Which Book Should I Write?

6287496195_551d4639ce_nEvery time I have taken a risk to engage this blog’s community, I have been pleased with the results. It always feels like leaping from a high dive and hoping for the best, but I’m doing that again today.

So here’s my question for you: Which book should I write?

For a while now I’ve been thinking about self-publishing an ebook. I want to do this because:

  • It’s been a long-time dream of mine to write a book.
  • I want to help people, particularly people who read this blog.
  • I want to prove to myself that I can (can you relate?).
  • I want to know more about self-publishing, and there’s no better way to learn than to do it.
  • I want to make enough extra money to fund a design update to this blog (amen?).

Don’t worry. I’m not asking you to pick a book idea out of thin air. I’ve narrowed it down to a list of how-to concepts that are based on themes I have been exploring here:

  • How to get published
  • How to write a book proposal
  • How to come up with a great book concept
  • How to market your book
  • How to write
  • How to nurture creativity
  • How to live well

These aren’t final titles, of course; but they’re enough to give you an idea. So, which of these themes is most appealing to you? Drop a comment or email me at chad@chadrallen.com

And thank you!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • How to nurture creativity is appealing to me as a writer. I feel like Michael Hyatt and Mary DeMuth have covered all the rest of these topics. I nurture my creativity through community and prayer. I’m interested in what you would say in a book.

  • Kathy

    I just saw this post and you’ve probably finished your book by now but I’d say how to market first. All the topics look good so could you write all of them?

    • Ha, very kind! And I appreciate this feedback, Kathy.

  • How to come up with a great book concept, Chad. I wish I knew the secret of that!!

  • I would like to see you write a book on how to write a book. Hopefully you could have chapters on different writing tools or tips for differing genres.

    • Susan, that’s a little different spin on the topic, and I like it. Thanks!

  • Chad,

    I agree with much of the above comments regarding the plethora of successful “How to write a book proposal” ebooks. While that topic is popular, and thus marketable, I think you would experience more success with another topic.

    I believe you would find success with book concept.

    Although I know your goal is to experience the self-pub world. Might I suggest another means to generate income: an online Mastermind group to nurture creativity. Lead an 8 week course online or more interactively through Google Hangout.

    • Jennifer, thank you! Yes, I’ve thought about this, and have seen Jeff Goins do this kind of thing to good effect. It’s definitely in the back of my mind as something to pursue–not least because it would be a way of more directly interacting with people who make comments as useful as yours! Thanks again.

  • Chad,
    I’m really excited about what you’re doing here! My vote goes for “the proposal” mainly because I know it’s a big deal and I know nothing about it.

  • As someone who is struggling on the whole “book proposal” thing, I vote for that one.

    Although I would think that it might be a part of a larger “how to get published” book too.

    • Carter, I love the name of your blog! And thanks for this idea too.

  • Honestly, I have a hard time choosing, I would read them all if you wrote them. I think the melding of a few together sounds wonderful. Creativity and concept? Whatever the choice, I think a home run will emerge.

    • Very kind, Lisa, and I’ll be thinking carefully about which direction to pursue.

  • …And I hope you’ll continue to write fairy tales. There is something great there that nobody else I know of is doing.

    • Hm. That’s worth some reflection. The Butterfly Maker came to me almost unbidden. But I like the idea of thinking about how to nurture a space where that kind of narrative emerges for me more readily. I think it really MUST involve a Swiss Chalet with some bold espresso, don you?! Thank you, friend.

      • I’ve recently become enamored with allegories. The Butterfly Maker really sat well with me when I found it in my inbox. I love parables and fables because of their depth. Humans love stories, its how we think and operate socially, historically and all that. We also love to find and discover. Stories with deeper meaning fulfill both of those interests.

  • How about, “how to live with the decision of publisher without losing your mind”? Cuz that is the most common author experience.

  • There are a few great e-books out right now about how to write a great book proposal, but I haven’t really seen any on how to market your e-book. That would be the first one I would go to.

    • Jaime, good one. Check out John Locke’s book if you haven’t already. How I Sold a Million eBooks in Five Months. It sounds outrageous, I know, but he’s pretty convincing!

  • I confirm what Cynthia Herron wrote!

  • Okay, I’m going to go out on a limb… I think it would be interesting to see ALL concepts–as chapters, cleverly titled–and covered under a knock-your-socks-off book title.

    For instance, in Mike Hyatt’s bestseller, Platform, he discusses many different areas–growing one’s audience, social media, what works, etc.–and he does it succintly, thoroughly, and without boring the reader. In other words, make your book as meaty as possible from an insider’s perspective (that alone is a great selling point), throw in some potatoes–the nurturing creativity aspect, and top it all off with dessert toward the end–the “how to live well” idea. In other words, unless we’re persevering for the right reasons to begin with, the writing process will never make sense. Offer practical, personal examples that leave the reader with a happy sigh kind of feeling, but also a call to action.

    Too broad? I tend to see the big picture. 🙂

    • Well, they’re all connected, that’s for sure! I’ll be thinking about exactly HOW they’re connected (you’ve given me some great starting points for that), and we’ll see where i end up!

      • I think all the topics would work well together, but I suggest ordering it this way: living well enhances creativity, giving you something to write about, then you come up with the concept, create a proposal, get published and market your book, thereby giving you further resources to live well. It’s a cycle.

        • Hey, way to connect them, Paul! That’s awesome! Thank you.

  • Well, I guess it all depends on why you are making the butterfly in the first place. If you want the money to update the blog, see what is popular in the market already, or find what isn’t in the market at all. If you are more interested in fulfilling your goal of writing a book then write about whatever topic you will enjoy writing about the most. It seems from your blog that you would be capable of writing a sound book on any of the topics you suggested.

