Is my book idea any good?

is my book idea good?

Yes, it is.

See you next week!

Just kidding.

To elaborate:

I do believe every person has a book inside of them. That doesn’t mean everyone has to write a book.

For many (in fact, for almost all) people, it’s easier to keep the book inside than it is to go through the painstaking process of unfurling it on to paper and out into the world.

But each of us has the contents that provide the potential, I think.

So, your idea is good. OK? You can stop questioning yourself. On that particular point, anyway. Heh.

Perhaps people are really asking, “How do I get from my idea to the next step in the book-writing process? What even is the next step?”

I could be wrong but it’s my letter so let’s answer that one.

***

When I hear book ideas, often they’re missing a story, but even more often they’re missing a story that describes a transformation.

A book is the telling of a sequence of events that together describe a meaningful transformation. An idea doesn’t have to do any of that. So that’s the gap you need to bridge.

And I’m not just talking about fiction or memoir.

Nonfiction of all types, including business books, needs to include transformation in order to turn a methodology or a “thought leadership framework” into a readable book.

I just don’t see a way around that. Basically:

I was this one way, (which caused chaos/kept me small/sucked me dry/etc.) then I developed this methodology, and now I’m this (better/richer/happier/more organized) way.

That’s the next step to take with your idea. You have to figure out how to tell a story of transformation to convey your idea. (Which, again, phew! We already know your idea is good.)

(I think this is why every so often you’ll read an interview with an author who says something like, “I could see the ending clearly in my mind, and then I just reverse-engineered a plot that allowed me to write the ending.”

I think what they’re saying is that they knew the transformation they wanted to depict, and they then had to design a series of sequential events that, taken together, made that transformation inevitable.)

***

So, that’s all! Right?

I mean. It’s a start.

For instance, you can write dissatisfied for months or years, landing on trite or oversimple transformations, until you realize the the transformation goes:

I thought life/marriage/parenting was simple. Then a metric shit-ton came at me. And I realized, life/marriage/parenting is way more complicated than I thought. And I don’t know what I thought I knew.

A story in which a transformation occurs. In fact it’s my favorite type of transformation: the “I don’t know what I’m doing more than half of the time.” (Life. What a kick in the pants. Etc.)

So, write, and when you do, I recommend focusing your efforts on identifying that story. Do you know what that story is?

You can write and write until you stumble upon it.

Maybe you need more guidance than that or you want the process to go faster. Two ways to get my help with that process are in the PS.

Maggie

PS:

1. Writer’s Cave comes with my book, Be About Something, which gives you space and guidance to start writing.

2. You can reserve a Book Idea Audit with me if you want one-on-one time.

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