How To Come Up With A Great Book Idea [12 Proven Ways]

Before you even begin writing, you need to figure out what you are going to write. So in this post, I will show you how to come up with a great book idea.

This is the most common problem my students face when I mentor them to publish their books. They always come up with the excuse that they don’t have any inspiration or ideas to write a book.

But when they go through the process, which I am about to show you, they immediately come up with so many book ideas that they become overwhelmed with it.

I know what it feels like to feel uninspired and stuck when ideas just won’t come.

And this post is all about solving your problem:

  • Where do ideas come from?
  • How do you know that this idea will make you any money?
  • How can you take your existing ideas and turn them into a fantastic novel?

Well, this all might sound like big questions, but it is not.

The ideas will come right from your mind, and they are going to work for you because the ideas come from you and you only.

You already have an idea right now in your head, and you may have some bits and pieces, that’s why you are searching for this post in the first place.

All I am going to do is help you find them. 

Let’s Start Hunting Down Some Great Book Ideas.

Tools You Will Need

You need to write down any ideas which you come across during our steps mentioned below, and for that, you will need a Pen & Paper or Marker and Whiteboard, whichever you prefer. 

I use pen and paper to dump my ideas in random order.

Here’s is all the writing tools that you can use later on.

The First Step is to “Brainstorm.”

You should begin by making lists of your hobbies, experiences, skills, and your areas of interest. Brainstorming technique yields the most significant results and positions you to make the best choices.

I know you have one or two ideas on what you want to write about, but don’t limit yourself to just those ideas only. Because by doing brainstorming, you will discover a bunch of new book ideas which you might not have considered earlier.

I always recommend this technique to all my students, and they all come up with a lot of different ideas.

When you are brainstorming, you need to use a pen and paper, writing by hand.

You need to set aside one whole day to Brainstorm and write down those book ideas.

Remember you don’t have to overthink it. Just keep on writing whatever ideas come to mind. Just keep on writing, write anything and everything.

Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or anything. And don’t judge. Just keep the pen moving. Your idea can be a single word or phrase. Just jot it down. Don’t hold them back in your head. Just dump it out on paper.

How to Come Up With Great Book Ideas

If you are still not sure of what ideas you need to be brainstorming about, then you may consider these things. These can help you gain insight into your own life, and these things can be an excellent source to find fantastic book ideas. 

Things you could brainstorm to find great book ideas are:

1. Your Hobby

Everyone has a hobby or interest which they prefer to follow or do during some free time. Sometimes they may even master that hobby or even learn something new, or it may involve a story idea which they’ve always wanted to share. 

These things can be a great way to find a book idea. You can write something similar, which involves your hobby or a story which involves your hobby.

This can be a skill that you can teach, share some exciting stories around the same, or you can combine both of them, and create something unique around your hobby.

2. Skill and Expertise

This is precisely what I am doing here. Through much trial and error, I learned the book publishing process and the process which can generate results. And through this and many other books, I am teaching you the same.

That’s how you can make your skills and expertise work to generate a book idea for you. If you have experience in something or some field, then you can write your book around that experience and can share those with your readers. 

Remember, people buy books to learn or experience something which they can somewhat relate to. And no story is common. And even if they do, it is the writer who can present the same story differently with different outcomes.

Even if you have some skill which can teach your readers how to go from point A to point B, just write those in your book. Your book is meant to transform someone’s life.

3. Things you daydream about

There may be a lot of things which you usually dream about, and that daydream can be a great idea to write a book about.

Daydreaming, I think, is a prerequisite as a writer.

You know a writer spends a lot of time with their head in the clouds. And as a fiction writer, I also spend a lot of time just thinking about the world I am creating. I kind of love that I get to consider it part of my job.

Whether I’m driving, showering, doing dishes, or doing anything else, I find my mind wandering, and some aspects of the story will reveal itself to me.

Anyway, when an idea comes to me, I’ll jot a note on my phone, so I can tackle the idea when I sit down to write. Sometimes, it’s a significant story revelation, sometimes just a sliver of a line. A color. A glance. An offbeat expression.

The story idea maybe a few paragraphs, or a single word that you can later modify or build a complete story around.

And even when you start your book with any idea, you should continue to daydream as it can open new possibilities, and even you get much more content or story layout for your book.

4. Reinvent something from the book you read

You can take a small or some scenes from one of your favourite books and consider it as the opening scene of your novel.

Take the main story, consider changing its characters, change the course (storyline), and your unique elements, which you may have thought. 

This happens to many of us, and we think that the novel or the story should have ended differently, or there should be another part to the story or something like that. 

You can use these types of ideas to create your own story the way you always wanted. This step works both for fiction and nonfiction book ideas.

Remember, you can curate a book by just visiting the top books in your category and seeing what are the things they lack and what are the things you can add to enhance the overall book quality, which will be beneficial for your readers.

Just visit Amazon and search for the book under your preferred category. Click on Look inside, and you can see the table of contents for most of the books. Just look for 5-6 books under the same category and analyze them.

You will find some topics always missing, which might be critical and should be available.

Now what you can do is add those missing topics in your list and can create a more advanced book by adding those topics, or you can create a full book under one of the topics which some of the books don’t cover at all. 

This process works well for nonfiction books too. But you got the idea. Right!

