Maybe you’re one of those business owners who knows you want to write a book and you have so many ideas floating around that you just aren’t sure which to pick, so you just put off writing. Or maybe you know a book would be beneficial to your business but you don’t know how to even start brainstorming ideas. You feel stuck, so you don’t move forward. The process of selecting a book topic is an important one, because getting the focus right (not too broad and not too narrow) will help your book appeal to your audience, make you even more of an authority, AND earn money for you. So where do you start? Let’s see if I can make the process seem a bit less overwhelming.
You’re Already an Expert
What are the questions that you get regularly from your audience? Your audience already sees you as an expert in whatever area these questions encompass. Capitalize on that by giving them what they want from you. I’ll use myself as an example: I was asked just about every day about creating a writing schedule to get your book written in a few-months-long period. (“I don’t have that much time but I want to do it this year.”) I was also asked just about every day about how to get an ISBN number for a book. (“What’s that number on the back of the book with the bar code? Do I need one?”) Rather than type the e-mail responses to different people over and over again, I realized that people needed help with book planning in addition to the actual writing. Sure, I wrote some blog posts about related topics. I even created a course to deep-dive into the topic. I saw an opportunity for more, though. I decided to increase my authority even further on this topic by increasing my credibility and writing a book as a low-price-point of entry for people newer to me or not yet ready to invest in an entire course. Write.Publish.Market. was the result of that, and it’s done its job: earned me credibility and visibility, increased my audience, and become a passive income stream.
The questions I receive are about writing, publishing, and self-publishing. What kinds of questions do you get? Your audience is turning to you as an expert in this field, whatever it is for you. Your audience sees you as someone trustworthy and credible. Brainstorm these questions.
If you have multiple topic areas that you’re asked about, then maybe you have multiple books in your future. Talk about building your platform! Using a book as a springboard for another book and then another book is a fantastic way to build a platform, grow your audience, and more. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; I’m trying to decrease your overwhelm, not add to it.
Your Elevator Pitch
Another way to think of your general topic is to think about your elevator pitch. You know that 30-second-or-so introductory “pitch” you give to someone when you first meet them at, say, a networking event? Or the way you introduce yourself on Facebook Live at the beginning of a broadcast? What do you say? How do you define yourself? I say that I’m a book editor, writing coach, and publishing consultant. However you define yourself likely provides you with the general topic/genre of your book. For me, that’s clearly publishing-related. For you, it will be something related to your business, whether you’re a strategist, photographer, speaker, or something else.
Narrowing the Topic—or the Audience
Once you have your big-picture topic, it’s time to narrow it down to the focus of your book. If I chose to write a Book Publishing 101 type of book, it would be a monster: several hundred pages at least. For Write.Publish.Market., I wanted to keep the topic somewhat broad so instead I narrowed the target audience. (I could have written three separate books: one on writing, one on self-publishing, and one on book marketing. That didn’t appeal to me.) The subtitle of the book indicates that it’s not for everyone; it’s for creative entrepreneurs and small business owners. My book won’t be helpful for someone writing a novel. As long as you clearly indicate that to your audience, no problem.
Hit the Bookstore
Take a look at your local Barnes & Noble or on Amazon to see what books are out there on your topic area. If the market is over-saturated, then you should focus in on one aspect or audience, as I just described. If there are zero books in your category, well, that might indicate that there isn’t enough broad appeal. (Note that I am not saying you cannot publish a successful book in that genre, but you WILL need to be extremely intentional about targeting your audience and marketing.)
Did this overview help get the wheels turning in your mind? I sure hope so. Scratch that: What I REALLY hope is that I’ve convinced you that 2017 is the year to write your book! Tell me about your topic in the comments.