How do you find good ideas for books when you don’t know where to start?

A photo of a storefront window with the message: “Your ideas matter. Write them down. “
Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

Anais Nin said, “My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.”

Here are three ways to find ideas in your daily path.

Find out what people are already talking about.

Scan the news headlines. Check out the home page on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. What are people buying? That’s crucial, because a good idea is one that sells.

The next time you have coffee, listen to what your neighbors at the next table chat about. Have a conversation with a coworker and see where it leads. When you know what people care about, you can package it into a story or how-to book.

Add your own spin to what’s working.

You’re born an original. You have unique expertise, experience, and stories to tell. Build that into your offering.

If you’re writing a how-to book, answer more questions than your competitors. If you’re writing fiction, give your hero a new challenge to face.

Take risks, but don’t forget what your readers expect from a book like yours.

Here’s a secret that can make all the difference in your books. Read your competitors’ negative reviews. What did they do that ruined the book for that reader? How can you shape your story to address that concern?

Remember this when you read negative reviews. Most people don’t complain, but when they do, they felt so upset they had to tell someone. If several people raise the same complaint, take notes.

Get feedback on your writing.

Talk to people who already read the kind of story you’re telling or want an answer to the problem you’re addressing.

Ask experienced writers for input about the mechanics of your writing. Does it flow well, or does it ramble? Is it clear or confusing? Does it accomplish its purpose or leave the reader wanting more?

These three tips will help you find and refine ideas for any book you want to write.



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Frank McKinley

Frank McKinley


I like to figure things out and share what I find. My favorite topics are faith, communication, business, and personal growth.