I’ve got a great idea for a book!
I hear that line a lot. After all, I’m a ghostwriter and a book writing coach. Most of the time when I hear it, I can almost see the visions of great riches dancing in the speaker’s head.
Let’s start with reality. Nonfiction books rarely make money on book sales. Savvy people write books because they know that a great book can help you make money in other ways. A great book can boost your reputation. It can give you support when you want to increase your fees. It can help you land the kind of clients you really want.
A great idea can lie at the heart of a great book. But a great idea isn’t enough. If you think you have a great idea, here’s what to do.
Find out who else has the same idea
The odds are good that someone else has the same idea you do. So, check around. Do some Google searches. Check out the books on Amazon. Talk to readers you know.
If you find other people with the same idea, don’t be discouraged. Your challenge will be to develop, present, and promote that idea so that it becomes what you’re known for.
Figure out how you’re unique
Why are you the perfect person to turn your idea into a book? Do you have unique experience or a unique perspective?
Determine who will buy and read your book
To make your book a success, you must persuade readers to plunk down good money for it. You must write a book that is so good, readers can’t help but tell their friends about it.
So, who will read your book? Why? How many people have the same reason? Do they buy books?
How can you make money from those same people because of your book? Think about products, training, coaching, consulting, subscriptions, and more.
Test the waters
I know it seems like a great idea, but you need to test that assumption. Prepare a simple elevator speech. I like the form
You know how (state the problem/opportunity)
Well, I (tell what you do)
So that (the benefit)
Start by talking to people you know. Talk to people like the ones you expect to read your book. Don’t pay too much attention to what they say. Many folks will tell you you’ve got a great idea just to avoid hurting your feelings. Pay attention to how they respond. If they get excited, that’s good. If they want to know more, like where to buy the book, that’s great!
Test your ideas with blog posts and articles. The comments and shares, or lack of them, send a message.
If everything looks good so far, it’s time to get to work on the book. I suggest you write a “zero draft.” Write your book straight through from start to finish. When you hit a gap or a rough spot, don’t stop. Make note of it and move on.
When you finish your zero draft, you’ll know two things. You’ll know what it will take to write a great book. And you’ll know if it’s worth the effort.
Your great idea probably isn’t unique.
Find out who else has a similar idea.
Why are you the perfect person to turn your idea into a book?
Is there a market for a book based on your great idea?
Test the waters.
Write a zero draft.