[Podcast] How to Know If Your Idea Is Good Enough for a Book

1 developing the writer's mindset 2 identifying your writing purpose podcast post May 04, 2022

“Is my idea any good?” “Is this idea good enough for a book?”

At the heart of the creative journey is a good idea. And we all want to know if our idea is good enough for a book. But we have a fear that our idea might not be. That our idea is unpublishable. So, how do you know if your idea is good enough for a book?

Take a look at three of our seven questions to begin determining if your idea is good enough for a book. To read all seven of our questions, click here for our free downloadable!

Do I write regularly (or semi-regularly)?

If you write regularly, then you already know what it takes to write 1,500 words or 5,000 words. You have an understanding for the time it takes to research a topic, write the first draft, and then enter into a series of editing cycles.

Because a book is longform writing, it’s tough to wrestle with the idea of a book without ever having written a blog, whitepaper, or article before. A book requires creating and sustaining an argument over the course of (at least) ten chapters. 

To know if their ideas were good enough for a book, two of our Roadtrippers actively practiced their hand at longform writing through their blogs. Blog writing allows a writer to get a feel for the length of longform writing, what is needed to write a sufficient story in a couple thousand words, and how to write a story that has a beginning, middle, and end.

One of our Roadtrippers, Alysa, has been blogging for years and has finished the first draft of her book. While book writing is different than blogging, Alysa developed her idea thousands of words in a blog. Each blog post received feedback that deepened her thinking and provided stories for her book. You can’t just drop blog posts into a chapter, but you can use the rudimentary ideas to shape your book.

Experienced writers tend to have a better feel for the kind of idea that can be sustained for more than an article or blog post. So, if you’re not writing, start today!

Is my idea based on a deep expertise?

If you have a deep expertise from years of experience, then you have most likely been sharpening your ideas for years. This expertise can range from personal finance to personal fitness to personal hobbies! And it means you have material to write on. Material that will sustain your idea for the entirety of a book.

One of our Roadtrippers recently wrote a book based on his work in the family business sector. He has thought about his idea for almost 15 years (talk about passion!). Through his years of experience and the qualitative research he conducted, he was able to sustain material for a ten-chapter book. 

As an expert, you’ve likely spoken or written on your subject multiple times. You think of fresh ways to apply your expertise and connect with your target audience. Your biggest struggle will be focusing your idea more narrowly. The best nonfiction books have a narrow, specific thesis. Does yours?

And if you have years of experience on your subject, then you’re probably passionate about it. If you’re staying up late at night thinking about your idea, then it’s worth writing!

Do I have an online following that reads my writing?

If you’re a blogger, then most likely you have a few folks who read your blog when you release it each week or month. If you’re an executive director of a nonprofit, your audience may be the stakeholders (donors, board members, and staff) who read your column each month in the newsletter. If you’re an executive coach, then your audience may be your prospects, current clients, and/or past client list. If you are an Instagram influencer, you have a tribe waiting to hear from you.

Your following consists of people who read your blog or hear you speak at the association where your fellow coaches congregate or keep updated on your social media postings. They are people who provide feedback on your topics, and want more from you.

We interviewed Natalie Papier of Home Ec. Op who is an influencer on Instagram. She is writing a book about her expertise in decorating with art. That book idea was largely shaped by the feedback she received on posts devoted to the topic.

An audience or following is important because they can help you winnow your idea. Maybe you notice certain topics in your blog, or on your social media account, generate more responses from your following. Or maybe someone comments, “I wish you had written more on this topic.” These are strong indicators that your idea is book worthy!

If you’re interested in the rest of our seven questions, check out our free downloadable and listen to our podcast!

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