Last night marked the launch of Portland Seed Fund. The fund is using a short time frame, extensive mentoring style made popular by Y Combinator to support the companies they invest in. It is exciting to see this startup ecosystem evolve in my new hometown.
Angela Jackson who is running the fund with Jim Huston said there are three things they are looking for in the startups they plan to invest in:
- Is this the right team?
- Is this the right idea?
- Is this the right time?
Publishers ask these same three questions when they consider proposals for book projects. I have a tendency to concentrate on the idea when I talk with authors, because it is the one part you can work on. It’s hard to change the person or their timing.
In business books, we could boil it down to five questions:
- So What?
- Now What?
- Why You?
- Why Now?
The first three questions deal with the most important aspects of the idea – the description, the inspiration, and the prescription. The fourth plays to the credibility of the author. And the final question points to the timeliness of the topic.
If you can answer those five questions in equally compelling ways, you are well on your way to selling a book to an audience (a publisher).