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.

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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.

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Writing your book is easier than you think!

Are you serious about writing your book? I am the author and co-author of more than 25 books and I have helped more than 400 CEO’s and entrepreneurs to write and publish their books. Writing and (self)publishing your book is easier than you think, with my 7 step ‘Reverse Writing’ method. Here are some options to get you on track with your writing and publishing:

Online workshops – Get inspired by the theme of the week, receive practical tips and get your questions answered. Check out all of the the themes and dates of the “From idea to book” workshops.

Reverse Writing? – Avoid the mistake most writers make: start at the end of your book, not at the beginning. It sounds counter-intuitive, but it really works. Find out more about ‘Reverse Writing’.

Free resources – Find inspiration and tips in my blogs. Sign up for my ‘interested in writing’ list to receive “10 ideas for a successful non-fiction book” as well as more tips and inspiration.

Read the book – Learn the 7 step approach, with lots of tips and examples, in my (recently updated) guide ‘Write your book in 1 week’

eCourse – Learn the 7 step approach in my eCourse ‘How to write a book in 1 week’. It builds on the concepts in the book and is presented in with lots of examples and exercises on writing, promotion and self-publishing of your book on Amazon.

Writing retreats – Spend one week in an exotic environment with other writers. Attend a different workshop every day to help you progress with your book. Get personal guidance and feedback. Join one of my writing retreats this year in  Curaçao, Mallorca and Thailand

1 on 1 support– Maybe you’d prefer a 1 on 1 RESULTant session or even private writing coaching to have my undivided attention and full support in writing your book?

FROM IDEA TO BOOK IN 6 MONTHS – If you are really serious about writing and publishing your book, I can recommend my Writers Mastermind: I will personally help you with every step, so your book can be ready 6 months from now!

Results – My method really works: check out the books my clients have already published. Check out their lessons learned and their testimonials on YouTube.

5 tips  – Check out my 5 most important tips for writing your book in this video:

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