A good book idea is rare.
As much as you think all of your book ideas are fantastic and anyone would love to read them…you might be completely wrong.
And I’ll explain why shortly but
A good book idea is rare.
As much as you think all of your book ideas are fantastic and anyone would love to read them…you might be completely wrong.
And I’ll explain why shortly but
A good book is a combination of high passion on your end, making your readers feel intensely along with a structure that toys with their emotions and an overall message worth sharing.
In order to come up with a good book idea, you have to understand what makes a book great and then work backward from there.
This might seem a little vague but in reality, this combination isn’t easy to come by.
A good book takes time, effort, and the right formula to get right. If you want to leave readers feeling stunned in the best way (and ready to give you those coveted 5-star reviews), it’s essential to first start with a great book idea.
Here are some of the top qualities that make a book good:
Once you know what your book needs, it’s time to figure out what you should write about.
When determining what you should write your book about, start with figuring out if you want to write fiction or nonfiction.
Fiction and nonfiction are basically two different worlds when it comes to writing.
You have to determine if you’re someone who wants to write fiction or nonfiction. This decision is typically simple to make because if you don’t have an interest in creating new worlds, realities, or making up characters, fiction is not for you.
On the other hand, if you love to write guides and how-tos and maybe even self-help related books, nonfiction is going to be a better fit for you.
You have to start by determining what kind of fiction you want to write.
Which genre will be your battlefield?
These are just the more popular fiction genres:
In order to choose, pick the genre you enjoy reading the most. That means if you love fantasy and typically read that more than anything else, this will be the genre you’ll enjoy writing the most.
Once you know what you want to write, you have to learn how to come up with a good book idea in it.
We’re going to separate these two simply because the process is so different. Coming up with fiction book ideas differs greatly from nonfiction because they cover much different information, key elements, and reader intent.
Fiction is amazing because you can come up with pretty much anything and it can be formed into a good book idea.
Let us help you break it down.
If you have a hard time coming up with book ideas, then what you really need is something to prompt your mind into thinking creatively and imaginatively.
And that something is a writing prompt.
Writing prompts are very short ideas or story concepts for you to use in order to get started. Think of them as the catalyst for your imagination.
We actually have a list of over 200 original fiction writing prompts created for this specific purpose.
You can fill out the form below to download them! These prompts might contain the beginning of your next book idea.
Head to a park or airport and just sit down to watch people. This might seem a little odd (or even a tad bit creepy) to you but it’s often a great way to get real-life writing prompts.
You may overhear a snippet of conversation or witness someone doing something interesting.
Take a notebook and jot down notes in order to flesh it out into a full story later. Consider it more like research for your novel.
If you have a creative friend you love to chat books and book ideas with, just sit down and bounce ideas around with them.
Two minds are greater than one is most cases – including coming up with book ideas.
You can ask them to come up with a character and their background, and then you can give their life a reality with problems and a main conflict.
This alone can get you started on a book idea!
This is my favorite way to come up with book ideas and it’s based on the concept of saying “what if…” and thinking up a crazy situation in this world or one of your own making.
Not only does this open your mind to otherworldly possibilities, but it’s also great practice for your imagination.
Here are a couple examples of how to play the “What If” game and how it can yield interesting book ideas.
|"What if" thought||Expanded on for book idea|
|What if...there's already a cure for cancer.||The cure for cancer is kept hidden due to the large amount of money it generates for research.|
|What if...there are hidden civilizations living among us.||These hidden civilizations have advanced technology and medicine we know nothing about.|
|What if...the oceans are home to alien life.||Aliens are living among us...deep, below the ocean, with entire cities and civilizations.|
|What if...money became obsolete.||Money no longer has value and the world is thrust back into a world of trade, barter, and other means of getting what you want—dangerous means.|
This specific technique is designed to free your mind from common problems in this time. Because it’s all you’ve known, your mind can try to come up with problems deserving of a book, but it’s a little difficult to make those seem interesting.
Instead, give your brain a shock by thinking of problems from another time period, whether that’s the past or the future.
You might have a book idea hiding in the past that you’ll never be able to see if you’re only looking in the present.
Then write a book about their reality.
One thing I like to do most often is type “character inspiration” into the Pinterest search bar.
Then, once the images load, I pick someone who stands out to me.
From there, I do some deep thinking about a world they could fit in, what it looks like, what the big problems are, and even go so far as to create a job and personality for that character.
