Many speakers, coaches, consultants, and entrepreneurs want to write their first nonfiction book but get stuck before they start.
They don’t know what to write about.
If this sounds like you, the first step for getting over the hump is to understand the three critical elements of the perfect book topic for you.
Knowing what these three are and why they matter will help you write a nonfiction book that fuels your creativity, actually sells, and makes an impact.
The Three Critical Elements of a Winning Book Topic
From a marketing perspective, a “winning” book topic is one that sells. However, there’s more to it than this.
A winning nonfiction book topic has three critical elements: experience, passion, and market demand.
The first element of a winning nonfiction book topic is experience.
When you hear the word “experience,” chances are you think about the workplace. While work is an excellent place to gain practical knowledge and skills, experience includes much more.
Experience also includes your education and life experience. And life experience is powerful because you’re not approaching your subject merely from an academic perspective. You’ve lived, breathed, and walked your book topic. This tells your Ideal Reader that you know your subject matter first-hand. You’re not just spouting theory.
For instance, you may have overcome hardship. And when you were in the midst of the struggle, you experienced difficulty finding the resources that could carry you through. You’re now in a prime position to help other people going through the same challenge by giving them immediate access to the knowledge and resources you already gathered.
Experience is a vast array of things. It’s what you know how to do based on what you’ve experienced in the classroom or in life.
Experience is critical because it establishes your credibility. Do you have to be an expert to be credible? Not at all. At least not by a hyper-inflated definition of expertise.
Merriam-Webster defines an expert as “one with the special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject.”1
To be considered an expert, you simply have to know your stuff.
Your ideal client needs a reason to trust your advice. Your experience is the tangible proof that they can trust you.
The second element is passion.
When you think about your topic, does your heart leap? Do you feel passionate about it? Is this something you can talk about for the next five or ten years?
Remember, your book is going to open unexpected doors for you.
Whether it’s training contracts, speaking engagements, more books to write, or other opportunities, you’ll be asked about that topic if you market your book successfully.
So, are you passionate about your topic?
If your answer to this question is a resounding “yes,” your topic will fuel your motivation and spark your creative juices for years to come. The creativity well won’t run dry.
If your answer is “no,” you’ll experience difficulty staying the course, and your reader will feel the lack of passion in your writing.
I’m a member of several writing groups, and I often see people asking the wrong first question: “What is a profitable niche I can write about?”
While this is a great question, it’s not the best first question.
Don’t chase the money.
Home in on your passion, then validate market demand. The money will naturally follow.
The third element is market demand.
Market demand is crucial because there’s an existing market and people are willing to pay for your topic. It’s something people will buy. They’re not just searching the Internet for free information.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in giving people free information and being as helpful as possible. It impacts people’s lives and helps you attract your ideal client or customer.
However, if you want to sell more books and grow your business, it’s essential to validate your topic for market demand. Otherwise, regardless of how well you write, package, and promote your book, it won’t sell.
Market demand validation will help you find a profitable nonfiction book topic.
The three elements of a winning book topic are experience, passion, and market demand. And where the three converge, you’ll find your perfect book. And it only takes three simple steps to generate great book ideas and write a nonfiction book that your Ideal Reader will buy and love.
About Sylvia Melena
SYLVIA MELENA is the Founder and CEO of Melena Consulting Group, a leadership and management consulting, training, and publishing company. She is also the international award-winning author of Supportive Accountability: How to Inspire People and Improve Performance and the Vice President of the San Diego Book Awards Association. As an unknown author with zero platform, Sylvia’s first book gave her exposure in the Society of Human Resources Management HR Today, Entrepreneur, the Human Performance Association, My Quest for the Best, LEADx, Fit Small Business, and other outlets.