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I've got a book idea. What's next?

Updated: May 9

So you’ve got a book idea? That’s great! In this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, we need all you writers. We need all you storytellers out there.

Screenwriters. Film producers. Video editors. Poets. Comic writers. Television show creators. Maybe you’re a preacher who wants to preach more dynamic sermons.

Whatever kind of storyteller you are, there’s a world in quarantine hungry for your stories! This “new normal” has left many people in greater need of inspiration, creativity, imagination, adventure, information, empowerment, and connection.

Whatever kind of storyteller you are this post is to help you develop great ideas in your work. Let’s be real—not every idea is a winning idea! Sorry, it’s true.

Some ideas are boring, unrealistic, and irrelevant. Others are incomplete, lazy, unorganized, or lack substance. It’s a tough pill to swallow. But your idea just might not be good.

As a storyteller, the key to finding a winning idea is to ask yourself this question: “What problem does my project/message solve?”

In other words, the content of your book (or creative project/message) should address a need or resolve an issue for your audience.

Because here’s the reality—people don’t care about your idea! People care about how your idea solves some problem for them or improves their quality of life in some way.

So you’ve got to know your audience. Is there an issue your audience is facing in some area of life? Is there a behavior, trend, or circumstance your content can help address? What urgent need can your project provide for your audience?

Once you determine the problem or issue to resolve then you can decide how your content will offer a unique solution and value for your audience.

Here’s an example from when I was writing my book, The Last Blues Preacher, on civil rights hero Rev. Clay Evans. The problem was that Rev. Evans’s successes as a gospel singer and pastor were well known. My audience didn’t need a book about things they already knew. They needed new revelations about this civil rights legend.

So, I focused my interviews with Rev. Evans on his challenges, flaws, tough times, and fears—things that weren’t popular knowledge. For instance, few people knew Rev. Evans had low self-esteem as a teenager or how much it hurt him when fellow preachers rejected him for supporting Dr. Martin Luther King in Chicago in the mid-1960s.

By emphasizing details not found in newspapers, magazines, and television The Last Blues Preacher provided my audience something of unique value: a fresh, more intimate and emotional perspective about a beloved public figure.

So whether you’re writing a book, screenplay, short film, television series, play, sermon, pitching an idea at work, or creating a message to accomplish a purpose your first step to identify the problem your project's content will solve for your audience. When you identify this problem you will have found your project’s purpose.

Knowing your project’s purpose will help you make wiser choices about what you include as your content and can save you time and money.

So, can you describe the problem the content of your project solves for an audience in a clear, compelling, and concise way? If not, you need to sharpen your idea. If you can, then you’re ready to start creating content! Happy storytelling!


Check out my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC57x9lp0T53P7o4V71m_zlQ?view_as=subscriber


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