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 Ideas That Sell


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Copyright (c) 2002 by Angela Booth

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As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. You can offer your writing too, but if no one wants it, you're stuck.

You've got to train yourself to come up with saleable ideas, for specific audiences. Somehow, someway, you've got to discover what people want, and give it to them in writing. The more successfully you do that, the more you'll sell.

 To get more ideas, write more

In an article, the prolific thriller/ horror writer Dean Koontz said that when he wrote more, spending six to eight hours a day at it, he got more ideas. He frequently found himself writing one book, while making notes for another two or three.

It's true. If you're not writing, you won't get ideas. Your subconscious mind is lazy. You haven't convinced it that finding ideas is important to you, so you don't get them.

Start a program of writing every day. Write anything, but make sure that you're doing it for at least an hour, and that you force yourself to write. Get your fingers on the keyboard, and move them. Let whatever wants to come out, come out.

Sounds like work, right?

Sure. At first it is. Then it's fun. And easy. The first couple of days you do this, you may feel that it's pointless. But I promise you, keep at it, and within a few days you'll start coming up with more ideas that you know what to do with.

 If you want to know what people want, ask them

One way to find out what people are interested in is to read the bestseller lists. What are people buying? Extrapolate from these lists. Can you find any new trends?

On the other hand, the best way to discover what people are willing to buy, is to ask them. Go to the online places where they hang out, and ask.

For example, let's say that in your day job, you're a
nutritionist. You know that diet is a perennially popular topic. You advise dieters on how to eat, and you've garnered a lot of experience in how and why people put on weight, and ways that they can safely dump the lard.

You decide that you need to learn what people really want to know. So you subscribe to a few discussion groups, and after you've read the postings for a few weeks, and have posted responses to some questions, you ask your own questions.

Be straightforward about this. Just admit that you're doing research, and ask for help. Post a questionnaire for people to fill in. (Assure them that their privacy will be respected.)

After a month of this, you'll get ideas for products (articles,books) that will sell.

 The sure-fire formula for winning, instantly saleable ideas: combine entertainment and information

You need to be clear about what you're selling. With non-
fiction, you're selling information. With fiction, you're selling entertainment.

The best way to sell either fiction or non-fiction is to combine both in your writing.

Mix a dash of entertainment with your information. That is, when you're writing an information product, an article or a book, even though it's non-fiction, don't be dull. Check out the wildly popular For Dummies series of books: good information, delivered with an entertaining style.

On the other hand, if you're writing fiction, ground it in real life with good information. I'm a fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. Definitely fiction, but Ms Gabaldon grounds her time-travel historical novels in their era with fascinating facts that make the unbelievable plots cred

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 Read more Ideas For Writing

More writing inspiration and exercises:

Write Your Way To New Possibilities

Fit to Write

Boosting Your Creativity

What to Write About

Innovative Ideas for Writing

Writers Block Defeated



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