How to Choose the Right Topic to Write About: The Secret Formula!

choose the right topic to write aboutMany people I talk to say they want to write a book – but they don’t know WHAT they want to write a book about! They have a burning desire to be an author but they just can’t work out what it is they want to write. But you know, it’s really not that complicated to choose the right topic to write about.

In fact, there’s a pretty simple formula for choosing a topic to write about, and it’s this:

Something you have an interest in

+

Something you have some knowledge in

+

Something other people will be interested in

Interest
Writing a book is a challenging process that can take weeks, months or even years to do – and you need to keep your motivation up to ensure you get the job done. It’s pretty obvious really, but if you choose a topic that you have absolutely no interest in at all, then you’re not going to find the writing process enjoyable and you’re not going to be motivated to even start that book, never mind finish it! The more interested you are in your topic, the more exciting you’ll find writing about it – so look for an area you are really passionate about, because that is likely to be the right topic to write about.

Knowledge
“Write about what you know” is an oft-heard remark but really it’s true, to an extent. The easiest topic to write about is the one you already know something about. Whether that’s an area of your work, a favourite hobby, a famous or historic personality you’re obsessed with or a life experience you’ve been through, writing about what you know is a good place to start. You are unlikely to know everything about your topic, and you’ll certainly need to do some research along the way, but when you have a good basic knowledge it’s a lot easier to get started and keep the momentum going. Of course if you wanted to you could choose a topic you have no knowledge about at all and make it a research project, but that will be an added challenge and you may find you either get fed up of doing the research, or you spend so long researching that you don’t have time to write, or once you’ve researched the topic you’re just not interested in it any more!

Wider appeal
“But no one will want to read my book!” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard people say that. In fact, when I published my own book I was pretty convinced that only my mum would be interested in reading it! But really, if you find the topic interesting it’s a given that other people will too. There isn’t a single topic or hobby or subject in the world that only one person finds interesting …. at least I certainly can’t think of one. However niche your topic is, there will be an audience out there for it. In fact, sometimes the more niche topics are the ones that are more successful. After all, there are millions of books on marketing out there, so your basic guide to marketing is unlikely to make an impression. But what if you wrote a basic guide to marketing for car mechanics, or hairdressers, or authors promoting their first book? The audience will be smaller but there will be far less competition – and more chance that your book will make an impression! And when it comes to hobbies, people can be very dedicated and passionate – don’t forget all those railway enthusiasts/Moorcroft collectors/boy band fans who want to buy every single bit of merchandise they can!

So when you’re trying to find a topic to write about, remember the formula:

 

Something you have an interest in

+

Something you have some knowledge in

+

Something other people will be interested in

It’s that easy!

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2 comments to How to Choose the Right Topic to Write About: The Secret Formula!

  • I have an interest in several things that are not related. Should I create several blogs, or should I get into a broad niche?

    • If they really aren’t related then having a blog for each area would be the best idea … for example, if you wrote about fishing and baking and SEO then you’re unlikely to find readers who are interested in all three subjects – so having three separate bogs would be more likely to attract people interested in what you’re writing about.

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