Something I believe is that all writers have nonfiction book ideas in them. And maybe you don’t want to write nonfiction or think it’s not for you—that’s totally fine.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have ideas in you that you could write, if you wanted to.
In the digital age, I believe it’s important for authors to diversify and not just try to make a living from just one thing. I mean, sure, you could if you really wanted to, but why would you want to?
You’re multi-passionate. You have lots of ideas and things you could be doing to make money from your writing, which would get you to that “make a living from my writing” goal a whole lot faster.
Trying to do it from just one thing, like writing novels, really limits you. It limits your reach, your audience and your potential to share your gifts and change people’s lives.
I believe that even fiction writers have nonfiction books in them. They just have to learn how to pull them out.
Now maybe you’ll decide that you do only want to make your living as a writer from one thing. That’s fine too. Whatever you want and see for your writing life is what you should be doing.
But for those multi-passionate writers who like the idea of diversifying and not having to choose just one thing… here are 3 ways you can come up with nonfiction book ideas:
You’re an expert in something. Most likely several things. We all are. It’s just that we’re so good at certain stuff we don’t think about it as something that’s actually valuable.
For example, people tell me all the time that I’m motivational. When it first started happening (way back when I was a kid), I’d brush it off. But people kept saying it. And eventually I realized—I’m an expert in motivating people.
But I never would’ve figured that out if people hadn’t been saying it to me my whole life.
You have something similar going on. There are things that you’re really, really good at. Maybe it’s a hobby you’ve had your whole life. Maybe it’s a natural talent you were born with (like writing). Maybe it’s something you’re not even aware of.
But these expertise that you have could make a great nonfiction book.
Do these exercises to pull ideas out…
> Grab your notebook and make a list of all the things you’re really good at or are an expert at (hobbies, talents, experiences you’ve had, etc).
> Ask your friends and family—what am I really good at? They’ll likely have additional answers for you to add to the list; at the very least they’ll say stuff you already have on there which will just confirm it.
2. Transformations You’ve Made
You’ve had life experiences and have overcome stuff and made transformations in your life. And that is fodder for writing a nonfiction book.
Self-help books are flying off the shelves (virtually and in book stores) because people have an innate need to learn and grow and become better. We’re always looking to improve ourselves or get better at something or learn how to do something.
So you can turn the transformations you’ve made into nonfiction books.
For example, I used to be the BIGGEST procrastinating writer in the world. It’s true. My first blog was called Procrastinating Writers for that reason. But I overcame that. I made a massive transformation and now I push everything else off and out of the way to make daily space for doing my writing. It’s now a non-negotiable for me.
That’s a big transformation—and one that a lot of writers would like to make themselves. Perfect topic for a nonfiction book (and I’ve written several).
> Grab your notebook and brainstorm on the transformations you’ve made in your life—what results did you want that you didn’t have and how did you finally get there and achieve those results? what have you overcome and come out stronger on the other side? Write it all down.
3. A Unique Angle—On A Topic Or On A Book That’s Already Out There
One of the easiest ways to find nonfiction book ideas is to come up with a unique angle on a topic—or even another book—that’s already out there. If it’s already out there, that means there’s a demand for it.
For example, if you’re an expert in how to create your own recipes, you could go out there and look for books that relate to this topic… and maybe you’d find a bunch of books that help people write recipes for personal use. But maybe no one’s done a book on how to write recipes for a cookbook. Or how to write recipes for commercial use. Or how to write recipes when you’re a caterer.
That could be your unique angle that you use to write a nonfiction book.
Another example… like a decade+ ago a book came out called, He’s Just Not That Into You. It was all the rage with women who were so happy to finally have a better understanding of men and how they think and why they behave like they do.
Soon after another book came out… Be Honest—You’re Not That Into Him Either. This book was a riff on the other book and was written to help women raise their standards and stop dating or going after men who are like the men described in the other book.
Is there a book out there that you could write a riff on?
> Grab your notebook and make a list of topics you could write a nonfiction book about—then think about different angles you could take on that same topic. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can.
> Go to the bookstore (or on Amazon, but the bookstore is a fun excuse to grab a coffee and wander through the stacks) and look at what books are selling right now—could you write a riff off of one of those books and add another perspective to the discussion. Grab your notebook and brainstorm book riff ideas that you could write.
I hope you can see now that you DO have nonfiction book ideas in you—you just have to know how to pull them out. Complete the exercises and if something sparks your interest and pulls at you to write it… DO IT!
Share With Us
What’s one nonfiction eBook that you could write from all of the ideas you brainstormed? Share in the comments.