How to Pick the Perfect Book Topic

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.

7 Ways to Market Your Book and Reach a New Audience

I’m thrilled to include a guest post this week from Angela J. Ford, marketing and book launch specialist. Angela is an author who’s followed these strategies, and she knows her stuff. I’m so glad she offered to share these book marketing tips with us! Her new course, "How to Plan a Book Launch," is worth a look if you’re launching a book soon (like I am!). 


Congratulations - you published a book! Now that the excitement is dying away, it’s time to focus on marketing it and keeping the book buzz strong. The question is, what should you be doing to spread the word about your book?

Now, writing may be your strong suit, and it’s likely marketing isn’t. No worries, here are the steps you can take to ensure you’re marketing your book every single day, and still reaching a new audience. Because let’s face it, your family and your best friends have already heard about your book a zillion times, you want to reach people who haven’t heard about your book, well, like, ever!

Go on a Blog Tour

What’s a blog tour? It’s like a virtual book tour where several book bloggers write about and promote your book. While there are some sites that offer blog tours, you can also do all the research and planning yourself. In fact, you could get more quality readers if you do plan it yourself. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Make a list of all the sites you’d like to promote your book or do a guest blog post about your work.
  • Contact the blogger with your pitch and the date you’d like the blog post to go live.
  • Offer to do a giveaway or provide them a free copy of the book if you’d like them to read and review it.
  • Offer to do a guest blog about the book or a character interview so they simply have to post it, instead of doing all the work. 

After the release of my novel I went on a month-long blog tour. This helped keep the book buzz strong because others were constantly talking about my book, the search engine optimization was fantastic, and my sales rank on Amazon stayed high because people were constantly checking it out. 

Make the Ebook Free and Promote it on Freebooksy

“Wait a second, a free book giveaway? Excuse me, I’m trying to make money over here!” 

I know. I know. But hear me out. 

I did a free book promotion that resulted in 30 sales, plus I made back the $100 I spent on promoting it. Here’s why you should do this -

When you make your book free on Amazon, you immediately get all the people who hunt for sales and deals, downloading your book. Yep, you get all the cheapos. But you also get the people who haven’t heard of your book, are seeing it for the first time and are genuinely interested in it. 

When you pay a company like Freebooksy to promote your free ebook for you, they shoot a message out to their massive email list. You should see downloads like crazy, which helps your sales rank and your book’s visibility. Then, when your book isn’t free anymore, since you gave it a boost, people will still buy it. 

Other sites that promote your free ebook for a cost include:
Bookbub
BookGoodies
Riffle Books

Set up a Giveaway on Goodreads

As a reader, Goodreads is one of my favorite sites. If there’s a book to be read, it’s on my Goodreads list. There’s a dedicated fan base of readers and authors on Goodreads, and if you haven’t done so already, create your author profile and claim your books. From there, you can take your paperback and create a Goodreads Giveaway. 

So far I’ve done two giveaways, and each time over 700 people entered the giveaway. It introduces your book to a new audience and often times they add the book to their reading list as well. Could you stand to reach an additional 700 people? 

Join a Facebook Group Dedicated to Readers 

The goal of social media is to build relationships with others, which is why you need to be intentional about what you do on social media. It doesn’t have to be a huge time waster. In fact, if you need to, set a timer and dive in for 15 minutes, twice a day. Here are a few things to keep in mind when joining a Facebook group for authors and readers - 

  • Make sure people in the group are actually engaged. You can tell when a great is essentially dead because there will only be one or two people posting and carrying the conversation. 
  • The group has weekly or daily themes that encourage support, promos, and sharing each other’s work. Awesome groups have themes. Whether it’s Writing Wednesday or Promo Friday, themes help you know when to promote your book, or just be supportive and keep others accountable. 

Don’t Leave the House Without Book Swag

Recently I was at the bar with one of my business besties, taking a break from the hustle to have girl talk. A party came in and sat down next to us, and we ended up chatting about work, life, and what we did for fun. When I told them I write fantasy novels, they asked where they could find it. I whipped out my bookmarks and passed them out. As a result, one guy even bought the paperback version of my novel from Amazon while I was sitting right there! 

A book sale is a book sale, so make sure you always carry something you can hand out to others. Bookmarks, like business cards, are easy to carry and easy to hand out. I recommend including the name of the book, website, and maybe even a review or two if you have the space. 

Set up an Interactive Quiz or Game on Your Website

Ever found yourself on BuzzFeed for hours, taking quizzes and discovering which Disney character you’re most like? (If you haven’t discovered BuzzFeed yet, I apologize in advance.) Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you can still put together a quiz to give readers a preview of what they can find in the book. 

During the release of my novel, The Five Warriors, I put together a brief quiz: Which of The Five Warriors are you? People took it and shared their answer on social media. It is also a fun way to keep people engaged during virtual book events. 

Need a tool to help you create quizzes? Check out Qzzr.

Join Local Author Groups and Get Involved in Their Events

I currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee, and in spring 2016, I was able to read a selection from my novel out loud at Barnes and Noble. As an indie author, that was a fantastic achievement. How did that happen? 

Have you heard of Meetup.com? It’s a site to connect locals with each other so they can connect and do what they do best. I joined the writer’s meetup and started attending their bi-weekly and monthly events. This gave me the opportunity to meet other local authors and take advantage of the events the group put on in the Nashville community. 

What happens in your local community? If there isn’t a scheduled Meetup, go to your local bookstores or library and take a look at the upcoming events. Go to them, get involved, and meet people who can help share your book with a new audience!

What tips will you use to help your book reach a new audience? 


About the Author

 

Angela J. Ford is the author of the The Four Worlds Series and a digital marketing strategist. She’s passionate about helping authors and bloggers do more work they love by helping them with marketing. You’re most likely to find her with her nose in a book and a cup of coffee in hand.

Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Website

 

Writer’s Toolbox: Writing and Editing Books

You’d never take some pieces of wood and a hammer and try to build a bookcase without some instructions or at least looking at a couple YouTube videos, would you? Writing can be thought of in a similar vein. In addition to practicing writing every day, you need some tools in your author toolbox — your own reference library, if you will. Few (and even that might be an exaggeration) people can simply start typing and end up with a book-length manuscript without having read any reference books about writing, structuring a book, or self-editing. A quick search on Amazon for “writing books” yields more than one million results, so how do you know where to begin to find what you need and/or are looking for? There are books for every type of writing, every genre in a bookstore, every issue that gets in a writer’s way, and more. I’m listing here a few of my favorites here that are more general about writing rather than focused on one specific issue/theme. (That post will come later!) And because I know not everyone reads full-length books as regularly as they might want to, I’m including online resources and podcasts, too.
 
Books
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
Stephen King
 
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Anne Lamott
 
The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers
Betsy Lerner

Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English
Patricia T. O’Conner

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Natalie Goldberg
 
On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction
William Zinsser
 
The Elements of Style
E.B. White and William Strunk, Jr.
 
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield
 
 
Online Resources
Grammarly
Merriam-Webster (dictionaries/thesaurus)
 
 
Podcasts
Grammar Girl
Writing Excuses
I Should Be Writing
The Creative Penn
 
What are your favorite writing resources? I’d love to hear them!
 
For more hands-on help, schedule a Discovery Call with me today to see how I can help you with your project. In the meantime, do you have a favorite resource to share? I would love to hear from you!