TAP005, How to Tell if Your Story Idea is Profitable
Are you stressing over whether your story idea is profitable? Are you worried that you’ll get to the launching stage of the publishing process and just hear crickets? It’s perfectly normal to have moments along your writing journey where you doubt whether people will read, like, or even buy your book. Nevertheless, there are two steps you can take to put your mind at ease no matter where you are at along the path to publication.
As writer’s, we focus on either of these two paths when choosing a story idea: purely writing to market or following your passion. Choosing the latter option often leads you wondering how to tell if your story idea is profitable. Over the years, I’ve discovered the secret to choosing a profitable story idea lies somewhere in between. Choosing an idea that you’re passionate about that also has a demand by readers.
So, what are these two steps to overcoming this classic writer’s insecurity?
And, how put your mind at ease and tell if your story idea is profitable?
In this episode, I will share with you the exact steps you need to take to ensure your story idea is profitable.
Strategy #1: Can you describe your book idea in one sentence?
Think of this exercise as a one-liner pitch. The screenwriting process for a movie starts off in a similar manner where a writer and sometimes a team of creative individuals come up with a logline or one-liner pitch for the movie before they start writing a treatment and then the screenplay. This one-liner is often used in the pitching process when the moviemakers seek out investors to raise money for the movie budget.
It might be best to pitch your story as x meets y. An example of this would be, Star Wars meets Jurassic Park. The example I just shared is very niche, and it gives you an idea of what the book is about. The pitch should leave the reader either intrigued or disinterested. So, why would you want someone to be disinterested in your story?
If this idea of x meets y is too cliche for you, condense your story idea down into one or two sentences that accurately describe your story with an enticing punch. This one or two-sentence pitch will eventually become useful when you create your book sales page on Amazon and other online bookstores. But remember to keep it short because people tend to make a decision about buying a book in less than a few seconds.
Strategy #2: If your book was on Amazon, which categories would you find it under?
It’s not enough to say fiction, romance, or vampires. You need to niche down your story idea. You need to get super specific into a book sub-genre or two. Take a few moments to browse through the Kindle ebook categories and sub-genres and see where your book would fit in the store. If it helps, think of these categories as shelves in a bookstore. Don’t worry if your book isn’t a replica of the other books in the genre. Think about the key elements of what makes a book fit into a genre and consider whether your book meets these expectations.
If you’re not sure what I mean, check out the video linked below. The video is bookmarked to the point in the video where I scroll through Amazon and show you where my soon-to-be-released James Lalonde Thriller novel, Immunity, would fit on the Amazon store.
Why are these two steps so important?
These two steps are so important because confused readers or customers do not buy. And, then, the same goes for agents and publishers. If your story doesn’t fit on the shelves of a bookstore or on Amazon, then it will not be picked up by an agent or publisher or even sold.
Taking these steps is something I wished I had done before I started writing my first two books in my James Lalonde Series. I spent so much time while writing the first book feeling anxious about my story. I was spending all of this time writing, and I was worried it wouldn’t sell. It got to a point where I believed there wasn’t a book just like the one I was writing. This eventually became a roadblock and led to the writing of the first draft dragging on too almost two years.
But, as I finished Immunity and started to write the prequel, Silence, I went through these two steps and realised my book fitted into a few sub-genres within the thriller genre. These steps put my mind at ease and helped me to focus on writing and making sure the books lived up to reader expectations.
If you’re worried about whether your story idea is profitable, then I recommend you write a one-liner story pitch. After you craft your one-liner, take the next step to figure out where the book would sit on Amazon.
Did you find these tips helpful? Were you able to figure out whether your story idea is profitable? I want to hear from you. Let me know by sharing your thoughts or experiences in the comments section below.
Thank you for listening, reading, commenting and sharing with such enthusiasm.
I’m Amelia. When I’m not hosting the Authorpreneur Podcast™️ and the Book Nerd Podcasts, I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Suspicion, the Lawn, and the Candidate.
On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process.
Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Suspicion, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.