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By Jeremy Bursey

Jeremy Bursey is the author of many short stories, essays, and poems, along with a modest number of novels and screenplays. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Central Florida and currently works at a local college as a writing tutor. He appreciates feedback for anything he offers to the public. He also takes too many pictures of cats and the ocean.

April 13, 2022

Newsletter for February 2021: The Book Ideas Generator Announcement

Note: The content of this article was originally written for my newsletter subscribers on February 26, 2021. If you want to read these articles while they’re still fresh, please subscribe to my newsletter today. You can find the signup link in the side panel (desktop) or at the bottom of this page (mobile).


Hi Everyone,

Hope you’re well.

So, the coffee’s been poured and microwaved. The hazelnut cream has been stirred in. And my favorite yellow cup is now on the desk. That means it’s time to update you with the latest news.

Oh, and it’s the end of the month, so there’s that, too.

In case you missed January’s newsletter, my official author website is still hot in development, and what a site it’s becoming. Four weeks later, and it’s shaping into a functional piece of cyber real estate that visitors might actually enjoy visiting for a few minutes a day, and maybe even come back to visit again, and maybe even again!

I know, I’m getting ahead of myself.

But, here’s the deal. The reason for visiting is to check out my books, right? Maybe some cat pictures, but mostly books. And the better question is, why me? Why my books? And when will the fun stop?

Truthfully, I agree that coming for just my books will eventually yield diminishing returns. At some point, you’ll have seen them all, read them all, and there won’t be anything new to read for a while after. If enough time passes, you might even forget about me.

We’ve all been there. It’s a little sad, I guess. Maybe.

But…

What if we get just a little creative?

It’s possible we might have something that goes beyond my immediate library.

Meet the “Book Ideas Generator.”

For as long as I’ve been taking this self-publishing gig seriously, I’ve researched how to make the experience better for me and for readers. And one element that shows its head commonly is the question, “What do readers want?” It’s a profound question that not even New York Big Five publishers have figured out how to answer consistently.

I believe it’s because no one is actually asking readers what they want.

Yes, astute observers have written articles about this fundamental problem, that big publishers, and little publishers, and indie publishers (like me) are producing ideas and materials that no one has asked for, hoping that maybe it’ll “speak to a new audience” or whatever. It’s certainly how publishers and their editors have functioned since the 19th century. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it leads to a glut of vampire romance novels. But most of the time it leads to an author’s broken heart as he waits a lifetime for that royalty check that isn’t coming because too few readers have helped him pay back that small advance.

There’s also the problem that publishers can’t always see the good idea in the making. Instead, they look for trends among the experimental titles that are already out there and produce more titles like it. For evergreen topics, this is perfectly fine. But for those that aren’t “hot right now,” an opportunity to find the perfect audience may be lost, not to mention the trending topic will eventually fade, and the reading population will still have to wade through a pile of books that they don’t actually want anymore.

Most anyone with common sense thinks this is all kind of dumb.

But, let’s look at this problem from another angle. Why do arguments happen? Often because one party fails to see the perspective of the other. This failure often stems from the fact that one party makes an assumption about the other. But, no one actually asks the question, “What do you want?” Maybe we don’t ask because the other party either says, “I don’t know” or “You should know.”

That’s not really fair for anyone.

We need to fix it.

The Book Ideas Generator is my attempt to help readers and authors talk to each other and produce the kinds of books that people actually want to read so that the guesswork and failure rates are minimal.

So, how does it work?

It’s actually very simple. As a reader, you’d post a general idea of the type of book you’d like to read on the title card, like “Antarctic Spy Thriller,” and add a few details to the suggestion, like “male protagonist, has pet penguins, loves his country even though he’s its only citizen,” or whatever you think the potential author needs to know to write your dream book (or your next dream book). And that’s it. Because authors have creative license, and because it’s better that he or she tells the story his way, I encourage readers to include just the basics on their ideas card. In other words tell the writer just enough to know the genre, location(s), protagonist, and possibly the situation or premise, but let the author tell the actual story so that you, the reader, can still enjoy the surprises.

But, here’s where good gets better.

The app I’m using for this generator gives users the ability to upvote an idea. That means the more people who show their interest in a particular idea, the more likely an author will want to take that idea and do something with it. So, as a reader, you might have an idea for an author, but maybe you really like someone else’s idea and want to see that, too. So what do you do? You upvote it. If that idea catches fire, someone out there may decide they want to write it.

It’s so simple.

And it will be on my website. And maybe you’ll want to give it a try.

And I can’t wait for you to check it out.

But, there’s good news and bad news.

The bad news is that my website is still under construction, and access to the generator through my site is still closed to everyone but me.

But the good news…

The Book Ideas Generator is embedded on my site. That means the app I’m using to create it has its own dedicated web address that’s independent of my site. So, technically, you could start using it right now if you wanted to. Because I haven’t been shouting about it yet, you’ll see that its activity is limited to just my test examples. But, as a reader of my newsletter, I wanted to give you early access to try it out, just in case you have that dream idea that you still can’t find at the bookstore. Penguin detective story? I hear ya.

If you do try it out, note that the Updates section has several messages explaining how to use it properly, and the Summary at the top of the page has a video demonstrating the generator in action. So, if you have any questions about how to use it, check them both out.

But, it’s pretty easy to navigate. You shouldn’t have any problems with it.

Lastly, via the same app, I’ve got a public roadmap of my upcoming book releases and updates to current releases in case you want to see what I have planned for 2021. If you see something you’re looking forward to, please upvote it, so I know there’s an interest. Eventually, each work-in-progress will also get its own roadmap, but that’s a project for March, so for now this is all I have to show you today.

Hopefully, you’ll take a look at these items and offer your feedback, even if it’s just to give a simple vote.

Okay, the coffee’s almost gone now.

With that, stay well, and I’ll check back in next month.

–Jeremy

About This Site

Welcome to Jeremy Bursey’s information superhighway. Why is your seatbelt on?

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