How To Decide What To Write About In Your First Book

I recently wrote my first book, and it was a lot of fun. First of all, I felt like an expert on my topic, but also like I was learning new things about it almost every day. The most difficult part about writing the book was deciding what to write about! 

There are so many different ideas for books out there that it can be hard to choose just one thing. In this article, we’ll talk about different ways you can decide what your first book will be about and hopefully one will jump out at you as something you could see yourself writing about!

How to Write a Book: 13 Steps From a Bestselling Author
Key Takeaways
1. Explore Your Interests: Begin by considering your passions, hobbies, and areas of expertise. Your genuine interest in the subject will fuel your motivation to write.
2. Identify Unique Perspectives: Look for angles or viewpoints that haven’t been explored extensively. A fresh perspective can make your book stand out in the crowded literary landscape.
3. Draw from Personal Experiences: Reflect on your life experiences, challenges, and triumphs. Personal stories bring authenticity and depth to your writing.
4. Research and Expand: Conduct thorough research on potential topics to ensure they have depth and substance. Build on your existing knowledge to develop a well-informed narrative.
5. Consider Reader Appeal: Think about your target audience and what kind of stories resonate with them. Writing something that appeals to your readers can lead to greater engagement.
6. Experiment and Brainstorm: Don’t hesitate to brainstorm multiple ideas and experiment with different genres or themes. Sometimes, the process itself can uncover hidden gems.
7. Balance Passion and Marketability: While writing about what you love is important, also consider the market demand and trends. Finding a balance between passion and marketability can lead to success.
8. Test and Refine: Discuss your ideas with peers, writing groups, or beta readers. Their feedback can help you refine your concept and identify potential areas for improvement.
9. Embrace Change: Your initial idea may evolve as you delve deeper into the writing process. Be open to adjusting your concept to better serve the narrative.
10. Trust Your Instincts: Ultimately, trust your instincts and choose a topic that resonates with you on a personal level. Your enthusiasm will shine through in your writing.

Choose A Topic

If you are lucky, you will have an idea for the content of your first book already. If not, here are some tips on how to choose one:

Choose something you are interested in. This is a no-brainer and probably the easiest thing to do, but it’s also important that this topic has enough depth and complexity for you to write about it in detail. 

For example, if your favorite hobby is quilting and all of the books on quilting are written by experts who know everything there is about quilting and have been doing it for their entire lives (and possibly making money off their knowledge), then it would be difficult for someone like yourself a beginner to compete with them. 

A better choice might be something like “how I started my own business” or “how I got rid of my anxiety.” You’ll have plenty of time after publishing your first book to write other books on new topics!

Choose something where there isn’t much competition yet from other authors writing about similar things but from different perspectives/angles/styles etc., so that way when people search online for information about this subject matter (which they will!), then hopefully most results will lead back to yours instead! (And hopefully, those results will include links back here too.)

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Decide On A Genre

If you’re just starting, it can be hard to choose how to structure your book. For example, do you want to write a nonfiction book or fiction? Do you have an idea for a memoir? Are there any books in the same genre as yours that have been successful recently? How do their topics relate to yours?

Deciding on which genre to get started with is an important first step. There are certain kinds of books that are more popular than others at any given time, and your book must be able to compete with its peers in terms of sales numbers and general public interest. 

You’ll also want your project to fit into its target audience’s expectations: if they’ve gotten used to reading romance novels with female protagonists who live in New York City before turning 30 years old (and who don’t ever die).

Then maybe don’t make them read about some guy named Bob from Iowa whose favorite hobby is drinking beer alone whenever his wife isn’t around anymore because she left him for another man named Tom once he lost his job at the car dealership where they both worked together every single day for nearly 20 years straight without stopping even once.

During those two decades even though he was pretty nice sometimes too!

Write About Something That Fascinates You

The best way to figure out what to write about in your first book is to write about something that fascinates you or something that you are interested in. Maybe it’s something you enjoy doing, or maybe it’s a topic that you’re good at. 

Whatever it is, if there is passion behind the words and ideas coming out of your head, then there will be an audience waiting for them too!

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Ask Yourself What You’d Like To Know More About

Maybe there’s a topic that has always interested you, but you’ve never found the time or energy to research it in depth. Maybe there’s a great book on your shelf that was too intimidating for an inexperienced writer like yourself to tackle. 

Maybe there’s a question that keeps popping into your head when you’re trying to sleep at night and being a writer would give you an excuse to finally get an answer! Whatever the case may be, ask yourself what it is that has sparked this curiosity in you, and start writing!

If the answer isn’t immediately obvious, take some time to think about what could have inspired this interest. Do other people have similar interests? What makes them different from each other? What are their struggles or challenges? How can those struggles be overcome?

Write About Something That You Have Lots Of Knowledge About Already

If you’re writing about something that you already know a lot about, then it’s going to be much easier for you. 

