You’ve got the greatest idea! It’s sure to be a billion dollar blockbuster, rivaling Stephen King and that other writer whose name you can’t quite remember though it’s on the tip of your tongue.
But, is your idea a good one, really? Some of our ideas seem really super charged at the time, when we have that first burst of passion as the idea evolves. But, not every idea is going to be publishable and practical.
Here are guidelines from Cheryl Sloan Wray and her book ‘Writing for Magazines’. (Paraphrased by me).
1. Are you really passionate/ interested enough to spend the necessary time developing, researching and writing this idea?
2. Can you narrow the focus? Some ideas need to be broken into smaller chunks to suit the market/ publisher you are aiming for.
3. If your idea is already narrow, or would appeal to a small, exclusive percentage of the reading public, can you bulk it up? Can you add more points, bring in another slant or find more sources?
4. Can you market this idea to several publications? You want to have a selection of publishers to choose from so you aren’t twiddling your thumbs if the first of them aren’t keen on it.
5. Imagine yourself as the reader of the publications you have chosen. Are you sure their readers will be interested in your idea? If not find other publications to appeal to, or slant your idea in a different, more appealing direction.
6. Describe your idea in 15 words or less. Then, in another 15 words, tell why readers will be interested in your idea/ topic.
7. Will this idea be expensive to research or take up a lot of time to develop? Is it going to cost you more than it will bring in for you? You can’t forget your bottom line after all.
The last point is the best I think. How many of you keep track of your expenses? Do you know if you actually clear more than you spent on each article/ manuscript? Don’t skip your time either. Time is money and that includes you!
Hope this helps bring you some clarity, focus and profit from your greatest ideas. Keep them churning!