Monday, January 24, 2011

What's an Idea Worth?

We all know what a picture is worth.  But what is an "idea' worth?  An agent once said to me, "Ideas are cheap."   The context was "Someone gave me an idea.  Therefore, they deserve a co-author credit."  (And a percentage of whatever is earned.) 

The agent felt that ideas are everywhere.  They have no value unless you have the talent to execute them well.  I don't agree.  It's hard to quantify, I think they are worth a lot. If one person comes up with a fully developed idea for a PB and another did all the writing,  I might view it as equal contributions.

Recently, I gave a couple of ideas away.  (Not fully formed ideas.. really more like titles.)  I handed them over to friends who I thought might be a better fit for them than I was.  Will I end up have giver's remorse?  Maybe... if the stories sell :)

What's an idea worth to you?

14 comments:

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

I'm not one to hoard ideas. I'd have to agree with the agent that it's about execution. Living in LA, I run into people with "ideas" all the time, but they're always half-baked. You can tell when you ask, "And then what happens," and the person's face goes blank and he stutters. Unfortunately, no one is remembered for their ideas, but whether they executed them or not. But I do admire you for passing your ideas along to others. You're quite a friend and artist. Maybe you have more ideas than you think, so many that you can afford to give them away.

Mother Hen said...

Ideas are our bake bone. We need to have loads of ideas everyday just so that maybe, one of them gets made into something. I think an idea is like a little project and if I can get a couple of little projects done every day, then it's a good day. If I can pass on an idea, more the better.
Good for you for having ideas that you can pass on.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I think it depends on the idea! I have a LOT of ideas, but 99% of them aren't good enough to go anywhere. I agree with Mother Hen - you need to have tons of ideas so you can get one good one!

storyqueen said...

It's like magical math.....the right idea+the right person=great picture book.

I've often thought of posting some ideas on my blog of ideas that I would love to read as books, but somehow I am just not the right person to write them.

However, for me, the magic is in coming up with the idea myself....I doubt I could use anyone else's idea....so maybe my idea about giving ideas away wouldn't work for anyone either.

K.D. Anderson said...

Fascinating post! I do think they're valuable. But I can relate to giving good ones away that I don't feel suited to write.

Hmmm...

Susan R. Mills said...

I think an idea is worth a lot!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I never thought about it before. Hmmm . . . I think really good ideas are worth their weight in gold to the person able to make them come alive. :-)

Joanne Fritz said...

What an interesting post, Corey! I haven't (knowingly) given away any ideas. But perhaps I should follow your example and spread them around. I have far too many ideas to work on myself, especially after PiBoIdMo!

I've often thought it would be fascinating if every member of my crit group tried to write a picture book based on the same idea. Bet they'd all be way different, which would prove that the value is in the execution.

Susanne Drazic said...

Interesting post, Corey. I hadn't given it any thought before. I have lots of different ideas, but it doesn't mean they are all good.

Carla said...

I also think that ideas are half the equation for a good picture book, but a "half-baked pie" isn't really worth eating...and definitely not something you could sell!

~Carla

Christie Wright Wild said...

I agree with Shannon.

I don't want to give any of my ideas away, even though half of them ARE terrible.

But it could still be a cool idea to have ideas we don't treasure to be up on a website. You never know, it could spark a sightly different idea in someone else.

I think the idea is like a recipe. But the the real value IS in the execution. Some people can't bake a pie to save their lives, even WITH a recipe.

Rebecca said...

I tend to be careful (maybe overly careful) about sharing my ideas, because I want to wait and see which ones will lead me somewhere great! I've had a few times when "my" idea turned out to be published already, so I figure other writers don't need any help from me.

Lauren said...

I keep all my ideas written down in a notebook. I'm cautious about keeping my ideas my own - I usually only tell my husband! :)

Julie Hedlund said...

I must admit I am a hoarder. I've already seen books get published based on several of my ideas - some I'd even started drafting. Sure, ideas are everywhere and the art is in the execution. BUT, the market can only support so many stories with the same underlying premise.

That is the same reason why I don't publish snippets or summaries of my stories on my blog.

Although I do like bouncing ideas off you! :-)