How valuable is your book idea?

Reading time: About 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post exploring the question: how valuable is your book idea?…

People sometimes tell me they don’t want to write because their book idea is too valuable.

They’re worried that someone else will take their idea and run away with it, grabbing all the attention, recognition and money for themselves. ‘How can I stop that from happening,’ they ask me?

Politely, I let them know that you cannot copyright an idea, fact or concept. If you want to protect your idea the best thing to do is to write your book and get it published as quickly as possible. Books can be copyrighted.

In a recent blog post, productivity expert Chris Bailey speculates on the value of ‘great’ ideas. You’ll catch the tone of his drift by reading the headline: “Your ideas aren’t that unique.” He starts with a fun story about someone with a ‘unique’ idea for McDonalds (spoiler: the idea is pretty mediocre).

Then, he gives a terrific pictorial analysis of logos built using the letter S. Have a quick scan and you’ll notice how similar they all look to each other and how none of them appears to be truly unique.

Bailey also mentions some advice from author Derek Sivers who describes ideas as just a multiplier of execution. “The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20,” he writes. ” The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20 million.”

As Bailey puts it, “Your idea is probably not as unique as you think it is. After a game-chasing insight strikes you, focus on how well you can execute upon that idea instead.”

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