Deciding on the topic of your book

The time has come. You have a message to share. You’re ready to write your book. You write out your topic sentence – the one that summarizes the core of your message.

Now what?

Is this the best topic for your book? Why does it matter?

Once your book is released to the world through your launch, you will continue to be linked with this topic as your understanding of it shifts. This may lead to future books – either an updated edition of the first one or the creation of a series, each new book expanding on a different aspect of the topic.

Your book will become part of your life in ways you may not have anticipated. Not only will you be focusing a lot of time and attention on it during the process of writing and editing it and during the launch, but for years it will be referenced in your talks from the stage and sales at the back of the room.

Which takes us back to the beginning – what will you write about this time.

A decision needs to be made. You can’t share all you know and all you believe in one book. It would overwhelm your audience and most likely scare them away.

I encourage my clients to take some time making this decision. They need to consider both the desired outcomes of their decision and potential unintended consequences. Like it or not, this topic will be a central part of your life for years to come and you need to love it.

Here’s a topic sentence a health coach might write, followed by some possible sub-topics: 

Look at your topic sentence again. Start a list under it of different sub-topics that you could write and talk about.

Next, spend a few minutes thinking about each sub-topic. Ask yourself –

  • Does this topic resonate in my heart?
  • Do I have a clear understanding of what this topic covers?
  • Can I quickly think of 2-3 stories/case histories to illustrate this topic?
  • Could this topic take me off on a tangent that I would be uncomfortable talking about?
  • Am I chomping at the bit to write about this topic, or do I feel more lukewarm about it?

Jot down a few notes on each sub-topic before going on to the next. It may take more than one session to address all the sub-topics you listed in the first step.

Once you have considered each sub-topic, read through all of your notes in one sitting and set them aside for at least a couple of days.

Go back to your notes in a couple of days. See which sub-topic resonates most strongly with you now.

Ask yourself – Do I love this topic enough to build my life around it for the next few years or decades of my life?

If the answer is yes, you now have the topic for your first book.

Frequently, there is resistance to devoting this much time to something that appears obvious before you start writing your book. Just as frequently, the actual topic of the first book changes by the time my clients complete the exercise.

Starting with the wrong topic can cost you time and psychic energy. If you start with the wrong topic, you may have to throw your early work away and start over. Or you may just give up, loading yourself down with some negative self-talk at the same time.

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Hesitant to sort this out on your own? Give me a call and let’s talk. Schedule your Enchanted Book Session here.

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