You can do this very same thing with “fantasy world” or “sci-fi world” if you want to think up some books revolving around those ideas.
The results often give you images that can spark a small idea – which we can help you develop into a fully-fleshed story.
From here, you’ll craft a story about their life in their own reality.
This exercise is perfect for coming up with a good book idea because generally, you want your protagonist to be a character people like.
And when you create a character you genuinely like and would be friends with, other people will feel the same.
While the story and plot have to be intriguing, the character is sometimes the biggest selling point. A book with great characters will stand out.
You’ll have to unleash your inner child.
Yes, I’m serious. Coming up with good book ideas involves a lot of creative thinking and suspension of disbelief.
Here’s how you can come up with great book ideas many will love to read.
Writing a book without passion is useless.
Your distaste or worse, your indifference, will bleed through the pages and be obvious to anybody reading it.
If you want to come up with a book idea that not only other people will love, but that you will also love, it has to be something you’re passionate about.
The process of writing a book can take some time and a lot of dedication, rereading, and editing to get right.
It will only do well and be met with praise if it’s something you put a lot of passion into.
What are a few topics you seem to know more than the average person about?
The reason you have to figure this out is that it will help you determine the best book idea for you to write.
Here are some questions you can ask in order to uncover what you’re knowledgeable about:
These questions will help you determine the common theme within the answers. Once you know what you have a strong knowledge of, you can narrow down your book ideas.
You don’t just have to limit yourself to what you know a lot about. Instead, brainstorm a very large number of main ideas.
These can be anything from your hobbies to your work expertise to even your view of the world and how it works.
Anything that comes to your mind and sparks your interest is worth writing down.
When you do this, you’ll typically find that there’s a main topic or overarching theme that sticks out the most. Usually, this is what you should write a book about.
What are the nonfiction books you’re drawn to most? This will often give you insight into great book ideas for you to write yourself.
The reason for this is because if you wouldn’t read the book you’re writing, then you shouldn’t be writing it.
This technique works backward from your own interests in order to determine which book idea you should push forward.
What do you most often find yourself spacing out about?
When your boss snaps to get your attention or when your partner has to wave a hand in front of your face to bring you back to reality, write down what you were just thinking about.
It can be anything.
Even if it’s just what you’re going to make for dinner, write it down because you want to get into this habit.
After a week, take a look at all those thoughts and you’ll usually find a pattern amongst them. That’s the book idea you should write about.
This is a very unique technique that can help you discover what’s important to you from a day-to-day perspective.
In order to do this, open a blank document and just start writing about your everyday life – but do this as if you were writing a story about yourself through narrative. Meaning, from a third person perspective.
Here’s an example of this book idea finding exercise:
She was perched at her desk, the monotonous tap-tap-tap of the keys a familiar comfort amidst the silence of her lonesome. Leaning in, her eyes flitted across the screen, following the lead of each word she typed.
Start writing yours and your mind might just come up with a book idea for you to take to publication.
Everyone is different and all of our minds work differently. And that means if you want to come up with a good book idea, you’ll have to try a number of different methods to determine what works best for you.
Here are some alternative methods for coming up with a book idea that aren’t listed above.
This is a technique that helps your ideas build on one another – much like a snowball builds on itself when you start rolling it through the snow.
How to do this book idea-generating exercise: This is done by writing down a broad concept first, like: Confidence. From there, you will list more specific but still general terms related to this, like:
– Gain more confidence
– Confidence and your mood
– Confidence in the workplace
-What affects confidence?
After you have these ideas, pick a single one to narrow down even more until you have a niche-specific book idea.
This is for you nonfiction writers out there. In order to find topics that are searched a lot, hop on Amazon, choose “Books” from the search bar drop-down, then click the search icon or hit enter (yes, without typing anything in the search field).
This will bring you to the generic “home page” for books. Scroll down a little bit and locate the left sidebar with the different categories like “Popular in Books,” “More in Books,” and more.
From here, choose “Top 20 Lists in Books” as seen below.
You can easily scroll through the different sections in order to get an idea for what’s the most popular.
Now, most of these will be fiction, as it’s the top-selling genre.
If you want to find nonfiction-specific top sellers, repeat the first two steps in order to go back to the books “homepage.”
Then scroll down until you find the “Books” category with specific genres beneath. You can click on the genre you have the most interest in, like “Self-Help” in the example below.