5. Use Your Junk Emails as Inspiration

Wait. What!!!

I know this sounds funny but believe me, it is an excellent way to find new ideas as well as a book title. Don’t believe me. Let me show you how.

Take a look at your spam mail folder and check out some of the mails. We all get this type of mail all of the time from credit card companies or some gambling sites.

And the most common type of spam email most of us get is “Millionaire by twenty – claim your $10000000 now”.

Some of the emails have eye-catching titles, and many stories can be written around it.

Let me give you an example: For the same title, “Millionaire by twenty – claim your $10000000 now”, you can write a story about how a simple boy from India falls into this scam and how he moved to a different city to claim the same amount on the request of the scammer. The boy then finds himself surrounded by some of the known criminals who forced him to do some nasty kinds of stuff. And so on.

Now you see what I am trying to say here.

Similarly, you can write about these scams and how people fall for them and how they can be protected in your non-fiction book.

You can use these types of emails to either get book ideas or use it as your book title. These spam emails can serve both purposes.

See, this example can be used for both fiction as well as a nonfiction book.

6. Write about some Legend you heard somewhere

Many of the book ideas come from storytelling that transcends multiple generations.

The screenplay for The Little Mermaid was based on a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. If a great story has endured to the present era, there’s a good chance its themes will resonate with today’s audiences just as well as they did with past generations.

7. Get Ideas from Myths and Supernatural Events

Find a myth or folktale you want to adapt in your own style. Some myths have such strong roots that many people still believe it to be true. So if you have heard some tales or folktales recently, you can use these to get ideas for your new book.

Apart from the myth, you can also get ideas from some supernatural events which you may have heard from someone.

8. Find Inspiration Through Research

Even if you have some idea of what you should be writing about, you should check and do research about others who have written about the same or similar topics.

For example, if you love to write about cooking, then you must visit some of the cooking events or shows to understand the real deal before you even start writing.

You know Food writer Michael Ruhlman attended the Culinary Institute of America so that he could write The Making of a Chef. “

9. Write about something that makes you laugh

You should know that sometimes laughter is a sign of a truly remarkable story, and it’s usually highly contagious. 

Of course, you might be embarrassed about what makes you laugh most, and it may not be politically correct. However, the more outlandish or embarrassing the story, the more likely you are to attract an engaged audience for your book idea.

10. Write about something which Annoys you

You know I can write endlessly about book publishing and especially about self-publishing because I want to help writers publish their book and avoid the most painful mistakes I’ve made myself.

It annoys me to see so many excellent writers struggling to make a living for themselves through their writing.

Similarly, you can take such a topic and write about it without any creative restraints whatsoever.

11. Identify a Problem

You should identify any significant or even minor problems that are often neglected, or there is no particular solution to that problem.

These problems can be solved through your book through new solutions.

Suppose you’ve tested these solutions yourself, even better!

This will be particularly useful if you can come up with practical and cost-effective solutions to the challenges other businesses in your space are facing and will help you position yourself as an expert, one of the primary reasons people decide to write a book in the first place.

The entire field of self-help literature does just this.

See, for instance, Dale Carnegie’s best-seller How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which adapted to principles of psychology to help readers master social situations.

Similarly, you can also write something like what I did with my book, “How to write a book in 60 days”.

12. Learn and understand the Market

Just look into what books have been a best-seller and what do these books have in common. You will find some similarities or something like fiction is more popular than nonfiction.

Research can provide a great deal of inspiration, not just in terms of content, but in terms of form as well.

As you research, you’ll familiarize yourself, not only with what’s being said about a topic but also with how it’s being said.

For instance, you might discover several novels dealing with your topic. Rather than abandoning the topic altogether, you might ask yourself, “Has anyone written a book of poems about this?”

Step Two is “Freewrite”

Now when you are done with your brainstorming process, you should have lots of topics on the paper.

It is now time to examine the list you have made during your brainstorming session.

The primary objective here is to work on one idea at a time. In freewriting, there is only one rule which is you should write about one topic without stopping.

I am not saying that you should write a complete book now. You only have to write topics which you need to cover in that particular Idea. These can serve as your sub-topics under a specific core topic.

At this stage, the goal is to generate material as much material as possible. Think quantity over quality.

Give yourself a set amount of time per Idea and then move to the next Idea.

Repeat the process for all the Book Ideas and keep writing without stopping.

By the end of these exercises, you will have multiple book ideas with their topics and subtopics ready.

You can always add or remove some topics later if needed, which I will cover in the Outlining chapter.

Which Book Ideas to Choose First?

Many writers struggle to find one book idea, whereas, after the above exercise, you will be flooded with ideas.

Especially when you are just starting your journey to become an author, it sometimes can be challenging to choose which book to write first.

So, here the decision needs to be made by you. You can’t, and you shouldn’t write more than one book at a time.

How do I decide then which book to write first?

Here’s is one of the templates that I find useful when I get too many ideas at once.

  1. Which is the topic you can cover in 30-days?
  2. Which is the idea you are most passionate about and where the words can flow naturally?
  3. Is the idea making you happy?

Go through these questions and see which book idea fits all. The idea that checks all the boxes is the first book you should start to write. Now you have a bunch of great book ideas that you can use for your next book, and subsequent books, and so on.

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