Here is a big hint—>Observe what’s going on around you.
If you’re smart enough to read this article, you’re smart enough to look around you and determine what interests you and those around you. Think of what problems you’ve recently solved, and what kinds of problems others have had and solved. Any problem that has been solved in your world could easily be the subject of your next book. People love to read how other have solved a problem that they currently have.
So, brainstorm a list of problems in your life and in the lives of those around you. Your friend Bob lost his job? Your sister’s child had chicken pox? How did they cope or find solutions? While you’re at it, start another list of unsolved problems evident in your corner of the world. Write down problems you wish you had solved. Aha! These are subjects that people will really be interested in! How to lose the last ten pounds. The truth about UFOs. The straightest path to becoming a millionaire. From your personal corner, your step-granddaughter is pregnant at age 14? Your grocery bill is double what it used to be? Your roof leaks? These are problems waiting for ebook solutions!
These unsolved problems would also be great ebook topics. Remember, you don’t have to know the solution, just the topic. You’re going to get someone else to do the research and write the book for you. You will not actually be writing one word.
Spend a few minutes Googling
The Internet is a great way to find out what people are looking for at any given moment. You can search for almost anything. Googleâ„¢ is a popular search engine you can use, or you can try any of the others like Yahoo!Â® or Mamma.com. Type in phrases like “top concerns of Americans,” “best-selling nonfiction topics,” or “popular how-to manuals.” Common worries of 2009.
And while you’re on the Internet…
Find out the most popular nonfiction books from the New York Times bestseller list, Amazon, and a Google search for ebooks. Your findings will tell you exactly what book subjects people are buying right now.
Try this. Go to www.amazon.com. From the tabbed menu running along the top of the Amazon home page, click “Top Sellers.”
I did this one day in September 2007 and found a Harry Potter book, several other fiction books, and titles such as Natural cures “they” won’t tell you about, How what you wear can change your life, How to profit from the demise of the dollar, and The official SAT study guide. I’ve paraphrased to some degree, but you get the idea.
Here’s what I learned just from spending a few minutes on Amazon that day. People are reading good fiction from already-best selling authors (Da Vinci Code, the Harry Potter series, and others). Secondly, Amazon buyers, buying over the Internet, are interested in nonfiction topics such as improving their lives and making more money. For these books, just about any author will do, even virtual unknowns or people who went to prison for lying to the American public.
And that quick visit only confirmed that the straightest route to ebook profits is in the nonfiction ebook market. This is for a number of reasons. Fiction readers tend to like to curl up in a chair with an actual book. Some of them attend book clubs where the physical books are brought around someone’s kitchen table with wine and cheese. Fiction readers tend to purchase from authors they’re already familiar with. Fiction can be more difficult to write and deliver well. Also, many of the classics in fiction are available as free ebooks. A reader interested in fiction could just download those. So stick with nonfiction unless you’re feeling particularly bold and experimental.
Here is some more good news, and if you didn’t already know this then you are going to be smiling big. Drum roll please… ideas are not copyrighted, therefore any idea you see, hear, or read anywhere anytime, is yours to use for an ebook! You can create books around the same ideas that are covered in the Amazon best seller list, and turnaround and create an ebook on the exact same subject!
Now, copyright law does protect the way ideas are expressed, so you want to make sure your hired author does not plagiarize or copy book text outright.Â And you cannot use the title word for word either. But there’s nothing stopping you from creating another book or ebook that covers the same subject with a different voice. It’s all as completely legal and guilt-free as nonfat Haagen Dazs. This is why looking at bestseller lists is a great way to get topic ideas.
Digging a little deeper
There are groups of people who are willing to buy nonfiction ebooks: hobbyists. At any given time, these people are looking for ways to spend their money on their hobbies. Their passion is your financial gain.
What avid hobbyists want will always make great ebook material. Note that I did not say what hobbyists need. You may have certain opinions on what exactly certain people should need or should read. But those are not necessarily good topics for immediate ebook profit. Those topics may be areas for you to dabble in at your leisure. However, if you want to make money at this, find out what niche groups want, and hit those groups with your ebook.
Find hobbyists and niche groups by searching the web for “popular hobbies,” “enthusiasts,” or “what America is buying.” Or, you can search specifically for forums and discussion groups for hobbyists. In the forums, people talk with each other to share ideas with one another. Often, they will exchange testimonials for equipment, upcoming events, and books.
One popular site where hobbyists go to talk to one another online is Yahoo!. Check it out. Go to www.yahoo.com. Click “groups.” On the groups page you’ll see a list of categories such as Business & finance, and Religion. For demonstration purposes, click on “Games.”
On the games screen, game subcategories are listed followed by numbers. The numbers indicate how many discussion forums are available for that subcategory. These numbers reveal a lot. Notice how “role playing games,” and “video & computer games” have factors of ten or in some cases factors of 100 more forums than other subcategories. “Wargaming” and “paintball” donâ€™t even come close, although those categories are much more discussion-laden than “horseshoe pitching.”
For fun, one day I continued selecting subcategories until I arrived at a list of over a thousand (yes a thousand) discussion groups on Yahoo having to do with vampire role playing. Here’s how I got there: Games>>Role Playing Games>>Live Action>> World of Darkness>>Vampire: The Masquerade.
Some of the forums are open to new members, and you can join to read what everyone’s discussing. Once in the forum, you can review discussion threads from today, yesterday, or a year ago. Don’t go back too far if you want to find out the hottest possible ebook topics. You can participate in discussions if you like. FYI, do not drop into a discussion group just to market an ebook; hobbyists consider this spam and will drop you from the group.
When you read and/or participate, you’ll find out what this group is buying. All you have to do is skim to find out what questions they are asking each other about products or traveling or information. What they are interested in buying is a key piece of information because passionate consumers love to research before they buy. This is an immediate ebook market. Create a book on how to select the best this or that on the market, related to the current wants of the enthusiasts.
Enthusiasts come in all shapes and sizes. Think brides-to-be, golfers, whitewater rafters, people who collect vintage baseball cards, wine connoisseurs, gardeners, frequent vacationers, video gamers, and parents who put their children into private tutoring, ballet, and violin lessons before age 3.
There are some hobbies that seem to continually attract enthusiasts, like playing golf, watching football, restoring old cars, and listening to music. These are classics. Then there are some hobbies that seem to come and go in waves, such as Red Hat Societies participation, snow boarding, or line dancing. Pick either a classic hobby or a fluctuating hobby in its peak season for your best odds.
A big market on the Internet is the 20-30 set. Here’s what they are doing right now, according to one survey. They’re snowboarding, wakeboarding, traveling, camping, listening to music, taking photographs. They’re drinking gourmet coffee, rock climbing, playing guitar, camping, dancing, looking for online love, shopping for computers and other electronics, attending sports events, studying the Bible, exercising, trying to find jobs, and watching movies. Any one of these subjects would make a great ebook with a buying market standing by.