Imagine this: folks are casually browsing their favorite bookstore (or Amazon, more likely) and come across your (as-yet-unwritten) book. What will they think? What will they say? Will they click to learn more or keep browsing?
The answer depends on many factors, of course, one of the most important being your topic. (And your title, but that’s a subject for another day. :))
The topic helps determine whether your book will grab their interest or sit gathering (virtual) dust on the bookstore shelves.
So the question of the day is: What topic shall you choose?
Let’s move into discussing 3 ways to choose a hot topic that gets your book noticed (and bought).
Tip #1 for Choosing an Irresistible Book Topic: Focus on Your Customers
The most important thing to remember here is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. To help get in the right frame of mind, ask yourself these questions:
What are my prospects/clients struggling with?
What do they want in their lives/businesses/relationships/etc.?
What is the biggest challenge, concern, or goal that clients talk about with me?
If you’re a chiropractor, for instance, and the majority of people come to you for help curing migraines, you might think about writing a book that offers natural cures for migraines. Of which, of course, you’ll list chiropractic treatments and ultimately offer your services. Or maybe there isn’t one major symptom people bring to you so you decide to write a book on chiropractic care in general and call it the drug-free miracle cure, or maybe “The Drug-Free Cure to the 7 Most Common Ailments in Women”, and have a chapter on each of the top 7 ailments that chiropractic treatments can help with. The overall point is to make sure you’re focusing on the needs of your target market and how your book can help solve their most pressing problems or reach their desired goals.
Tip #2 for Choosing an Irresistible Book Topic: Research What’s Selling Now
I know research can be an intimidating word for many, as it implies long hours and tedious work, but I have an exercise that’s easy and – dare I say – fun. 🙂
This can help you to check out your target market and dive deep into what they’re already buying. Because the bottom line is this: If they’re buying a similar topic, that doesn’t mean you should shy away because that topic has already been done. If that was the case, there wouldn’t be hundreds or even thousands of books on sales, or time management, or cooking, or the gazillion other topics out there.
Think about it: when you find a topic of interest, do you just buy one book on that subject? Or do you read several, maybe even dozens, of titles? I’m not saying you should just rehash the same old topic again; rather, if you have a fresh take on a topic people are already buying, you might just have a winner on your hands. 🙂
Okay, so here’s your exercise:
Step 1: Visit Amazon.com.
Step 2: Click shop by department.
Step 3: Click books.
Step 4: Click bestsellers.
Step 5: Click the titles of the books you want to review.
Step 6: Look at things like the selling price, # of pages, and, Amazon bestsellers rank*.
* The Amazon ranking system is based on # of sales and how recently sales were made. It’s updated hourly so a book’s rank could go down every hour a book isn’t purchased. I haven’t been able to get an exact correlation between sales rank and # of books sold, as I’m sure those number change daily based on overall number of book purchases, but here’s a general idea that I found to give you a framework when reviewing the bestsellers rank (and a general idea of what might be possible for your book as well):
Amazon Bestsellers rank Average # of books sold/day
Tip #3 for Choosing an Irresistible Book Topic: Check Out what Customers are Saying
While you’re browsing Amazon.com, spend some time looking at customer reviews, which can give great insights straight from your potential customers’ mouths (or fingertips, in this case).
Write down pros and cons that people mention.
You might actually start with the negative comments (a.k.a. the 1-star reviews) because that means there’s a hole in the market you can fill. For instance, if you’re looking to write a how-to book on gardening, and in researching the top-selling how-to books on gardening already published, you find that people are saying there aren’t enough examples or pictures or whatever, you know you want to include plenty of examples/snapshots in your book. Or maybe people are saying that they’d love to see more information on organic gardening (if that’s a thing; I’m SO not a gardener! :)), and that could be a niche just begging to be covered by you. Last example: one of the books I researched for my own business had comments that the content was good but not well organized, and therefore hard to find when they went searching later. That gave me ideas about ways to organize my information better in the table of contents to make it super easy for folks to find what they’re looking for.
The 5-star reviews can he helpful too. If a lot of people say that they like the author’s use of humor into an otherwise dry topic, you might take a cue from that. Not that you should change your personality for the book and become a comedian if funny isn’t your thang, but if you already have a sense of humor you can take that as a cue to let your hilarious self shine. Or maybe people say that they love the short, punchy chapters, another cue for you to keep your chapters short, sweet, and easily digestible.
These are just a few of my top tips for coming up with hot topics for that book of yours that’s just begging to be released into the world. You have a gift, my friend. Your life experiences are unique and allow you to bring your own slant to pretty much any topic under the sun. It just might be that your viewpoint is what will help things click for readers and ultimately change the lives of hundreds, thousands, maybe even – gasp – millions of folks out there.
If you’re ready to seriously get your book DONE already, come on over and join me for a free training called Write Your Book in 30 Days: A Roadmap to Turning Your Knowledge & Expertise into a Book that Makes Money AND Wins You Clients, where I’ll walk you through the 30-day process for writing an awesomesauce book that wins you clients (and impresses the heck outta your friends and family to boot :)).
Tammi Metzler, founder of The Write Associate, is a self-professed “word geek.” Her greatest joy is in playing with words all day to find just the right combination to get folks all fired up to buy and read books. She offers resources about writing books that excite & engage your ideal clients on her blog at www.WriteAssociate.com.