Are you one of the many aspiring authors who yearns to write a great book, but struggles to find the perfect book idea that you can finally feel confident about?
Are you haunted by the fear that people won’t like your book, or that you simply don’t know enough to write a great story?
These fears can be paralyzing.
And they can ultimately prevent you from ever finishing your book–which means you’ll never have one of the best assets you can possibly have to grow your reputation, your brand, or your business.
But the truth is: great book ideas are all around you.
You just need to know how to capture them.
That’s exactly what I’ll show you how to do in this post so you can find your bestselling book idea.
What Makes a Book Idea Actually Good?
It’s not enough to simply have an interesting book idea…
You need to make sure your book will actually sell.
Because at the end of the day, your book can only build your brand and grow your business if people buy and read it.
That means you need to treat your book like a business in and of itself.
The best book ideas follow principles of business and psychology to make sure there’s a market and a unique selling point you can use to generate sales.
And while that’s an entire masterclass in and of itself, here’s an overview of a few of the principles behind great book ideas:
1. Must have an existing market.
Book ideas are only as great as their market opportunity. As an author, it’s your job to find a niche with a big enough market.
You’re looking for a space you can become a leader. That means a market that’s big enough to warrant the effort but also has low enough competition to where you could feasibly become one of the leaders.
Again, this is no different than business in general–your book is a product. You only want to sell to a market with proven buyers.
The main way to figure this out is through thorough research into sales and traffic numbers in specific categories.
2. Must provide massive value.
The book idea you choose must also provide massive value to the market you’re moving into.
Your book should solve a problem or fill a need that your target audience still has–meaning it either hasn’t been solved at all or only in part by other books. Or, your solution needs a unique spin on how to solve the problem that brings new value to the space.
And that means you must identify the specific problems you’re going to solve and begin brainstorming how you can solve them with your book. You don’t have to go into extreme detail at this point–you just need to have enough information to determine if your book idea could feasibly give massive value to your target market.
3. Must be unique to your experience.
While it’s important to find a topic that is in demand and provides value to readers, it’s equally important that your book is unique to your experience. Readers don’t want another generic business book or self-help guide–they want a unique lesson they can learn from your experience as a thought leader.
That’s why great book ideas align with your personal experiences, insights, and perspectives. This doesn’t mean you need to have a completely original idea, but rather that you need to bring your own voice and unique perspective to the topic.
4. Must have a compelling hook.
The best book ideas can be condensed into a compelling title.
Great book ideas are sticky–meaning they have a simple hook that grabs readers’ attention.
And that means you need an eye-catching title that tells your reader what your book is about and what they’ll get from reading it. Your book idea is only as good as your hook–without one you won’t generate many (if any) sales.
One of the best ways to judge the stickiness of your idea is by judging it against Chip and Dan Heath’s 6 traits of sticky ideas from their book Made to Stick.
20 Ways to Find Killer Book Ideas
1. Use a writing prompt.
You can find tons of writing prompts online, in writing books, or in writing groups. Choose a prompt that resonates with you and simply start writing, allowing your imagination to take over. This gets your creative juices flowing and can help you uncover great book ideas that are already in your head.
2. Research bestsellers.
Analyze bestselling books in your genre to break down what made them successful. Consider themes, writing style, the structure of the content, how compelling the title is, its Amazon categories, and even the marketing copy.
Look for trends and take notes on their strengths and weaknesses. This is one of the best ways on this entire list to find great book ideas because you’re brainstorming ways to improve upon what’s already working.
3. Read in your genre.
Reading books in your genre can give you a sense of the market, the quirks of this genre, what your readers expect, and the types of content that resonate with the audience. Read both current and classic books in your genre to get a broad sense of the possibilities.
4. Mine your passions.
Think about the things you love and write about them. Look for lessons you’ve learned through your hobbies that can be applied to life or business. Some of your best writing comes from things you’re passionate about.
5. Write about the most transformative experience in your life.
Consider a pivotal moment in your life and write about it. This can be a personal experience, a professional one, or anything in between. Use this experience as a starting point to create a story that readers can relate to.
