Once you know what you want to achieve with your book, it’s time to get ready to create it. This part trips up many people. You have dozens of ideas until you sit down to write then it feels like they all evaporate at once. This article will help you choose a topic that makes sense for your goals.
**Scroll to the bottom to download a checklist on How to Choose Your Book’s Category**
The best way to come up with a topic is to do some research first. In fact, doing your research in the early stages will help you create a better book. You’ll know more about what your audience wants and expects, what points to cover, and which subjects your competitors left out of their books.
Start your topic brainstorming by focusing on this question as you choose your topic: What problems are you solving for your audience?
You should only write a book to solve a problem for your community. Otherwise, you’re just adding more noise to the world. Your book won’t help anyone and you’ll be disappointed when it flops.
Instead, think about the people you’re passionate about serving and tackle one big problem that continues to haunt them. For example, if you’re a health and wellness expert who serves busy moms, you may already know that your audience’s biggest frustration is coming up with quick and easy meals.
Armed with this information, you can write a book filled with healthy recipes that are simple for your community put together. You could even turn one book into a series by writing a book on Instant Pot recipes then another one about one-pan supper dishes.
Ideally, you want to make a list of 5-10 problems that your audience has. This gives you a few ideas to start with. However, you’ll want to expand on your list and make sure that you’re tackling what your community needs most.
Choose Your Topic by Researching
You can use many tools to start your research. Often, question and answer sites can reveal ideas and spark new topics you hadn’t considered writing on.
Answer the Public is a good starting place. You type in a keyword and this search engine based tool pulls up a list of the most popular questions around that subject. It breaks these questions into groups with headings like “why,” “how,” or “where.”
For example, if you were to look up “puppy training,” the website shows that these are some frequently searched questions:
- What size crate for puppy training?
- How long does puppy training take?
- Why use puppy-training pads?
- Where to start puppy training?
- What are best puppy training treats?
After the questions, you’ll see a section for “prepositions.” These are search terms like “is,” “with,” or “for” and can be helpful when coming up with content ideas. Going with the puppy-training example above, some of the search terms include:
- Puppy training for potty
- Puppy training without treats
- Puppy training to not bite
- Puppy training near me
Keep drilling down and you’ll even see a section that gives you data about comparisons that users make when searching for information.
Not all of this data is presented as a boring list. It’s created as an image so you can visualize what keywords you’re seeing. Even better, Answer the Public allows you to download this information as an image that you can save to your favorite device. This makes it easy for you to use these keywords whenever you need fresh inspiration.
The second place you should do your research is Amazon Best-Seller Lists. These lists of the most popular books can you tell you a lot about what your audience wants to see more of and what types of content they hate.
You can find Amazon’s best-sellers right here. However, don’t just pay attention to the top 100. Look on the side of the page and sort the results by topic. This will show you what’s popular in your niche.
Keep in mind you may have to drill down to find information on certain topics. For example, if your topic will be on “Aging” then you would click on the category “Health, Fitness, and Dieting.” You can go even more in-depth by selecting a subtopic of aging such as “Exercise,” “Longevity,” or “Beauty, Grooming, and Style.”
Choose Your Topic by Looking at Other Published Books
Once you’re in your niche, look at the content of the books others are publishing in your industry. Do they look professional? Are they well written? Do they have positive reviews from dozens of bloggers or reviewers?
Scan the table of contents. Are there topics that the authors aren’t addressing? Are there repeated customer complaints that too little time was spent on a particular thought or idea? These may be signs that you’ve found a gap in the market so take notes of these.
You can also try the Google Ads Keyword Planner for your research. It can help you spot keywords that you may have overlooked or discover topics you hadn’t thought about mentioning.
The only downside is that Google has become vague with some of their data. This means a search term may show between “10K – 100K” searches per month and it’s difficult to know the exact number. It’s also difficult to find long-tail keywords with their planner now.
Some users who invest in Google Ads report seeing better results in their accounts. However, if you’re just looking keyword data and don’t plan to run advertisements, this can be frustrating and upsetting.
Fortunately, there’s a solution that also works well called Keyword Tool. This website pulls data from Google searches for you and shows you the results. Even better, it doesn’t just pull Google’s data, it can also display search terms used on other platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Amazon.
In addition to seeing the search terms, you can also see frequently asked questions with your keyword in it. This can inspire you with dozens of new topic ideas that you may not have come up with on your own.
There’s both a free and paid version of this website. The free one can generate up to 750+ keyword phrases (some of them long-tail). But if you find you need more information, it might be smart to sign up for their premium plan. Be willing to do the work and choose your topic using the results that make sense to you.
Download a checklist on How to Choose Your Book’s Category here…
I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and would love to connect with you. If you’re new to the world of online entrepreneurship please check out my training on how to sell yourself at Sell Yourself and Your Stuff and learn how to gain an unfair advantage when it comes to building a lucrative online business.