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Does Your Idea Work?

Ideas are cheap and abundant; what is of value is the effective placement of those ideas into situations that develop into action. –Peter F. Drucker

Author and management consultant Peter F. Drucker reminds us that ideas are cheap. As writers, our ideas mean little until we put them in writing. But here’s the big question: how do you know if your book idea is worth pursuing? Here is a process to help you evaluate your idea:


1. You need this book. It’s a book you want to read and cannot find anywhere. Yeah, that means you have scoured the shelves of your local library and bookstores and done multiple Internet searches for a book on this topic. Ask yourself: does the book I need exist or do I need to create it?

2. You have a clearly defined market. Just because you are passionate about this idea does not mean there is a market for your book. So do the research:

*Who are the people who want to buy your book?

*What do these people do, where do they do it, and how will they find your book in these places?

*How many of these people are out there? Are there statistics that tell me the size of this market?

*Why do they need this book?

*How will you connect with these people? What is your plan for getting your book into their hands?

3. You are the ideal author for this book. If there are a gazillion ideas out there, and you have happened upon this one, you need to be able to articulate why you are the perfect person to write this book. I wrote Write-A-Thon because I love writing books fast, had written several books fast, and could offer some unique tips based on my experience. How does your education, experience, and passion make you the best author for this book?

So how did your idea do? Don’t worry if your idea was not bookworthy. Plenty of great ideas are best suited to articles, blog posts, and even Twitter updates. Other ideas may fail now but blossom a few years down the road. To ensure success, keep all of your ideas in one place—an electronic or hard copy idea journal. Someday your idea may become a money-making book!

Your turn: What questions and tools do you use to evaluate an idea?

2 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for this post! I did NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, and have been struggling ever since trying to decide if my manuscript was worth taking through the tough editing process. I just can’t decide if my idea is worth pursuing in novel form, or if I should start fresh. Now I’ve got some points to ponder.

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