There’s nothing like the feeling of excitement and anticipation when you have a brand new and fresh idea for a nonfiction book project.
Of course, 5 minutes later comes the angst, worry, and “who me” voices: Is this idea any good? Who me, write a book?
It takes practice for sure to overcome those voices and find your way back to the excitement of your idea for a book, but once you do, how do you start doing something with it?
Are you a planner? Do you pull out a notebook and start making a “to do” list or timeline for your book project?
Are you a thinker? Do you head out for a long walk in nature and ponder and explore your book idea some more?
Are you a sharer? Do you immediately text your best friend, tell her all about your book idea, and vulnerably ask her what she thinks?
Whichever type you lean towards, once that idea seed is planted, it’s going to need some nurturing to become real.
3 Factors in Nurturing Your Idea for a Book
When you have a book idea, there are three factors to follow so you can start nurturing it.
#1. Why is this idea for a book calling your name?
Here you can think about why this idea matters to you and why the world needs it. Ask yourself — why must you write this book? Why you? Why now? Why this specific idea?
#2. Who is this book for?
The next thing to explore is who the reader is for your book. If you have expertise in the topic, maybe you know who would be a likely reader — but this is an opportunity to dig deeper and really get to know your reader. You want to know not just her demographics, but also why does she need your book? How does it change her life?
#3. What outcome do you hope for with your book?
The third thing to explore is what your goals, hopes, and dreams are for your book. What does success look like for you? Be really honest with yourself. This answer can help you decide if you will self-publish or develop a book proposal and pitch agents. There is no right or wrong answer, but knowing the answer to this question could save you a lot of time and energy.
Starting a Book Project: Building Your Foundation
Once you’ve nurtured your idea a bit, and you are feeling pretty clear on the 3 Factors — what’s next? Should you leap right in and start writing?
Sure, maybe. But what I usually recommend is a combination of a few different tactics. If you feel full of energy and the words are ready to pour out — by all means, do some writing. And also, in addition to the writing, spend some quality time further developing your book idea in more depth.
I call this phase, building the “foundation” for your book. This is where you go back to the 3 Factors and dig into them some more. It’s where you can start mapping out what you really want to say with your book. Where you identify the key concepts you’ll cover. What your table of contents might include.
It’s also a time to be sure you’re caught up on what else has been published lately on your topic. If you haven’t read the latest titles from others in your field, read those now. Know what your book will say that is similar and different from what else is out there, and be clear on where your P.O.V. fits into the bigger field of voices out there.
It’s important to understand the world of publishing and what you’re options are. If you’ve already made the decision to traditionally publish your book, this is the time to start developing your book proposal. If you’re considering self-publishing, you can explore all the many options out there to help you get started.
It’s an exciting time when you have an idea for a book! Commit to your idea by nurturing it and building your foundation, and you’ll be off to a great start towards publishing your book!