by Wendy Keller, Literary Agent
It’s simple to determine whether or not you have a book inside. Most local hospitals will be happy to charge you for an MRI to help you decide. Normally, a trade book will appear on the scan at about 6×9 inches, half an inch thick, although a hard cover (which can sometimes be determined by sharp edges poking through the abdominal cavity), is often slightly larger.
For those of you without health insurance, or worse, with bad HMOs, determining if you have a book inside you can be done at home without the benefit of your doctor.
My strong recommendation is to sit quietly with your “great idea” for a few moments, breathing as you would in an ashram. After some time, focus on the content of your proposed book. Feel the sensations of eagerness well up within, like the white light from Times Square’s biggest marquee shining down on your body, suffusing your mind with thoughts of fame, service to humanity, and of course money. Oprah’s limo at your front door. Larry King’s producer on your cell phone. You get the picture.
If you find yourself reverberating with glee at the presence of these thoughts, chances are you will test positive for containing a book. But this, my friends, is just not enough. The book must be given life independent of your guts. Then you won’t just want it to live – you want it to thrive.
There is an easy and most effective first step to forecast the future of your intended project, before it is born.
This process is similar in some ways to a pregnant woman having an amniocentesis to determine genetic flaws with her unborn child. You sit down again, this time in front of your laptop. Repeat the breathing process from exercise one and type the words “Amazon.com” into your browser.
Again, you will be suffused with white light, then more colors, as you log onto “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore.” At this magical location, where it says “All Products”, select “Books”. Next, type in the words that most closely relate to the subject of your book-to-be. Words like “finance”, “management”, “biography” and so forth are all likely candidates. When the Amazon listing returns with a group of books similar to your intended tome, select the top selling 6-8 books most closely related to your book. To determine which are selling best, look for lowest numbers (between 1-150,000) under “Product Details.
And now, using all the willpower at your disposal, order all 8 of them! That’s right! Actually support another writer’s work! For every dollar you spend here, the author will be profiting a few pennies, and someday, you too will be in that lush profit zone if you follow through. When the books come, open them up and read them. Muse on how your unborn title could offer something New, Different, Better or More (NDBM) than the book you are now reading. Ponder this as you would the great mysteries of the Universe. Determine precisely why the world needs yet another book on this topic – one written by you.
Only when you have succinctly determined that the book you are incubating will become something NDBM than the competitors, only when you know that you can do better and can clearly tell a third party why without hyperbole, only at that moment will you know for certain that, boy golly, you DO have a book inside you!
Want more? Since you’ve read this far, I’ll let you have this one for free!