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Can’t decide which book you want to write?

August 28th, 2018 by Bob Bly

Subscriber TT writes:

“Maybe you can help me with my issue: If you have three ideas for
books in your head — how do you go about deciding to commit to

Many writers, including me, face this problem frequently.

We have so many interests, so many subjects we want to write
about, that we have a hard time choosing the one we want to do
next — especially with bigger projects like books.

So I told TT my simple formula for deciding which of multiple
book ideas will be the one that I commit to writing.

To begin with, here are the 6 criteria I evaluate when deciding
whether I want to write a given book:

1–Will it be fun for me to write?

2–Do readers need yet another book on this topic?

3–Will having written it benefit me in some way; e.g., elevate my
reputation or bring me more business?

4–Is it important to me personally to write it and get it

5–Do I have something worthwhile to say in it?

6–Does it have the potential to sell many thousands of copies,
and am I in a position to help make that happen?

Rate each book idea in each of these six categories on a scale of
1 to 5 with 5 = highest and 1 = lowest.

Then add up the total score. And do this for each book you are
thinking about writing.

And whichever book has the highest total score is the next one
you should write.

TT also asks: “If you DO commit to writing a book, how do you
stay committed until it’s done?”

I accomplish this by writing virtually all my books for
mainstream publishers.

When you do that, it is easy to stay committed — because you have
signed a contract promising to deliver the manuscript to a
publishing house on or before a given date.

If you don’t hand in a publishable manuscript by the deadline,
you don’t get your money … the book won’t be published … and your
name will be mud with your publisher.

That’s all the motivation and incentive I need to stay committed
… and probably all you will need, too.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018 at 12:54 pm and is filed under Writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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