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Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Will I Write Your Book?

Invariably, someone will come up to me at a talk or book signing and tell me they have a great idea. Ideas are wonderful. I have lots of them, too.

This someone tells me their idea would make a great book.

Yes, the plot sounds entertaining and it probably would make a good movie, too, if they could get a filmmaker interested in it. I've always thought several of my own books would make good movies.

Next, this someone asks if I will write their book for them.

My answer is always the same. No, I will not write the book for them.

"But it's a terrific idea!" says this someone (who is afraid someone else will steal their idea and make a million dollars with it).

Ideas are all over the place--like pollen in the springtime. For whatever idea an author has cooked up, another author has used the very same idea.

Ideas cannot be copyrighted. (This is a fact.)

Writing a book takes a lot of time. Each word must be typed into a document. The document will then need to be edited. There are many factors involved in a good edit besides punctuation and spelling errors.  The book must be structurally sound, dialogue should flow in a natural manner, there should be variety in the author's choice of words, and length of sentences. Verbs should be active and not passive.

There are people who will write a book for someone else, but they need to be paid to do it, because it is work to sit down at a computer and type for hours and hours. It is not an easy job. I give this someone the name of a friend who has a business writing books for other people.

After editing, the book needs an eye-catching cover. Finally, it needs to be marketed, which is the most difficult job of all.

Odds are the author will not make a million dollars.

My someone goes away, rather disappointed.

I go home, turn on my computer, and happily type out another chapter using my own idea.


MarkD60 said...

If I had an idea for a book, I'd write a book. My problem is no ideas. If somoenoe gave me an idea, I might.

Irene said...

This happens every time! And the ideas are sound and entertaining, so I just tell them, "No, it's your story. You must write it. I couldn't do it justice."

Everybody thinks we all make millions of dollars from our books and want that for themselves. I don't bother telling them what really happens.

Penelope Marzec said...


You live in what most people would consider paradise. I'm sure you could come up with some ideas. :-)

Penelope Marzec said...


I may steal your line, "I couldn't do it justice." Excellent!