4 Expert Tips for Coming Up With a Strong Topic for Your First Book

Writing your debut book is hard work, but it doesn't have to be such a heavy lift.

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By Josh Steimle

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There are many entrepreneurs who feel they've got a good book waiting inside them — and for good reason. A business book can be the perfect way to build your platform and authority in your niche, helping you foster valuable connections and attract new clients.

Perhaps even more important than honing your writing abilities is choosing a strong topic for your first book. After all, your first book will make a lasting impression on your readers.

A quality topic will pique their interest and show off your know-how in a way that leaves them eager to read more from you in the future. Because of this, choosing a strong topic could ultimately be the most important step in ensuring a successful writing journey.

1. Start with your area of expertise

There's a cliche that says, "Write what you know," and when it comes to business-related books, this is a hard and fast rule you should always follow. You can't write a book and position yourself as an expert on a topic when you only have novice-level knowledge.

However, your areas of expertise could be broader than you might think. As an entrepreneur, you will naturally be an expert in your business's niche. But chances are, you also have a lot of insights on subjects like using your time effectively, managing your finances or personal development.

You may also have hobbies or interests outside of your work life that could serve as a great topic for a book. It could be helpful to make a list of subjects where you have significant knowledge and experience as a starting point for choosing a topic.

Related: 7 Steps to Becoming an Expert In Your Field

2. Consider the needs of your audience

As nice as it would be to simply write whatever you feel like, you must also consider the needs of your readers. By understanding some of the basic pain points related to your areas of expertise, you can narrow your focus to provide greater value.

As bestselling author and life coach Michelle Prince recommends, "Start by jotting down who your ideal reader is. Why should they read your book and what will they gain? You might decide your book will be for hiring managers who need help recruiting. By reading your book, hiring managers will gain valuable information such as where to find qualified candidates, which interview questions yield more thorough answers and body language signs to watch for."

As this example illustrates, considering the needs of your readers can help you expand upon your original idea, making it easier to develop a detailed outline that will flesh out your writing and provide lasting value.

3. Draw from real-life stories

For businesses, case studies and reviews are a powerful source of social proof. In fact, 91% of online shoppers read at least one review before making a purchase.

When writing a nonfiction book, real-life stories and experiences can serve as case studies that prove the point you're trying to make. These could be events from your own life or incidents you've observed or heard about involving others. (Just make sure to get their permission or change names for these.)

Real-life stories make your arguments more persuasive because they prove that you have a valid point — that the things you're encouraging your readers to do can and will make a difference. They also make your book more engaging, presenting relatable and interesting "characters" that readers can root for and sympathize with.

One sign that you've picked a strong topic is that you don't have any trouble coming up with real-life stories to illustrate your point. If you can't think of any specific examples that you could share, you might be better off switching to a different topic.

4. Use influential moments to find a unique angle

Motivational speaker and author Brian Tracy advises aspiring writers to use "influential moments" to share impactful life experiences that taught them important lessons related to their topic. Tracy's travels across the Sahara Desert served as the inspiration for one book, providing an apt metaphor for navigating the journey to success in any area.

Once you've settled on a topic, take a step back and think about the influential moments you've experienced in your own life. These don't have to be directly related to the topic of your book. Like Tracy, they could provide a metaphor that helps illustrate your main talking points or present them in a unique way.

By drawing from these experiences, you can make your writing more accessible and interesting to your readers. A strong metaphor will further strengthen your writing and showcase your expert-level knowledge.

Related: How to Sell Anything to Anyone By Telling Great Stories

The success of your book will largely depend on the topic you choose to write about. By focusing on topics in which you can draw from your expertise to provide unique insights and stories, you will be better able to provide the content your readers are looking for.

The writing itself will come easier, and the book will be far more successful. Take the time to think through your potential topics so you can write with confidence.

Josh Steimle

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Speaker, writer and entrepreneur

Josh Steimle is the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of "60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery" and the host of "The Published Author Podcast," which teaches entrepreneurs how to write books they can leverage to grow their businesses.

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