Post: Use these 3 tips to choose your next book idea

book idea

Ideas, ideas, ideas—writers are full of them—or, at least, should be, if they hope to earn a living at their craft. If you happen to be a best-selling author or have gained celebrity status in a certain niche (e.g., world famous inspirational speaker) you could probably write just about anything, and people would buy it. Writers who are just starting out, however, will want to make sure the idea they have for a book is “sellable.” There are several ways to determine if your book idea is a good one. 

When all is said and done, a writer must follow his or her heart. However, if someone has a primary goal of “selling books,” then it’s helpful to determine the potential of a specific book idea before investing the time and effort it will take to make the idea a reality. 

Test your book idea to check if there’s an existing market

If you hope to be the pioneer of an idea, by all means, go ahead and try. When your goal is to jump in to the writing industry with a ready-to-sell idea, however, it’s best to determine if your book idea is already out there, generating searches online. You can use online tools to test your idea as a search phrase. By typing it in, you’ll quickly learn how many people have searched the same phrase in the past 30 days. 

Are people searching the phrase to buy books?

When your goal is to sell books, it’s not enough to check search phrases. You must also have a basic idea of “why” people were searching a particular phrase. For instance, a ton of people might search “home remedies for the common cold,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re buying books on the topic. They might simply be searching the phrase to find free information online. 

Therefore, if you hit upon a book idea that has a lot of searches per month, go a step further to determine if people are buying books on the topic, even if you’re writing fiction. If the answer is “Yes,” then you might have a “sellable” idea that’s worth writing

Sellable is one thing, but overwhelming competition is another

As a writer, it’s always good to challenge yourself. An active amount of competition is a good thing. The key is to find the right balance. If you’re new to the industry, it wouldn’t make sense to develop your book idea if the current competition is so overwhelming, that your book has a better chance of getting lost among hundreds (or more) of others in the marketplace, especially if the ones available are being written by already successful authors. 

You want there to be an existing market, which means there will be competition. Just make sure you’re not biting off more than you can chew. Think of a young baseball player who’s in the National Little League. Coaches sometimes invite someone who shows great potential to “play up” in the next age group. They don’t place them in a position where the competition is too fierce, though, such as taking a 12-year-old and putting him or her on a varsity high school team. It’s okay to choose a book idea that’s already selling. Just don’t choose one where you’ll be “out of your league.”