• April 11, 2014
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Guest Blogger: How to Craft a Unique and Necessary Book Idea That Sells by Nina Amir

097How to Craft a Unique and Necessary Book Idea that Sells

Most aspiring authors believe their ideas are unique and readers absolutely need to read their books. Like these writers, you may feel convinced your book idea is new, fresh, timely, different, and essential.

It’s great to feel passionate, enthusiastic and confident when the proverbial light bulb goes off, but those feelings—and your conviction—simply aren’t enough reason to write and publish a book. You must have facts that unequivocally prove your idea is unique and necessary in the marketplace. These facts must convince a literary agent, first, and an acquisitions editor, second, that your book is marketable. They also must convince you as an indie publisher that you have crafted a viable product—on with a chance of succeeding, which means selling.

The Author Training ManualCreate a Marketable Book

If you want to write a commercially marketable book that stands out in its category—the shelf where you find it in a physical bookstore or where it is catalogued in a virtual bookstore, you must develop an idea that is unique and necessary. That means you not only need to provide a book with a high degree of value to readers in your target market, but you also need to write a nonfiction book that offers new information or a different angle on old information. It should “fill a hole” in that category, which means you have to write a book no one else has written yet and that is needed in that particular subject area.

How to Craft a Unique and Necessary Book Idea

One of the ways this is accomplished is by determining if the book is unique and necessary compared to competing books—other books like it that have previously been published. To accomplish this, you must conduct what is called a “competitive analysis” of books in the same category as your book. Then you evaluate how to make your book better than the competition.

To complete the analysis, first, determine your book’s category. Is it a business, body-mind-spirit, travel, reference, history, or craft book, for example? Second, use the internet, or go to your favorite local bookstore, and examine books you feel are direct competition to yours. These are books someone might buy instead of yours because the content is so similar.

When you have 5-10 bestselling books (preferably traditionally published) released in the last three years, study:

  • the table of contents
  • the foreword and who wrote it
  • the front cover
  • the back cover
  • the first chapter or two
  • the index
  • the author’s biography
  • number of pages
  • whether the book is available in paper back, ebook or both
  • category choice
  • publisher
  • price
  • year published

Next, take a look at your own idea and compare it to the top five competitive titles you have analyzed. Ask yourself:

  • How can I create a better book?
  • How can I create a book that better serves readers?
  • How have these authors underserved readers in such a way that opens up an opportunity for me?
  • How do these books fall short of readers’ expectations or needs?
  • How is my book the same as these (and how must I change my book to make it different)?

In other words, use these books to spark ideas that will help you hone your idea into the best possible book in the category or topic area.

Brief statements that describe the pros and cons of the competition should be included a book proposal, should you want to pursue traditional publishing. For a business plan for a self-published book, you can include all the detail you like. For more information on how to write a business plan for your book, click here.)

About the Author

Nina AmirNina Amir, author of the bestselling How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writers Digest Books) and The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively (Writers Digest Books), transforms writers into inspired, successful authors, authorpreneurs and blogpreneurs. Known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach, she moves her clients from ideas to finished books as well as to careers as authors by helping them combine their passion and purpose so they create products that positively and meaningfully impact the world. A sought-after author, book, blog-to-book, and results coach, some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She writes four blogs, including Write Nonfiction Now and How to Blog a Book, self-published 12 books and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.

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