It’s one thing to write a book, but another to write a book that people will actually want to read.
With thousands of new books being self-published every single day, how do you decide on a topic that will draw in an audience’s interest, set itself apart from the pack and sell?
Deciding on your book’s topic is no easy feat. As an author, you’ll be tied to your work for life – so it had better be good! And you’ll be investing months of your time into the process of writing it, so you should be prepared to spend months living, breathing and dreaming of your subject.
If you strike gold with a given topic, the opportunities to expand upon it are endless. You can branch off into multiple sub-niches and keep the momentum going by publishing dozens of books. Let’s say, for instance, that your first book about saving money becomes a bestseller. You’ll know that you have a captive audience and can then move forward in writing books about saving money before having a baby, saving money while a student and more! However, if nobody shows interest in your first book, your money saving content stream pretty much ends there – no matter how passionate you are about the subject.
To avoid having that happen to you as an author, we’re here to share our tips for choosing bestselling ideas for your first or subsequent book. We recently interviewed Steve Scott of Authority Self-Publishing about the subject for our podcast, The Happy Self Publishing Show, and the episode generated quite a bit of buzz. It turns out that one of the greatest challenges our listeners face – before even starting to write – is how to decide on what to write about.
1. Write about what interests you
If we can offer even ONE piece of advice, it’s to write about what you’re passionate about! We can’t stress this one enough. Writing a book is a long, detailed and time consuming process. If you can’t stand your topic, you’re going to become unmotivated and lose interest in the task at hand. Putting words to paper is going to feel like pulling teeth and your readers will be able to tell. Pick a topic that genuinely interests you and that you truly enjoy.
2. Write about what you are savvy about
Ok, so maybe you’re really into real estate. That being said, liking a topic and being knowledgeable about a topic are two VERY different things. If you don’t have any experience in real estate or know next to nothing about it, it won’t serve your audience very much use to have you writing about it! Before setting off to write a book, be sure that you know your stuff and can actually deliver value to your readers. After all, they’re paying for the book and will be hoping to take something away from it.
3. Write about something that solves a problem
How many times have you Googled how to unclog your toilet without a plunger, stain your old wood table on your own or other do-it-yourself projects around the house? Compiling all of those searches’ answers into a single book makes for almost a guaranteed bestseller when you think of how many other people in the world have likely done the same! Make use of sites such as Quora to research what people are asking about online. From there, you can gain a general idea of what your audience is looking for and what would potentially sell.
4. Write about your most memorable experiences
People love to connect with each other on a personal level. Human beings also have an innately fascinating tendency to be captivated by trauma, heartbreak, success, persistence and other emotional experiences. Write about the greatest professional lessons you’ve learned, your battle against breast cancer, how you made it through your divorce or how you overcome the odds to achieve your goals. Personalizing your book with life milestones that others can relate to is always a good idea.
5. Check out what people are learning about
Visit online course marketplaces such as Udemy to find out what people are paying money to learn about. If you’re a graphic designer or computer programmer, conduct a quick search on Udemy to check out which courses are selling the best, which ones are the most expensive and what online learners are eager to sign up for. This will give you a clear idea (or several) about what you can highlight in your book in order to attract your target audience and help sharpen their skills.
6. Research what’s already out there within your niche
What better way to decide on an idea than to research which ones have already done well? Use Google’s keyword planner tool to find out what people are looking up online, go through blogs within your niche to discover what other forms of content based on your subject matter are out there, scroll through Amazon’s bestseller ranking to see what performed well on the site or check out which other books people are buying on Amazon based on bestsellers within your niche! Essentially – do your homework. Once you discover what’s popular within your niche, you can tailor your own book ideas accordingly from there.
Above all, try to avoid writing a book for the sake of writing a book. If you’re unsure of what to write about, take your time and think your book’s subject through. It might take weeks or months, but after steadily doing your homework and research, you’re bound to have your light bulb moment and be struck by inspiration.
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