or five.
The idea is what sells your book. You can spend years honing your writing, but even the best written books are sunk if the idea isn’t strong enough for people to pick it up in the first place.
When that great idea comes to you don’t settle. Ask yourself what other ideas you have. Consider current books and whether it’s different enough. Play with it to see how it can be elevated.
Take that idea to the next level and make it something I drop everything to read.