You’ll have plenty of information to work with and won’t have to spend time researching or finding the right information; instead, all you’ll need to do is organize the material and make it into a cohesive book. 

This will save time, which can help prevent writer’s block during your writing process if other things are going on at the same time that are taking up your resources (like having a full-time job).

Write About What You’re Already Doing With Your Time

The next step is to decide what you’re going to write about. Ideally, you want to write about something that you already know a lot about. If you are passionate about the topic and already doing it, writing your first book will be easier.

Write about something you’ve been interested in for a long time or something that comes naturally to you. If there’s something that takes up most of your free time, then it might be worthwhile writing a book on the subject matter!

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Choose Your Passion As A Topic

If you’re looking for a topic to write about, one of the first things you should do is decide what your passion is.

If you already have something that you enjoy doing and spend a lot of time doing it, this would be a good topic to write about. You’ll know more about it than most people and can share those insights with others in your book or blog post.

Another way to choose a topic that interests you is by thinking about what fascinates you in life, whether it’s astrology or gardening, or cooking. Think of as many things as possible that interest you and write down each on an index card until they run out or until there aren’t any more left!

Consider Writing About Your Industry, Place Of Publication, And Sales Channel

The next step is to choose a topic that you are familiar with, passionate about, and that your readers will find relevant. If you are not well-versed in the topic or have no solid connections to it.

Consider writing about your industry instead. For example, if you’re an entrepreneur who has recently launched your first business, write about what you’ve learned along the way. You don’t need to be an expert on everything! It’s more important that what you write is interesting and useful for readers than that it matches up with some abstract ideal of perfection.

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Ask Friends And Colleagues If They Have Any Book Ideas They Think You Should Write

Ask friends and colleagues if they have any book ideas they think you should write. It’s important to get input from a diverse group of people, so try asking everyone from your best friend to industry leaders, local business owners, or people in other cities who may have different perspectives than your own.

Ask people in your community what they want to learn about. If there’s a topic that seems like it might be of interest to many people around you (e.g., how to build a backyard shed), look into whether there are existing books on the subject that can guide your research and writing process.

Ask colleagues who are doing something similar what they would want readers’ reactions to their works if those readers were themselves experts in their fields; this is especially useful if there isn’t an existing book on their topic yet!

Brainstorm With Colleagues At Work Or In Your Community

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s your boss or a friend, you can get some good ideas from people who are close to you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for ideas. If you’re in a creative field, there’s no shame in asking other people for their input on what they think might make an interesting topic for a book. They may not have ever written anything themselves, but they may know of someone who has!

Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions. If nobody knows any writers personally (and even if they do), there are tons of online communities where authors gather and discuss various aspects of the writing process including publishing! So don’t hesitate to reach out whenever possible; there’s usually someone willing and able to help out when needed (or at least give advice).

Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback after finishing something big like an entire manuscript draft or even just one chapter at a time.

Some days I find myself writing up half-finished manuscripts without knowing exactly where I’m going with it yet so this is something very important if you want anyone else reading through them later down the line anyway before making tweaks here&now so go ahead & reach out again whenever necessary!

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So, there you have it. Hopefully, this post has helped you decide what to write about in your first book. If not, don’t worry! There are many ways to write a book and there is no right way or wrong way. The only thing that matters is that you keep writing and working hard until you find something that resonates with you and others. Good luck!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you explore the topic of writing a book further:

Reedsy’s Guide: How to Write a Book Discover practical tips and step-by-step guidance on crafting your own book from Reedsy’s comprehensive guide.

MasterClass Article: How to Write a Book MasterClass offers insights from renowned authors to help you understand the nuances of the writing process and bring your book to life.

Forbes Books Blog: How to Write a Book in 10 Simple Steps Forbes Books provides a succinct guide to help you navigate through the essential steps of writing a book successfully.


How do I begin the process of writing my first book?

Starting your journey as a writer begins with identifying a compelling idea that resonates with you. Once you have a concept in mind, you can outline your plot, develop your characters, and start crafting your manuscript.

What are some effective techniques for overcoming writer’s block?

Writer’s block is a common challenge, but there are various strategies to overcome it. You can try free writing, changing your environment, setting specific goals, or taking a break and returning to your work with fresh perspective.

How do I create a consistent writing routine?

Establishing a writing routine involves setting aside dedicated time each day or week to work on your book. Find a schedule that aligns with your energy levels and commitments, and make writing a regular habit.

How can I make my characters more engaging and relatable?

To create compelling characters, delve into their backgrounds, motivations, and personal conflicts. Consider their strengths and flaws, and explore how they evolve throughout the story to make them relatable to readers.

What steps should I take after completing my first draft?

After finishing your initial draft, take a step back and let it rest for a while. Then, return to it for revisions, focusing on refining your plot, enhancing character development, improving dialogue, and ensuring a cohesive narrative flow.