How to Choose a Topic When Writing a New Book
The first step in writing a book is choosing a topic. For some writers, a topic idea has been percolating in their minds for a while, or they come across some piece of information that generates a topic idea.
However, for others, it can be a challenging task to find a topic that will be fun to write about and interesting to readers. Maybe you don’t know where to start or you have so many ideas knocking around inside your head, you don’t know which one to choose.
Begin by thinking about a general concept for your book. This doesn’t have to be an official outline of your book’s story/premise, but rather it should define the main point of interest.
If you need help choosing a concept, take a step back to explore your strengths, areas of expertise and passions. Writing about something you feel passionate about will produce a more interesting, robust result, and you’ll find the writing more enjoyable.
Are you passionate about hydroponic gardening, scuba diving or environmental conservation? Are you a health or human resources practitioner and have knowledge related to your work you want to share ? Or maybe you have a strong interest in entrepreneurship? Regardless, you need to identify your passions to create a concept for your new book.
Another thing to seriously consider is who are you writing this book for? Start by jotting down who your ideal reader is. Why should they read your book and what will they gain? If could be to learn something new or to merely be entertained.
For example, in the human resources example above, you might decide your book will be for hiring managers who need help recruiting and hiring more qualified candidates. By reading your book, hiring managers will gain valuable information such as where to find qualified candidates, which interview questions yield more thorough answers and body language signs to watch for, enabling them to make better hiring decisions.
Remember, your book must appeal to a niche of readers (no one can write a book that appeals to all!) by providing them with something of value.
There’s nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from other authors’ books, but your book must have a unique angle or premise. While it’s nearly impossible to find a topic no one has written about yet, do you have some special knowledge, past experience or perspective you can use to approach the topic in a different way?
Again, using the human resources example above, suppose you have extensive experience in recruiting and hiring healthcare workers or software developers — you can tailor your book topic to hiring candidates in those niche industries.
People like stories. Stories engage readers because readers can relate to the characters in the story.
“But wait, I want to write a nonfiction book, not a novel” you might be saying. Even nonfiction books can use stories to illustrate points.
Again, using our human resources example, you could include anecdotal interview stories (maybe even relating true scenarios you encountered in your job, just change the names!) that demonstrate key points.
A good story begins with strong characters, which are the backbone behind any successful book. Your book’s characters should be relatable, interesting, and have unique qualities.
Have any other topic selection tips that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!