How to Determine Your Best Book Idea to Finally Start Writing
You’re reading this because you have an itch you haven’t scratched. Before you pass from this world, you want to write a book, but maybe you don’t know what to write the book about?
Most people out there want to write a book, but many won’t do it.
Fears get in the way. Life stops you. You can’t seem to muster the energy to write 100 words because you know you’ll have to write those 100 words 500 times.
Maybe your idea doesn’t feel good enough or strong enough and you might think no one is going to read your book?
I’ve written seven books under my name. I’ve also helped many authors get their works out into the world.
I’ve experienced firsthand the many pains of being an author:
- I’ve spilled coffee all over my computer.
- I’ve thrown my mouse at the wall in frustration, shattering it into a million pieces (actually the darned thing barely broke, which left me even more angry).
- I’ve stared at my computer not in writer’s block, but in complete apathy toward my WIP.
- I’ve published a book to crickets.
- I’ve received negative reviews, hurtful feedback, and people emailing me asking me to give them a job.
I’ve also experienced countless joys that leave the negative aspects in the dust:
- Getting a crisp copy of my first book and basking in the accomplishment.
- Receiving an email that my fourth book, Volcanic Momentum, just sold 10,000 copies in one punch.
- Discovering a ghostwriting career I absolutely love.
- Hearing readers say things like, “This book came to me at the perfect time,” or, “it felt like Jordan was in the room speaking to me.”
- Reading my work and smiling because I can feel to my core that the words on the page are what people need to hear, even if they don’t want to hear it.
Writing a book is worth suffering the pains to experience the gains. Everyone should do it. But first, you need an idea.
But it has to be your idea.
This blog post isn’t a list of book topics you could write a book about. It’s a push for you to find your book idea no one else can write.
*Beware: read further and you might just open up a new Google doc and start your book.
How to Find Your Book Topic
There are three important questions you must ask yourself:
- What do you want to write about?
- What is your unique viewpoint or angle?
- What is your motivation for finishing the book?
All three questions point to the primary catalyst for deciding on your book topic; you.
It matters what you want to write about. Breathe your passion for the subject into the book and you will ignite its potential.
It matters that you have a unique perspective. You don’t want to write just another memoir that nobody will read. You need to figure out your unique selling proposition (USP).
If you don’t have a personal reason and motivation to finish your book, you never will.
This is the tricky part. You probably wanted an easier answer. You could definitely get a list of 100 book topics from ChatGPT or by searching Google, but what good would that do? It’s much better to start from what you know.
This is how to take action and answer the question, “What should I write my book about?”:
Figure out Your Topic
Make a list of all of your major passions in life. Don’t hold back. Think about all you enjoy doing, everything that tugs at your heartstrings, as well as all those things that drive you crazy. Then, ask yourself these questions:
- Do any of these speak to me as something I could feasibly write a book about?
- Do I really want to put in the hard work and feel the pain involved with writing a book?
- Do I like the subject enough to pour hours into the process?
You may already have an idea for a book that makes sense for you to write. However, doing this process can sometimes yield new ideas and methods for interweaving your passions together.
Develop Your USP
Find out more about yourself. You can take various personality tests, strengths tests, skills tests, or even sign up for my School of You.
Going on a self-discovery journey is a non obvious answer to the question of what to write your book about, but it is the difference maker.
It’s easier to find your USP if you know more about yourself and what makes you tick. My INFJ, Futuristic, 5w4 breathes life into every word I write. My focus on listening to your intuition, following your purpose, and living out your inspiration should be felt in every word you read.
Write With Why
You need to have a reason for writing your book that goes beyond a delusional aspiration of becoming a NY Times Bestseller. Come back to Earth for a bit and consider what a book will do for your and your life/business.
Why are you writing this book? What will it do for you? Why is it worth the struggle?
Each day as you sit down and write, use this reason as your motivation for writing. Trust me, you’ll need it. A lucky few will find a flow carrying them all the way from word one to 50,000, but this isn’t common.
It can be maddening to sit down and get the writing done. The only way to combat this is to have a clear reason for the joyful (read: agonizing) process of writing a book.
Let’s look at my thought process with my current WIP as an example. I am working on a book about finishing your book. It’s a meta example, I know, but I hope you let that slide. Here are my answers to these three important questions for my next book:
- Topic: Finishing a book. How to help people move from the idea they have in their heads to completed manuscript. A look at the entire process from start to finish. I’m super passionate about writing and books and helping people get their ideas out of their heads and onto paper.
- USP: I’ve been writing, editing, publishing, and annoying my friends and family about writing books for the last ten years. It’s high time I write a book about the process.
- My Why: This book will be a fun book for me to write because I know the process like the back of my scarred right hand.
Nail these three questions and you’re ready to write an influential book.
Do What The Greats Did
Once you have your answer to these important questions, your book topic will emerge from its chrysalis.
Now, it’s time to further ignite your book idea and make it a reality.
Anyone can write a book about anything. With the help of tools like ChatGPT, you can spin your ideas into a “book”.
But this isn’t what you want. Nope. You don’t want to publish a book just to publish a book (I’ve done that, so learn from my mistakes).
The market has been flooded for the past ten years or more with, well, let’s be nice and call it “recycled garbage”.
You’re better than that. Learn from the best and write a book worth reading.
In a comprehensive study shared in a book I highly recommend, Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create a Category of One, the authors found that the bestselling books of all time largely fall into seven categories:
- Personal Development
- Personal Finance
- Case Study/Allegory
- Functional Excellence
Not that you can’t write a book that doesn’t fall into one of these categories, but your chances of writing a bestseller dwindle the further away you get from this list.
If your goal is to enhance your business with the power of a book, this list is a good place to start, but don’t firmly plant yourself here if it doesn’t fit with your idea.
If you just want to write a book because it’s a life goal, do it. And then, in the editing phases, consider how you might mold it to fit into one of the above categories.
The best books are unique. They have a compelling title, a simple promise for reading, and the reader wants to share it with their friends.
Consider some of the most influential books of all time:
- How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Man’s Search for Meaning
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
- Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t
- Think and Grow Rich
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Most books don’t come anywhere near the level of quality of the above.
Set yourself apart by following in their footsteps:
- Come up with a great title.
- Make the promise for the reader clear
- Fulfill that promise and create a cadre of raving fans
My own anecdotal experience mirrors this wisdom. My most successful book has been Volcanic Momentum: Get Things Done by Setting Destiny Goals, Mastering the Energy Code, and Never Losing Steam by far.
People were hooked by the title, motivated by their own desires and what the book might help them accomplish, and helped share it with other people. My book title was unique, it offered a way to help them get something done with Destiny Goals, teased the power of the energy code, and gave them a reason to read.
This isn’t dealing with API’s, it’s a simple strategy you can do even better than I did.
If Not You, Then Who?
“If not you, then who? If not now, when?” ―Hillel, first- century Jewish scholar
We only get one shot at this life.
At the risk of going overboard on some tactless inspiration, you need to write the effing book already.
It’s okay to think about your book and wonder about the possibilities. But there comes a time when you just need to get started by at least writing an outline.
If you’ve got a winning non-fiction book idea, get started today.
All the best,