March 17

How do I pick between several great book ideas?


You think you’re ready to write a book, but you have two, three, or four different ideas, all swimming in your head. How do you pick the best book idea? The right one? It feels like you’re determining the rest of your life!

First, a little reassurance.

Picking one book idea to write over another is not going to completely alter the course of your life. You can write one book and then a year later, write another. Neither will completely pigeon-hole you, unless you want to be pigeon-hole yourself into a particular niche. Don’t put too much weight on this one decision.

Second, a plan of action.

(You know I love a good plan of action.)

Step one: Free writing each book idea.

Write out each of your potential book topics in a sentence or so. Put each sentence on either a different piece of paper or a different document. Find a timer. (The one on your phone works great or a regular kitchen timer.) Set the timer for 10 minutes. Position yourself to write on the first topic.

When that timer starts, you start writing as fast as you physically can. Write to yourself about why this book topic is important to you, how it could help readers, how it could transform the world, why the idea keeps nagging at you. Just write run-on sentences about the book topic, allowing your mind to go wherever it wants.

There are no limits, here. If you want to write about how this book could up-end modern healthcare, do it. If you want to write about how this book could revolutionize education world-wide, you have my blessing. Think big, dream, feel expansive.

When the timer rings, stop. Put the pen down or pull your hands from the keyboard. Don’t look back over what you’ve written, but do a quick emotional check-in. How do you feel? Do you feel tight, constricted, and weighted down? Or do you feel loose, expansive, and light? Or something else?

Write down your emotional feeling on that same paper or document.

Take a break. Repeat this process for the remaining book topics that you’re considering.

Why is this important? Tweet: Your emotional energy behind a book idea is a huge factor in whether or not you’ll actually finish writing your book.

If you begin with a sense of dread, you’ll have to drag yourself through 12+ months of writing, and most of it will be painful. But, if you begin with a sense of lightness, the writing process will generally go easier, faster, and with more joy. It won’t be an easy road, but it’ll be a more enjoyable one.

Step two: Consider the bigger picture.

Emotion is key behind selecting a book idea, but so is strategy. What does your current business or platform look like?

Do you have a website or blog? Who are your readers now? Who are the people your work currently speaks to?

Think very carefully about whether this current platform is the road you want to continue down for the next three to five years. If you’re ready for a shift in career, business, or platform, then do not write a book that would keep you in this same career, business, or platform, even if writing and selling the book would be easier because of your existing platform.

A book is an opportunity to pivot. When you write and publish a book, you’re creating the possibility for a new life, a new path. Doors will open for you in ways you can’t possibly anticipate now.

If you’ve got a bigger dream for a more fulfilling business, life, and platform, then choose the book idea that will help you get there in the next three to five years.

And I would bet money that the book topic that leaves you feeling light and the book topic that would position you for a pivot in your platform is the same book topic.

Are you considering multiple book topics? What are you thinking of writing about and why? Leave a comment below!


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