6. Write about the challenges you’re facing in this season of life.
What’s happening to you right now? Talk about a lesson you’re learning that’s fresh on your mind. This can be a therapeutic process for you and help readers going through similar challenges. This can be applied in both a personal and business context.
7. Look into your family history.
Think about your cultural background and personal stories. For example, you may find that you have entrepreneurship in your lineage or notice that a particular family member overcame incredible odds. These can provide a rich source of material for your book.
8. Map out your life to this point.
Reflect on your life experiences and the critical moments that have shaped you. Use this as a starting point to create a story that is unique to you and has the potential to connect with readers. Look for uncommon moments or situations that others could draw value from.
9. Do something crazy, then write about it.
Take a risk and do something outside of your comfort zone. This can be anything from quitting a job and starting a business to skydiving with a fear of heights. Use this experience to inspire your writing and create a compelling story for others who may struggle with the same fear.
10. Interview successful leaders and entrepreneurs.
Reach out to people in your field who have achieved success and ask them for an interview. This can provide valuable insights and inspiration for your writing. Many well-known podcasters today actually started their shows this way.
11. Compile the biggest professional “wins” you’ve ever had and write about why they worked.
Reflect on your professional successes and analyze the critical factors behind them. Use this as inspiration for your writing and consider how others can apply these principles in their context.
12. Read inspiring fiction.
Reading uplifting and inspiring stories can help you identify what elements make a story powerful and impactful. Use this as inspiration for your writing and look for ways to incorporate fiction techniques into your work.
13. Create a list of problems you see around you (with possible solutions).
Identify problems and possible solutions in your community or industry. Use this as inspiration for your writing and consider how you can provide practical solutions to widespread problems in a book.
14. Write about the most frustrating experience of your life.
Reflect on some of the key moments of struggle and frustration in your life. Think through the lessons you learned and how you’re living differently because of them. Use those struggles to provide insights into how others can overcome similar obstacles.
15. Travel and journal about it.
Traveling to new places and experiencing different cultures can provide a wealth of material for your book. Keep a journal of your experiences and use this as inspiration for your writing.
16. Make a big change and document the experience.
Making a significant life change, such as moving to a new city or starting a new career, can provide interesting material for your book. How did it feel? What advice would you give someone else? Document your experiences and use this as inspiration for your writing.
17. Read biographies.
Reading biographies of successful people in your field can provide insight into their paths to success and inspire you to pursue your own goals. You might find a pattern you can write about, to help others in your field achieve better results.
18. Learn a new skill and write about the experience.
Learning a new skill, from cooking to woodworking to coding, can provide interesting material for your book and help you connect with readers who share your interests. Use this as inspiration for your writing and consider how you can share what you’ve learned with your readers.
19. Write about your biggest failure and what you learned.
Sure, at the moment it hurt. But it provided an incredible teaching opportunity. Share your failures and what you learned from them, and you’ll provide valuable insights and lessons for readers who may be facing similar challenges. Use them as inspiration for your writing and consider how you can provide practical advice and guidance.
20. What would you tell your younger self?
Reflecting on what you’ve learned over the years can provide interesting material for your writing, from practical advice to personal stories. Consider what you would tell your younger self if you could go back in time. Think through specific seasons in your life that were inflection points and what specific advice you’d give yourself during each critical season.
All Great Books Start From a Great Idea
Great book ideas are all around you…you just need to know what you’re looking for.
If you use these brainstorming tips and look for ideas that follow the 4 principles behind bestselling book ideas, you’ll no doubt generate an incredible book idea you can run with.
And the best part is…it’ll have a much better chance of actually getting sales.
But coming up with your bestseller book idea is just part of the battle. Now you have to write, publish, and market it so it actually gets into the hands of your readers and becomes a crucial tool for your business.
That’s where we can help.
In my book, Publish. Promote. Profit. I outline a proven framework I’ve used for myself and countless clients to create Wall Street Journal bestsellers from scratch. And you can get your copy, along with exclusive bonus workshops that show you exactly what you need to do to get media attention and leverage your book to get more clients for less than a combo at Chick-Fil-A.