From here, scroll down until you find the “Bestsellers” section in which you can discover the hottest titles and topics they cover so you can shape your book idea based on what will sell, like in the image below.
Even if they’re tiny and you think they could never make a great book, write them down.
You never know what could blossom into sometime incredible. Maybe JK Rowling never thought an idea about a wizard in school would be interesting – and look what happened there!
You might not like to hear this.
But NaNoWriMo can often take a toll on you mentally and even creatively.
It might not make sense to you now, but you’ll understand just how much NaNoWriMo can affect you in a little bit.
First, let’s talk about what makes NaNoWriMo unique and special.
NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.
It’s an event that takes place over the course of November where writers from all over commit to writing 50,000 words during the month. That’s the main goal and if you accomplish this, that’s how you WIN NaNoWriMo.
So unfortunately, no, NaNoWriMo not some sort of nanobot that you can implant in your mind to write your book for you.
The entire point is to help writers have a month of very high productivity so they can get the first draft out of the way in order to pave the way for editing, rewriting, and overall polishing.
What can take writers months to accomplish (50,000 words) only needs to take one so the book gets finished faster.
Here are your daily, weekly, and total goals for NaNoWriMo. If you’re someone who likes to work on a weekly basis instead of a daily, this will help you.
One of the best things you can do if you want to win NaNoWriMo is to prepare properly. There’s a reason those who participate dub October as Preptober.
Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re ready when NaNoWriMo comes to town.
When it comes to making it through NaNoWriMo, you might need help. It’ll be a tough month and that’s why we put together this survival guide for you to follow.
It covers expanded preparation steps as well as resources to help you get through the month.
Make sure to download this if you want to win NaNoWriMo this year!
If you haven’t already, you have to decide which story you’re going to write. If you’re anything like me, you might have tons of book ideas bouncing around inside your head.
So how do you choose which to write and which to save for later?
Here are a few questions I like to ask myself when deciding which story to try first:
Chances are, there’s one idea that stands out to you above all the rest. Even if the others are good, the story you’re most connected to and think about the most is the one you’ll actually enjoy writing the most.
And since you’ll be spending a great deal of time on this book over the next month, actually enjoying it is very important.
Pick the one that has your passion and run with it.
I’m a personal advocate of outlining. My outlines are very detailed and I want to basically have an instruction manual for my book.
That being said, it’s understandable that not everyone works well with an outline. Maybe it’s not for you.
However, going into NaNoWriMo completely blind is a mistake.
You at least want to have an overview of the plot and the major plot points figured out so you have a direction in which to write.
For those of you who need outlining, make sure it’s done before November starts!
That clear, step-by-step overview of your book will be extremely helpful for saving time. You’ll be able to sit down and get to writing instead of spending so much time trying to figure out where your story is going.
Going through something as arduous as NaNoWriMo requires some backup…preferably in the form of friends or just other people participating as well.
You all know that it’s going to be hard and therefore, you can count on support groups to help propel you through the tough times.
Support groups are your best bet to stay motivated throughout the entire month. Plus, anyone who’s a part of those groups is usually more than willing to help when you get stuck on your story, too.
So where do you find groups like these?
You can follow specific hashtags or accounts on Twitter, or you can join Facebook groups dedicated to NaNoWriMo.
Here are a few Facebook groups you can join right now to help you make it through:
The reason NaNoWriMo is so difficult isn’t because of the fact that you’re writing a book; it’s because you’re writing so much of your book in such a short amount of time. It’s scary.
And that can be intimidating to a number of people – most of us, I’d wager to bet.
That means one of your biggest obstacles isn’t plotting your novel or making sure you’re physically prepared, it’s making sure you’re mentally ready to complete such a tough goal.
That means focusing on your inspiration, motivation, and staying positive!
You can find other methods of maintaining the right mindset in our NaNoWriMo survival guide.
This is one of the absolute best ways to ensure you actually make it through NaNoWriMo in one piece – and even win!
It’s as simple as making a schedule for yourself and then sticking to it.
Anyone can mark their days to write on a calendar but it takes a special kind of writer to sit down daily and hit those word count goals.
We actually put together a progress tracking and planning spreadsheet that calculates your percentage completed in our NaNoWriMo survival guide! You can find what that looks like below.
You can use this all year round, not just in November. Give it a download if you want to make some real progress this month.
Being able to win NaNoWriMo is the entire goal of entering. You want to complete 50,000 words in a single month. But that’s much easier said than done.
