A book or an article begins with an idea. That idea might be quite broad. It could be based on an opinion or a principle that has meaning to you about a broad subject. You might find it interesting. You might even think your idea has a purpose, achieves some goal. However, to really be of service to someone—meaning a reader or a broad number of readers—your idea must have a particular angle. It must take a general idea or topic and slant it so it becomes unique and interesting to the most people or to a particular set of people.
Let’s say you want to write about training dogs. Dog owners are a huge market. Dog training constitutes a general subject area. You must now find a unique and marketable angle on that subject. You need to find one aspect of dog training about which to write. What will it be? Maybe you want to write about how to train dogs without using treats. (Of course, I have no idea if other books or articles on this topic exist; if you have a unique take on the topic, however, it doesn’t matter.)
Take some time now to think about your idea or subject. Do you have an angle on that topic? To find out, answer these questions:
What is your general subject area?
What is your topic or the angle on your subject?
Now write a theme statement for your book or article, one that includes both the topic and the benefit of reading the book or article. For instance, if your manuscript was titled Training Dogs Without Treats, the theme statement might be: “Human encouragement and love quickly and easily accomplishes canine training goals.”
If you had any difficulty with this exercise, you can assume you don’t have a handle on your book’s or article’s subject matter or angle. It’s time to get serious and figure out what you are writing about.
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