10 ideas for a successful non-fiction book
Some of the best book ideas are very simple. Starting with a proven format will make the writing process much less overwhelming. Let’s dive into the 10 most successful non-fiction book ideas to get you inspired.
1. The memoir or biography
Most of us love hearing other people’s stories, if they’re compelling and well-told. That’s why memoirs and autobiographies often show up on bestseller lists, like Richard Brandson or Nelson Mandela’s books. Consider telling your own or a family member’s life story or sharing lessons from your life. Esther’s first book What is your excuse? is her autobiography, which is the basis for her other work.
Write your book in times of Corona
2. The how-to Book
How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie is one of the famous examples. Some authors are concerned: “Will people still buy from me if I give away all this information?” Yes, and here’s why: Dan Kennedy is a well-known copywriter who gets paid tens of thousands of dollars to write a sales letter. But he still wrote a book called The Ultimate Sales Letter. By revealing how difficult it is to write strong sales letters and how much work goes into it, Dan’s book has brought him many new paying clients. When you give readers good solid information but don’t tell them everything you know, they will want to contact you to find out more. Plus this establishes your expert status in a field.
3. The mistakes book
People are always interested in learning about mistakes they can avoid, so this is a popular format. Examples are books about diet mistakes, parenting mistakes and: New Sales Speak: The 9 Biggest Sales Presentation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them by Terri Sjodin.
4. The book of interviews
This format allows you to create a book without providing the content yourself. You pick a topic and interview (famous?) people on this topic. J.M. Trippon is a CPA who followed this model when he wrote How millionaires stay rich forever. His book became a great networking tool that enabled him to connect with millionaires and interview them. The people in your book might also help with the promotion, once their story is published.
5. The question and answer book
Do people ask you questions when they hear about your area of expertise? Which questions are you asked most often? Maybe they could become the basis for a book. Imagine having a book titled Answers to your most common questions: (about your topic), and see what comes to mind. We found books answering questions about religion, diet, health and certain specific diseases.
6. The __ ways to do something book
You might have heard of the bestselling book 50 simple things you can do to save the earth. This is a format that many authors have successfully imitated. You can use any number—7, 10 and 101 are other numbers that are frequently used. Other examples are 100 ways to use your android device and 10 ways to focus on what matters most.
7. The how to hire someone book
Two books that use this format effectively are How to hire a nanny and Before you hire a contractor. This a great way to showcase your expertise and gain new clients by sharing information you’ve learned in your line of business.
8. The joke or quotation book
People don’t think lawyers are funny, but two attorneys disproved that when they compiled The lawyer’s joke book. The media love topics that are funny and entertaining. This joke book opened many doors for the authors and led to dozens of media interviews. This format can be applied to (almost) any profession or theme and these books make great presents or give-aways to/for people in this profession.
9. The collection of stories
One of the bestsellers is Chicken soup for the soul. This format is easy to follow. You request other people’s stories (a contest?) on a particular topic and choose the best ones to reprint (once you get their permission). Sales trainer Dan Seidman wrote another book I really enjoyed. In Sales autopsy he told and analyzed 50 funny stories about sales people who have really screwed up a sale.
10. The collection of your previous stories
Have you been doing a blog or writing articles? Do you publish a newsletter or an e-zine? These could provide lots of great material for a book. Just compile them in a logical order, write a back cover and an introduction and you are good to go.