I decided to pull out the big guns and ask for some help from my personal Twitter followers since I know many of them participate in this yearly.
I tweeted out asking for help, and they did NOT disappoint.
Whether you won or have not yet completed it, I still want your help!
— Bella Rose Pope (@BellaRosePope) October 15, 2018
Here are some of the tips I received on the thread of this tweet along with some extended tips to help you make the most of NaNoWriMo this month.
When you think about the overall goal of writing 50,000, you might begin to sweat, get anxious, and even feel discouraged.
Because it is a lot of words to write in a single month.
But one of the biggest tips experienced NaNoWriMo-ers have for anyone venturing to accomplish such an audacious goal is to only focus on hitting your daily goal.
So instead of thinking about it as 50,000 words a month, think of it as 1667 words a day.
This helps your mind process the amount better so you don’t get so overwhelmed.
Inspiration doesn’t just exactly come around whenever you want it to. Sometimes it hides away like you might when winter comes around (just me?).
But the thing is, if every writer waited for inspiration to find them in order to write, hardly any of us would get our books done and we’d definitely not make it through NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words accomplished.
So instead, you might have to coax inspiration from the outskirts of your mind and one way many writers do this is through music.
Create a playlist that fits with the style of your story and turn it on whenever you sit down to write. It can serve as inspiration and a mental cue for your mind to get ready to work.
Just like I mentioned above, you won’t always want to write but in order to hit your goal for November, you need to write daily (unless you want to sit and write huge chunks of words a couple days a week).
When you keep visuals, quotes, and even other novels that have inspired your own writing journey handy, it’s much easier to get in the mood to crank out some high-quality words.
This is one of the hardest parts for many who’ve done NaNoWriMo before.
They can get the words down, but only if they don’t stop to edit as they go.
Your first draft is better done than perfect, which is the entire point of NaNoWriMo in the first place. So put the editor part of your mind on hold and let your writer-brain take full ownership over the next month.
I realize this might sound harsh but NaNoWriMo is a commitment. You can’t have friends and family bugging you when it’s your designated writing time.
In order to succeed with NaNoWriMo, it’s best to make it clear to everyone around you that you’ll be unreachable for a specific amount of time whenever you write.
If you set that expectation early on and be stern about it, it’ll be easier to avoid this type of distraction throughout the month.
If writing groups don’t work for you because your posts get lost in the mix, pairing up with someone for one-on-one accountability might be a better option for you.
You can check-in daily and give each other support and encouragement when it gets tough.
And trust me, by the second week, you’ll need someone there to push you along and remind you why you started this lofty task in the first place.
There are a ton of writing software and apps out there designed to help you write – and write faster.
One of the best to use is an app called Freedom.
What this app does is cut off access to certain websites or apps for a determined amount of time. Whenever you try to visit those sites (like Twitter) during the time you have scheduled to write, you’ll receive this message:
This prevents you from procrastinating or getting too distracted, which hinders your word count progress.
The idea here is that this app “frees” you from the addiction and distraction of sites you know you get sucked into easily.
This is for your phone, social media, email, and any other notifications that might pop up during your writing time.
If you use the app mentioned above, this will be a little easier, but you also have to manually keep your phone far away from you so even text messages won’t break through your concentration.
Just me, those messages will still be there by the time you’re done with writing.
This will be very hard if, for whatever reason, you don’t end up hitting your word count goal daily. You’ll start to shame yourself, even if only internally.
This isn’t productive in any way, shape, or form and it’ll only slow you down further.
Instead, you should recognize when you’re behind, and then schedule the time to catch up if hitting that 50,000 words is truly important to you.
And if you need a little bit more to help you out with this one, just remember that no matter what, you’re making progress on your book and that alone is a major accomplishment.
NaNoWriMo is all about just making progress. That progress doesn’t have to be the best version of what you can do, it just has to be progress.
You can forget all about making your manuscript all shiny and perfect. Instead, just focus on pumping out those words.
Write to the best of your ability given the time you have to hit those words.
After all, the large majority of us tend to write best once we get into the groove of just writing anyway. And that means if you shut off the self-critical part of your brain for a while, you can make some major strides.
Cut yourself some slack. You’re not perfect and writing can be very difficult.
If something comes up and you’re not able to write for a day, just forget about it and get back on track the next.
There’s no point in driving yourself crazy over missing a few thousand words because like I said above, you’re still making progress on your book and that’s the entire point of NaNoWriMo in the first place.