How do you decide what to write about in your book? If you have some ideas already, how do you know if any of them are any good? Choosing a book idea can lead to a lot of soul-searching and procrastination. This can really keep you stuck. But remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect idea, it develops as you work on it. So, begin with the mindset of an explorer and you’re far more likely to hit upon the perfect idea.
What if you haven’t got any ideas?
Starting a book can be hard, especially when it comes to choosing an idea to write about. Sometimes an idea pings into your head without any effort, sometimes you have to work at it.
5 Ways to Find Ideas
- Write about your core belief or message and why it’s important to you and what learning it could do for your readers.
- Examine a key set of tools or resources you use that your readers would benefit from understanding and using too. List them out and describe why they’re important and helpful.
- Think about the results you’ve achieved for your clients. How did you help them? What case studies could you put together and explore in a book?
- List your top tips for achieving a key objective that your target readership wants to learn how to do. Choose the best five or seven and use them as the core of your book.
- Outline the key steps you take to solve or help your clients with a specific problem. Could you use those steps as the foundation of your book?
- Read what others have written, either in books or blogs, or watch videos. What have they done well? What could you do better?
- Brilliant solutions often come to us when we’re busy doing something else. So, do something repetitive, like ironing, weeding or cleaning. It gives your brain a rest and gives your unconscious mind room to breathe and present new ideas to you.
Write it out
A good way to clarify your thoughts is by writing them out. Writing is enormously helpful because it’s a precise form of communication. As such, it demands that you express yourself clearly .Writing helps you dig down and uncover the diamond beneath the mud.
What if you’ve got too many ideas for your book?
Maybe your problem isn’t finding ideas but having too many. That sounds great but it can leave your head is spinning. Being undecided means you’re constantly switching from one idea and another and never settling on any of them. That means you might never start your book.
So, what can you do to narrow down your options?
Define your strategy
When you have too many ideas, you need to get clear on your goals and strategy. When you know what you want to achieve – who you want to attract into your business and what you want to work on with them – it’ll make it far easier to create a shortlist of the best ideas.
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, start exploring each idea. You can do this in a number of ways, including:
- Defining your message, argument, angle, approach or opinion.
- Identifying your unique approach or method for solving a problem.
- The feeling you want to convey (bright, chatty, coaching, supportive, ‘kick-up-the-bum’ etc.).
Think about why your ideal clients might be looking for a book (rather than a blog post, video or course). Which of your ideas will allow you to serve your clients best and grab their attention when they’re looking for solutions to their problem?
Do you have one BIG idea for your book?
When you have a BIG idea for your book – one you’re excited about and have been thinking about for a while – it’s easy to think you don’t need to do any more deliberating.
Beware of being over-confident and missing out the crucial development stage of the process. Otherwise, you might find your big idea misses the mark with your readers further down the line. Test and develop now so you can move forward with confidence.
Develop your idea
Developing your idea may take time, but it’ll give you a solid foundation to build on when you start putting together a detailed content plan.
- Read other books and blogs written by competitors and experts in your field. Take notes and keep records of what you’ve read so you can refer to them when you write.
- Explore your key points by writing about them. Pose questions for yourself to get you thinking. Talk to others about your topic as they may pick up on anything that isn’t clear or that you’ve missed.
How to share a book idea
Sharing a book idea needs to be done with care. Start with a trusted individual before talking to groups or random people you meet at a networking event. It’s easy to get derailed by someone else’s lack of understanding or negative response.
You might have the germ of an idea or something you’ve already spent time developing. Whoever you speak to first needs to have the skill and sensitivity to encourage you but also pose testing questions.
- Discuss your idea with someone who’s able to give you constructive feedback. Arrange a time to talk with them so you can share your idea in way that makes it easy to understand.
- Approach your mastermind group or a small inner circle of trusted peers. Make sure it’s a safe space and a good time to spill the beans.
- Share your idea with a small audience of past, current and potential clients. Do this through writing blog posts, newsletters or social posts. You don’t have to tell them this is a book idea. Just start a discussion to find out what they think and want to know about the topic.
5 Top Tips for Choosing Your Book Idea
- Avoid reinventing the wheel. Get away from the idea that you need some kind of original or outstanding idea for your book. Your angle, approach or individual way of discussing relevant and common problems of interest to your ideal clients is enough.
- Use what you have now. Start with your existing writing, even if it’s your business description page. What is your core message? Write down 8-10 topics you can cover in relation to that core belief or message. Could all or any of them form a book?
- Keep it simple. Books of quotations or tips can be just as powerful as comprehensive ‘how to’ books that deliver an entire system. Sometimes short books are more likely to be read than longer ones, especially if they’re put together with the purpose of solving one main problem.
- Stay focused. The more specific your book to an issue experienced by the audience you most want to reach, the easier it is to write. Start by taking one of your best-performing blog posts and expanding it into a short Kindle book. Remember, you don’t need to write a lot of words to produce a digital book.
- Provide a marketable benefit. Above all, when it comes to finding an idea for your book, you need to ensure it’s marketable. Ideally, you should be able to highlight this in your title.
How do you position your book to sell?
There are lots of books out there – and probably a fair few on the same topic as you’re writing about. It isn’t a problem though, as long as you know your book has a unique position in the market. That means doing some market research, so you can find out about your competition to make your book stand out.
Research the market
- Check it out on Amazon and Google using keywords. Look at some of the books, websites, blog posts and businesses you find as a result of your search.
- If there are no other books, products or programmes on the topic, it may be a sign that there isn’t any interest in the topic. To be sure, test it out with some blog posts or by creating a small product before you commit to writing a book about it.
The only time you can ignore a gap in the market is if a topic is brand-spanking new. But beware flash-in-the-pan trends as these could be over by the time you publish your book.