How to choose a topic for writing your next book or e-book

Posted May 6th @ 12:13 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Thursdays profit tip for authors

When selecting topics for follow-up books, avoid the temptation to reinvent the wheel; instead, look for ways you can build on the brand you began with your first book or e-book.

There are several ways you can approach the task of choosing a topic for your follow-up book:

  1. Deeper and more detailed. In your follow-up book, you can explore a particular aspect of your original title, going into greater detail than you did in your original book. Often, a topic that you originally covered in a single section, or, even, chapter of your original book can form the basis for your next book.
  2. Different formats, different prices. In contrast to going deeper, you might explore ways to write a less expensive version of your original book, perhaps one designed to appeal to newcomers to your field, or to a particularly price sensitive market.
  3. Narrower market focus. Another alternative is to narrow your focus, and focus your next book on a particular market segment. If your first book introduced 10 ideas or tools, for example, you could apply the ideas or tools to a particular business category or occupation.
  4. More helpful. Even if your original book contained exercises and questions intended to help readers apply your ideas to their specific situations, there’s usually room for improvement. In this case, consider offering a workbook containing worksheets and planning sheets readers can use in conjunction with your original book.
  5. Case studies and profiles. One of the best ways to return to the theme of your original book is to describe the experiences of readers who read your book and followed your advice. Undoubtedly, new ideas and perspectives will emerge as you interview your original readers, which will add interest to the follow-up book.
  6. Updates. New challenges, opportunities, technologies, and trends are constantly appearing, and new case studies are likely to emerge. In some situations, there are opportunities for yearly updates. In other cases, however, you can wait for new tools to establish themselves before writing a book describing their impact on your field.

Do you have any additional ideas for writing follow-up books and e-books that continue the brand you created in your original book? Share your favorite examples of books that build upon existing brands, and let me know if I have overlooked any other topics for writing your next book. Submit your ideas and suggestions below, as comments.


  1. channelsignsj
    May 8, 2010

    Introducing myself. Have a sign shop in San Francisco. Been lurking around watching you guys. You are awesome. Hope to fit in. Trying to learn all I can. Thanks in advance for the help I’m sure I’ll need.

    - Dean
    Channel Letters

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