Could Your Book Idea Be the Next Best Seller?
Everyone has a unique story to tell. From
explaining business processes to revealing our
personal history, we all have a natural desire to
share our experiences with the world. As a result,
bookstore shelves are packed with numerous titles
that promise to entertain, enlighten, and educate
Perhaps, then, the old saying
that “everyone has at least one book in them” is
true. If so, how do you know whether your current
idea really is book worthy or if it needs some
fine-tuning to have maximum marketability?
Before you put pen to paper (or
fingers to keyboard), put your book idea to the
test. Use the following questions as a way to hone
your idea’s development and create a manuscript
destined for the best-seller list.
- Can you state your book’s
purpose in 10 words or less?
Many new authors face the
challenge of wanting to give too much
information at once. Instead of focusing on one
specific idea, they try to wrap multiple
concepts into one book. This approach not only
makes it difficult to organize your book, but it
also overwhelms your readers.
With any good book, you can
state the book’s specific purpose in 10 words or
less. Realize that your purpose is not the same
as your theme or plot. The book’s purpose is
what you specifically want the reader to do or
think as a result of reading your book. Now, a
statement such as “to live a better life” or “to
run a better business” is not specific. A
purpose is not a generalization. It’s a specific
action that you motivate the reader to embark
For example, if you’re writing
a business book, your purpose should be to help
your readers improve one specific business
function, such as its marketing efforts, its
customer service, its project management, etc.
Your purpose should not be “to teach business
executives how to create better marketing
materials, deliver improved customer service,
establish long-term customer relations, increase
employee retention, and locate the best new
talent.” That’s simply too much for one book to
cover. Keep your purpose specific so you can
deliver targeted and useful information.
- Does your book have a
While you certainly want a
large audience to market your book to, you also
want an audience that’s targeted to your topic.
Simply stating that your audience is “business
people” or “women” or “the general public” is
not a targeted audience. Why? Not all business
people have the same concerns, not all women are
interested in the same topics, and not everyone
in the general public will be able to identify
with your ideas.
When you narrow your audience
to include those with a specific tie to your
theme or who fit a certain demographic, you gain
a marketing edge that can position your book
more effectively. So instead of stating that
your audience is “business people,” perhaps you
can narrow it down to “company owners,” “middle
management,” or “entrepreneurs.” Rather than
target the broad category of “women,” you’d have
better sales by focusing on “women over age 50,”
“working moms,” or “single women under age 35.”
All these categories consist of a large number
of people, yet they are narrow enough so you can
streamline your message.
- Are you saying something new?
If you want people to invest
the time and money to read your book, you have
to tell them something new. Too many authors
attempt to reword or rehash old ideas that
others have stated over and over. While you
should use other people’s works to substantiate
claims or add credibility to your message, make
sure your central idea is fresh and unique.
How can you make sure your
approach is new? Incorporate the results of a
survey you personally conducted. Include case
studies from your own business or life.
Interview people who can contribute facts and
information. Add elements of yourself to
punctuate your message. This is your book, so
tell your story or stance on an issue.
Many authors are afraid to
state a new opinion on a topic that others have
covered. They think they may turn people off or
offend. Remember that people like controversy,
so if your book can stir things up and make
people think twice about something, you’ll have
a greater chance of creating a buzz about your
- Are your writing skills up to
You could have the best idea
in the world, but if your text is filled with
errors, is poorly organized, or is difficult to
understand, no one will want to read it. Before
you write too much of your book, brush up on
your writing skills by attending a writing
class, studying a writing guide, or hiring a
writing coach to help you correct your writing
challenges. Also, educate yourself on what
writing style appeals to your audience, and then
strive to imitate that style. Gear your writing
to your intended audience as much as possible.
If you’re unsure whether your
writing skills make the grade, consult with a
professional editor or ghostwriter who can
rework your writing and bring it up to
publishing standards. Don’t let poor writing
skills ruin your best-selling idea.
Start Writing Now
Writing a book is no small
undertaking. When you can answer “yes” to each of
the above questions, you’ll be on your way to
transforming your idea into a publishable piece of
work. Take the time to nurture and develop your
idea before you start writing so you can be sure
to create the best book possible. A little
pre-planning and foresight is all it takes to give
your book the most market appeal.