Today I want to take a look at the part of the publishing process that kickstarts your publishing success or dooms you not to succeed. This step might seem obvious, yet many a writer makes a misstep from the get-go: Find the right idea.
Recently I met, Ronda, a potential new client. As we discussed her book idea and how she came to write it, she mentioned that she has loved writing since she was a little girl. She didn’t realize not everyone thought writing was a fun activity.
Eventually, it dawned on her that her love of words was a gift that not everyone possessed. She turned her mind to writing a novel when she was a young mother. “But that novel isn’t what I want to ever publish,” she explained to me. “It’s just a place where I started writing, and it didn’t take me long to see it wasn’t at the level I’d want it to be.”
Is Your Manuscript a Practice Piece?
Would that every writer had that kind of insight! The first manuscript you complete isn’t necessarily the one destined to be published. It’s probably a practice piece.
Ronda paused after talking about the “practice” novel and said she didn’t know why it took her several decades to start to write her next book-length piece. I knew the answer and piped up: “You hadn’t lived the story yet.”
Timing Is Everything
I’m not necessarily that perceptive; it’s just that Ronda’s book, a memoir, is an expression of what her life has become in those decades. It’s what she’s always longed to write, but first she had to live out certain events before she was ready to spill words onto the page. Now she’s ready to write the book she’s yearned to write.
Several times I’ve met individuals who use their writing to work through issues that life has saddled them with: anger, bitterness, betrayal, lost love, disappointment. It takes time to see the courage and heart instilled as one processes challenges faced years, if not decades, before.
Writing about most topics takes time to let the concept simmer on the back burner. That’s where it gathers all that satisfying flavor and depth.
So the first step toward being published is to find the right idea–or to be open to the right idea when it finds you, as happened to Ronda.
How to Know An Idea is It
- Your gut tells you this is it. Listen to your instincts.
- You see signs that, for society, the time is right. What ideas form today’s zeitgeist? Is the zeitgeist of-the-moment, or will it last long enough for you to write your book, find a publisher, and have the book release (often at least a two-year process)?
- When you tell others about your idea, their eyes light up, they’re engaged, they want to know more. (Test this with people besides your mother; sorry, she’s probably such a fan of yours, she’s not objective.)
- Play with the idea to see if it gains momentum in your imagination or stalls.
Now what about you? How many book-length manuscripts have you written?
If you think you’ve found the right idea for you, how did you know this was it?
What idea do you wish had been yours but someone beat you to it?
Start on the road to publishing success by taking the time to find the right idea. Click to tweet.
Finding the right idea is the best way to success in publishing. Click to tweet.