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Expert Round-Up Topic: How do you know if your nonfiction book idea is a good one?

How do you know if your nonfiction book idea is a good oneKARLA NOLAND

The sole purpose of a nonfiction book is to educate the reader about a subject or to further their knowledge about something. Each year, four million new book titles are published, including self-published books. So, what’s going to make your nonfiction book idea unique and standout amongst the millions of titles?

Ask yourself three questions to determine if your nonfiction book idea will resonate with readers:

1. Who is this book for?

You will find clarity for the vision and purpose of your nonfiction book by keeping your target audience in mind. It’s too broad of a statement to say your book is for everyone. You want to narrow down your niche audience to a specific reader. Think about shooting an arrow at a bullseye. Who needs to get their hands on your book to gain knowledge and/or solve their specific problem?

2. What problem is your book solving?

Now that you have determined your ideal audience, focus on how your book uniquely educates or inspires your reader to a call of action or addresses their problem. Keeping your audience in mind, what makes your book valuable to a specific reader?

3. How does your book solve the problem?

Make the desired outcome of your ideal reader plain after you have established your audience and you have picked your topic. What does your reader truly want to solve or gain more than anything at the end of reading your book? Set your expectation for the reader at the beginning of your nonfiction book and deliver.

Whether you’re penning a memoir or self-help book, focus on how you can best to serve your ideal reader. You know your nonfiction book is a good one when you are able to educate, bring clarity, and deliver the desired outcome of your reader.


In my opinion, there are a few key indicators that can help you determine whether or not your nonfiction book idea is a good one. First, ask yourself if you are passionate about the subject matter. If you aren’t, it will be very difficult to maintain the necessary level of motivation to see the project through to completion. Second, take a look at the existing market for books on your topic.

If there are already a plethora of titles available, it may be difficult to make your book stand out from the crowd. However, if there are only a handful of existing titles, this may indicate that there is room in the market for another book on the subject. Finally, consider your audience. Who do you envision reading your book? Are you writing for a general audience or a niche market? Knowing your audience will help to guide your marketing efforts and ensure that you are creating a book that meets their needs.


If it’s current. Think of it like writing an article. Is your idea relevant to the current moment in some way, or does it at least possibly inform a relevant topic? Nonfiction books do well while people are still curious about a certain story. For this reason, it’s pretty important for nonfiction books to feel recent and address a somewhat current phenomenon.


I’ve been working with trainers, coaches, speakers, and founders for eighteen years, helping them assess their book ideas and making sure they write a book people want to buy.

I always start by figuring out what words I think potential readers would look up if they were looking for a book on the topic we are exploring. Then, I use the Publisher Rocket keyword analyzer to see how many clicks each of the words get—first, to see if the idea is viable at all,
and then to see which ones potential readers are clicking on the most—if
they are. I also look to see if there are other related words that I hadn’t thought of that can give me a clue as to the best way to approach the topic.

Then I go to Amazon and look to see if there are bestsellers on the topic. Bestsellers are a good indicator that there is interest. I look at the other books on the topic to see what has already been
written and to see how the one I am working on will be different and the logical choice for my client’s ideal market.

Once it’s positioned properly, we come up with a few titles and then test them with the target market to make sure it’s resonating. If it is, then I know we have a good idea for the book.


I wrote a nonfiction book detailing the experiences of what it is like to live with diabetes, and how it can be quite challenging navigating this health condition with physical activities like going to the gym and staying active.

Something that helped me realize my nonfiction book idea was good and would be successful is that I couldn’t actually find any other books out there that discussed the same thing! I had spent so many years of my life wondering what I could do to stay fit with a condition that really struggles with any physical activity, and there were simply no texts out there that specifically gave advice and workout ideas for those who had the same issues I did. I knew there would be a demand for it (if I was looking for a book like this, then others would be too) and so I decided to fill the market in this specific niche.

If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit on writing nonfiction books. It includes checklists, templates, worksheets and more. Check it out!

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