I’m going to give you three genres or sub-genres of book, and I want you to follow one of the two sets of instructions that follow.
Option 1: Imagination: Sit back with a notepad and pen in your hand (or computer keyboard) and close your eyes. Imagine yourself walking into a bookstore and going into the first of those three book sections. Be complete about this–imagine how the floor sounds and feels under your shoes, imagine what type of shelving the store has, the lighting, the other people around you, and so on.
Imagine that you walk up to the shelf of new releases and start checking out the latest books to hit the stores. As quickly as possible, come up with four titles off the top of your head and write them down. Repeat this step with the other two types of book.
Option 2: Research: Click through the above links and poke around the three subject areas. Write down the first four titles in each that strike your fancy.
Continue: Now put your three lists of titles next to each other. Imagine that you’re a Frankenstein-like mad scientist making new creations out of the parts of old things. Take any two titles (as long as they’re from different categories) and come up with a title for the book that would result if you “cross-bred” those two books. Continue until you’ve used up all 12 titles, crossing out each pair as you use it. (Alternatively, use a set of three titles–one from each list.) If any of the results are particularly similar, choose your favorite and cross out the others.
Finally, write a one-paragraph synopsis of each book as though you were writing the promotional back-cover blurb. Or, if you prefer, write it up as a query letter to a publisher.