Ideas and books

I love being an author. There's very little about it (apart from writing proposals) that I don't enjoy. And one of my favourite things is talking to people about writing, science and (yes, sorry) my books. I'm happy to discuss practically anything. But there's one subject of conversation that comes up all too regularly that does make me wince just the tiniest bit. It goes something like this:

Them: 'You write books, don't you?'
Me: (Slightly embarrassed, but pleased): 'Yes.'
Them: 'I know what your next book should be about.'
Me: 'Well, actually...'
Them (Getting warmed up): 'I've got this great idea for a book, you see. You should write a book for children, make it a story, but put science in it, and...'

You get the picture. If I'm really lucky they will then say something like 'But if you use my idea, I expect my cut of the royalties!' Hmm.

The truth of the matter is that having ideas for books is really not a problem - at least I don't find it to be. I have a list of book ideas as long as your arm, tucked away on OneNote on my computer. I probably add to it about once a week. But the fact is, most of them will not get turned into books. If I am looking for a topic, on second examination, in the cold light of day, many of them will be so-so at best. Those that still do seem good will need a considerable amount of working over, then I have to sell them to a publisher (sadly, they don't leap on every idea I come up with as if it were manna from heaven), and there's also the teeny matter of writing the book.

I am quite happy with my ideas (and those of publishers, who sometimes suggest a cracker). If someone has a great idea for a book, why not write it themselves? By the time they've worked at it a couple of months, perhaps they will revise their thoughts on it. Or perhaps they will write a great book.

It's not that I don't appreciate the thought. But, really, getting great ideas is by far the easiest part of being an author. So I'm happy to hear an idea, but I'm pretty unlikely to do anything about it.

P.S. Apparently Katy Price defends the fact that she doesn't write 'her' books by saying 'But I did have some of the ideas for them!' Nuff said.


  1. Great blog post! I haven't experienced that yet, but I can understand.


Post a Comment