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Publish.me: So You Have a Book Idea

Posted on Fri, Dec 13 2013 9:00 am by Dawn Frederick


Editor's Note: One of the new features on our blog is the monthly publish.me column. The column features publishing insight and career tips from literary agent, Dawn Frederick. 

‘Tis the holiday season—a time for gatherings and celebrations, when entertaining conversations are had throughout the evening. 

It’s practically guaranteed that books will be mentioned. Maybe it’ll be the last title someone read, which they’re hoping to recommend to others. Maybe someone is going through the publishing process, providing an update on a book’s (future) publication. Or maybe someone just had a spark of creativity—one that results in: “I have a book idea.”

Being a literary agent, it’s normal to hear such a statement and it always makes me smile. Anyone who has a desire to write, to share a story, and put it on paper (or into a computer), is the reason I love my job. This goal is a catalyst, a precursor to an action—and one that should be planned out accordingly.

I encourage setting expectations on the front end, so much that the following questions should be considered before going any further:

  1. Why do you want to write?
  2. What motivated you to turn an idea into a book?
  3. Who would be interested in reading the book?
  4. What are the publishing goals and expectations for the book?

Thinking about the inspiration, the potential audiences, and the time/money/energy you’re willing to invest in the overall process will make you a more-informed author and who has an easier time of navigating the publishing waters.

Additional questions to consider: What is the best type of publisher for your book?  Should you publish the book yourself vs. going the traditional route? How does one turn that spark of creativity into a book idea that is commercial-ready for publishers?

Publish.Me will be a space where we talk about publishing. We’ll discuss the steps to getting a book published and understanding the business of publishing.  I’m ready, are you?

Dawn Frederick is the owner & literary agent of Red Sofa Literary, established in 2008. Red Sofa Literary is a celebration of the quirky, eclectic ideas in our publishing community. Dawn’s previous experience reflects a broad knowledge of the book business, with over a decade of experience as a bookseller in the independent, chain, and specialty stores, an editor for a YA publisher, a published nonfiction author, and an associate literary agent at Sebastian Literary Agency. Dawn earned a BS in Human Ecology and a MS in Information Sciences from an ALA-accredited institution.