Is your book idea a good one? How to know if it will be hit or miss

Wondering if your book idea is a good one? It’s a common question from authors I work with because, as creators, we want to get it right, don’t we? It’s only natural.

In this blog post, you’ll not only discover how to feel confident in your book idea, but you’ll also find a checklist to give it the best chance of success.

Why do we worry about our book idea?

Often, when authors first contact me, they’re seeking clarity. Almost all of them tell me they have an idea for a book, but they’re just not sure if it’s a good one. They’ve been thinking about it for a while and would like to write it, but that uncertainty is holding them back. 

Maybe you’ve felt that too?

It’s common, so please don’t feel alone in your thoughts and worries. After all, you’ve built a successful business, so your reputation is at stake. A book could raise your profile even more, so you want to get it right. And I respect you for that. 

There’s often a fear of judgement buried in amongst those feelings too. Having the courage to write something, to share our message, is daunting. What if people think it’s shit? What if they leave awful reviews? What if it’s a total flop? 

What if, what if, what if…?

Now I know you’ve been here before. You’ve launched services and products. Maybe you’ve established a podcast or a series of blogs. You know what it’s like to be vulnerable and to question if you’re good enough – which, by the way, you are. 

Writing a book is no different. You know it’s going to be hard work, but you’re not one to shy away from that. But without feeling certain the idea will work, it can make the writing process very unappealing. Perhaps you’ve even started a few times already, but that nagging feeling about your overall book idea keeps stopping you from making progress. 

Ultimately, we worry about our book idea because we care. We want it to be a true reflection of our message and our expertise. But, underneath all that, we just want people to like it. To think we did a good job. And we want to feel proud of what we’ve created. 

So if you’re at that point, like many aspiring nonfiction writers, how can you be sure your idea is good? Here are some ideas to help you. 

Is there a way to guarantee success?

Now before you get stuck into the checklist, let me clarify something. There’s no surefire way of knowing if a book will be a success. If there were, I’d be sitting in my beachfront house in Malibu, sipping cocktails at lunch. There are so many factors at play. 

But there are things you can do to set yourself on the right path to success. It all starts with your book idea or concept. It’s why nonfiction publishers buy a concept rather than a completed manuscript. They want to know if the idea will resonate with an audience before they commission you to write it. 

So when you think about your book idea, here are some questions to answer to see whether it’s got potential. 

Your book idea checklist

  • Is this idea a common problem/aspiration for your audience? Maybe it’s something you’ve noticed coming up time and time again in your membership group or during coaching calls.

  • Have you got experience speaking about this topic? Is it in demand from people? Perhaps you’ve been invited to speak about it on podcasts, or delivered masterclasses. You might have already done a talk at your local networking group.

  • Are there other books within this niche? You might worry you’ve got too much competition. This is rarely true. The more books published in a niche means it’s popular and people want to read about it. Your angle or strategy may be one people haven’t encountered before. Think about competition like coffee shops. How many coffee shops are on your local high street? Precisely. Sometimes they’re even next door to each other and still do a good trade. 

  • Is it a topic you’re passionate about? Writing a book is hard work. I will never shy away from saying that. You have to love your topic to write a book about it. Never write a book because you feel you should. You’ll hate every second.

  • Have you already got lots of content around this topic – blog posts, podcast episodes, social media posts? Have people enjoyed/downloaded them? If your topic is popular in these formats, you’ll know it will also be popular in book format. 

  • When you think about writing your book, do you get excited? Do you get a little burst of adrenaline when you picture it in your hands? Can you picture the people who would buy it? Knowing your audience well is crucial at this stage – is it something they would enjoy/get a lot from?

  • Ask! If you’ve got a book idea, ask your audience what they think. There’s nothing better than market research for this kind of thing. Only then will you know if it’s what they want – and if not, how could you tweak the idea to resonate with them?

And one more thing

Sometimes people say, “Everyone tells me I should write a book!” And while that’s complimentary for sure, a word of caution here. If these people are your ideal readers, great. If they’re your nan and her friend Betty, maybe not. 

Demand from your audience is a good sign, but don’t feel obligated to write just because people tell you to. As mentioned above, you won’t enjoy the process at all – and will start to feel resentful. 

So there you have it — a checklist to help you with your book idea. Every author I’ve worked with has been where you are now. Feeling uncertain and unsure. But I can categorically say all their ideas have been brilliant, and, as a result, they’ve produced brilliant books. Answering these questions will enable you to do the same. 

Because I know your book idea is a good one. 

Now go for it! 

If you’ve used the checklist but would still like to talk through your idea to get total clarity, contact me today and let’s see how I can help you.

Previous Post
Email marketing for authors – it doesn’t have to be overwhelming!
Next Post
What is a manuscript appraisal for a nonfiction book and why is it important?