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How to Tell if Your Book Idea is Big Enough to Sell

You’ve landed on a book idea. But how can you tell if your story will sell?

When it comes to creating a big book idea, there are a few critical adjectives that come to mind:

It should be timely.
It should hit a universal chord.
It should create an emotional or visceral reaction.
It should paint a memorable picture.
There should be some aspect of suspense—even if it’s in readers learning something new.
It should be stand-out and distinct.

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Writers often come to agents at Lucinda Literary with an idea that shows promise. From there, we take pride in developing and crystallizing the idea until it’s big enough to:

Change a person’s perspective.

Change a person’s life.

Change the world.

Here’s an example: Years ago, we scooped a writer from our submissions who had an idea for a book about meditation. To her dismay, because meditation had been so transformative for her, we told her the subject had already been done, too many times over, for us to find the kind of publishing deal we wanted.

But we knew there was promise in her (and gosh was she driven!). We weren’t afraid to do the hard work of mining for the BIG idea. All it took was our deeper understanding of her line of study, evolutionary biology, and catering to her corporate audience to land on something perfectly counterintuitive: how our instincts fail us. This topic had the power to resonate with the media as it would the business executive and even the stay-at-home parent. It was a timely message for all of humanity. Through storytelling, we could pull out the emotional chords through which we could see ourselves. Through the right narrative arc, we could find the suspense in revealing something new about human psychology—and how to work with it—by examining one “deadly” instinct per chapter.

And naturally, we found a way to honor the author’s vision to include meditation as part of that story.

So writers, what’s your big idea? Let us know by DMing us! We’d love to hear how you’ve landed on a breakout book idea, or, if you’re not quite sure what that might be for you, what you’re considering.