You want to write a Kindle ebook, but where does one get viable ideas? This step-by-step guide will help you generate ideas with the potential to produce best sellers.
Step 1. Study the Amazon Best Seller’s List
What’s hot and trending on Amazon right now? The advantage of creating offerings for these niches and genres lies obviously in the fact they’re “hot” – but so do the disadvantages. Your competition is extremely high, but it’s not impossible to succeed.
Study both Amazon’s general best sellers in the Book category, and also in the Kindle Book category . If there’s a best selling topic in any hot category that isn’t well-represented in the Kindle selection, consider filling that gap.
Select non-fiction from the left-hand drop-down menu before you begin browsing, if you want to write a non-fiction book. Remember the first books shown will be new and not necessarily the hottest sellers (though they may be selected by hottest author).
Step 2. Read Amazon Reviews
When you find books you’d like to compete with, take the time to read several reviews for each book that is your potential competitor.
The reviews will often give you clues you can mine for book topic ideas, such as:
- Topics or solutions the reviewers felt was missing
- The reviewers’ favorite sections (you can often spin a section into a book)
- Areas the reviewers felt were not completely covered
- Suggestions about areas the reviewers felt the author missed
Complaints are golden, when it comes to book ideas from reviews. For example, here is exactly what one reviewer said of the book featured in our illustration:
- “People …are complaining about the cost of the recipes… Well, that’s not *always* GP’s fault (although, if she gave recipes for freakin’ popcorn, she could have taken the time to detail a few “on a budget” meals…)”.
So, for example, you could use this as a topic idea, giving your recipe book on vegetarian “clean” eating a new twist by creating “The Low Budget Vegetarian” (or “Eating Clean on a Budget”; or some such title).
You would be catering for that group the above reviewer mentioned – those on low budgets who wish to eat healthily, but can’t afford specialty ingredients.
Step 3. Find the Right Category
If you’re still confused about what to write, take advantage of the easiest way to find the right specific sub-category to explore:
- Choose a few books that most closely match the type of book you want to create.
- Open each book’s page by clicking on the title.
- Scroll down off the screen until you find a section called “Product Details”.
- Your best choices will be the narrowest categories at the end.
And occasionally, you may find a relatively un-mined category that you can dominate.
(Be sure to place your book in as many other related categories as you possibly can, however.)
Step 4. Search with Keywords
Yes, keyword search is alive and well – and it can help you brainstorm ideas by narrowing down your topic choices.
We’ve put it as Step 4 because Wordtracker’s Keyword Questions tool only allows a limited number of searches for free, and your keyword search will be much more successful if you have a strong idea of the area you’d like to write about.
There’s a results restriction on the Google AdWords Keytool too, if you’re not running any AdSense campaigns. To make the most of this keyword research tool, log in and select exact match. Avoid “broad” match: It will serve up too many generic or unrelated keywords, and that’s a waste of search power.
Step 5. Run Polls and Surveys
Once you’ve narrowed down your ideas, test them by running polls and surveys on social media and in relevant niche forums, if allowed.
Don’t ask your friends and niche peers if they would “be interested in a book on” your niche topic: Many people will say “yes” for a variety of reasons – anything from wanting to look like a “nice guy” to thinking of an entirely different type of book when you give them the topic or title – but when it comes time to purchase, they don’t follow through on this promise.
Instead, give them a short selection of multiple choice questions. For example:
But take your survey one step further: Add a text field so that they can make other suggestions. That way, you might find out that the majority actually want “low cost low carb”.
(Use survey or poll apps for social media, or try Survey Monkey to create the sort of survey described above.
Upgrade to a paid account to capture emails for your list.)
Step 6. Get Your Ideas from Other Media
Don’t neglect television, newspapers and magazines as possible sources of ebook ideas. What are popular documentary subjects? Who is writing in to TV station sites about them? What sort of comments are they making or questions are they asking?
Magazines can give you clues just by the headlines featured on the front page. With magazines, search online by all means – but don’t neglect your local supermarket or super-bookstore magazine racks.
Step 7. Search Best Seller Lists Elsewhere on the Net
Still haven’t come up with the perfect book idea? More interested in fiction than non-fiction?
Reading through “Best Seller” lists in review sites rather than book catalogues like Amazon, you are often exposed to tantalizing clues about top authors, their habits, their inspirations and their thought processes. You will also often see their plot lines, summarized in the briefest of sentences.
It’s amazing how often reading through “Best Seller” lists and summaries can trigger new, fresh ideas. For the right authors, quality books beget quality ideas.
One of the best lists belongs to The Christian Science Monitor: Not only does this publication include lists such as: “The 15 Highest Paid Authors of 2012”, it also aggregates a strong variety of other lists and relevant publications.
Of course, you may not need to go through all these steps if you take our last piece of topic-generating advice…
Step 8. Keep a Notebook Handy
You’ve likely heard this tip before, but it can’t be over-emphasized: Keep a notebook on you or available at all times. The best ideas are often ones we have while jogging, trying to fall asleep, dressing the kids for school or while we’re heavily involved cooking a six-course meal for company that is arriving in less than two hours.
And don’t just carry one notebook and pencil stub – place several in strategic places:
- In every purse
- In jacket pockets
- In the car glove compartment
- By your computer
- On the couch end table
- In the bathroom
Keep them in their assigned locations until they are completely full. Then store them. (Use pencil stubs because they are far less likely to be “borrowed” than pens or fine liners.)
Once a week, go through all the notebooks and see if any particular idea strikes you. When they are completely full, store them in one location, so you always know where to turn if you are looking for inspiration.
Above all, create a system for brainstorming your Kindle ebook ideas. Follow these same steps every time you need to come up with a new ebook topic, stopping at any time during the process when something goes “click” and you know you’ve got your winning topic.
Get into the habit of brainstorming methodically and you’ll get into the habit of creating best sellers of your own.