Choosing the Right Idea for Your Book

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Oct 08 2020

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.

3 responses to “Choosing the Right Idea for Your Book”

  1. Avatar Kim Beall says:

    That’s great advice, to discuss my ideas with my CPs and choose/hone the right one for my next project. I never would have thought of that, but I’m going to do it now. Thanks!

  2. Avatar Cian Ó Riain Broin says:

    A lovely post. Would love to see a video or a blog post about Wattpad and how an aspiring author could make use of it!

  3. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    This is advice you gave me a number of years ago, Jessica, and is something I have never forgotten.