    • Well said, Paul. Actually, my motive (in my best moments) is to help people, hence this post. I feel like i’m getting a sense of that in this comment stream!

      • I’ve found your blog to be very helpful…so far. “So far” can be both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. I mean it in an encouraging way, not that I expect at some future time your blog will fail me, just that for as long as I’ve been aware of it I’ve appreciated what I’ve read. I put the ellipsis in to point out the dual nature of “so far.”

  • Peter

    I’d like to read your thoughts on how to live well. I feel like the publishing/book stuff is being well discussed in your blog. Todd Henry has already told us how to be more creative 🙂 but I’d love to hear your approach to living well.
    For what it’s worth! Best of luck. I’ll certainly pay for it and help you upgrade this blog 🙂

    • You da man, Peter. And you and I both know I have more to learn than to offer here!

  • I would be interested in “How to come up with a great book concept”.

  • I know I have several book proposal books so that doesn’t interest me But nurturing creativity or finding a great book concept would. I have lots of ideas but struggle in developing them and expanding them into a full book. I think these two concepts could over lap too. How to grow ideas into books with the magic of creativity.

    • Hmmmm, you’ve got me thinking, Jean. Thanks once again.

  • I’ll join the chorus for how to market your book. I suspect all of these categories are crowded, but an acquisition editor’s view would be invaluable I think. What kind of author-marketing impresses you? What do you want your author to do in the marketing arena? What effectively moves books? Thanks.

    • Max, yep, I hear you. And I would have the benefit of interviewing some of the best in the biz.

  • Can I suggest a close alternative? “How to come up with a marketable book concept” Here’s my reasoning.

    While you could of course write on anything, your position as a publishing insider gives you a unique view that many people are interested in as it directly relates to getting published. So the uniqueness of your angle would apply most directly to the first four. Of those, “How to get published” seems like it would have the least practical detail because (and maybe this is just my perception), it’s based on so many intangibles! So, like others, I would sign you up for a trilogy (in this order):

    1) How to come up with a marketable book concept
    2) How to write a book proposal
    3) How to market your book

    The reason I take the spin with “marketable” book concept is that it gives you a unique opportunity to speak as an insider on what publishers see as “great”. In fact, I was just thinking the other day how awesome it would be to be a fly on the wall for just ONE review of a proposal in a publishing house – to see how it’s “read” and discussed. The definition of “great” in terms of concept is probably less relevant than marketable when it comes to publishing, so this spin would give you a highly unique book that sits at the foundation of what everyone needs to know before going to number 2 (how to write a book proposal).

    Another related idea: An Insider’s Look at Traditional Publishing (I would LOVE to read that!)

    • I didn’t mean to suggest that marketable means a concept is NOT great…all marketable concepts are probably great, but not all great concepts are marketable.

    • Natasha, seriously, I should be paying you for advice like this. Dang! Thank you! I’ll do some serious pondering on this.

  • “How to come up with a great book concept.” Without this, all the other stuff doesn’t even matter. I know I’ve struggled with coming up with the right concept… and it’s so important! I’d value insight from someone like you who has seen so many concepts come across his desk. I’m sure you can instantly pick out the ones with potential.

    • Well, I don’t know about “instantly,” but what i do think i can offer is a process that involves brainstorming and collaboration, and has the potential of yielding some solid potential concepts.

  • I vote for “how to come up with a great book concept.” I can name several existing books on marketing and writing book proposals, but I cannot think of one on that topic. It stands out to me as being more unique and meeting a felt need.

    • I agree with Erin on the topic and the reason! Sems like you could weave in useful material on creativity with this one too.

      (Still, your advice on proposals has been extremely helpful and I’d like to see that opinion book form too. My previous reading on proposals was of things by agents and you bring a very helpful insider’s perspective.)

      • Auto spell changed “appear in” into “opinion”. “Sems” should have been “seems”. Sorry.

      • That means a heck of a lot coming from you, Gary. No one knows my perspective better than you!

    • I love the idea of leading people through a process of coming up with a great book concept. This one really energizes me, Erin, not least because it might enable me to hire your design services!

  • Nurture creativity. You wrote a post about a creative group not too long ago that stuck with me. This one caught my attention & I’d buy it.

    • Wendy, that’s hugely affirming. Means. A. Lot! Thank you.

  • I think there is a lot of information out there about ‘how to write.’ However, the more niche topics such as ‘how to write a proposal’ with a follow-up of ‘how to market your book’ would be a great companion set. I also like ‘how to nurture creativity.’ Perhaps a trilogy is in your future . . .

    • Great idea, Heather, if slightly overwhelming! But your story inspires me so much, maybe I’ll try!

  • How to nurture creativity jumps off the page at me, Chad.

    • Thanks, Joshua. If you haven’t already picked up Todd Henry’s book Accidental Creative, I highly recommend it.

  • My vote would be how to come up with a great book concept. I know I have several ideas on potential books, but knowing how to make those concepts reader friendly would be most helpful.

    • Bethany, that’s such a huge issue. Sometimes just a little tweak can make all the difference–to a publishing board, certainly, but also to the market!

  • I like the “How to write a book proposal” idea. This is important for nonfiction writers and it seems so tough to nail down.

    • Thanks. C. C. That one is just bursting to come out of me. I do think i could provide a unique perspective. Or at least I pray that’s true.

  • I vote for “how to market your book,” or “how to nurture creativity.” Why not both? 🙂

    • Perhaps my question should have been, Which book should I write FIRST? Ha! Thanks, Alison. So fun to reconnect after all these years. Hey everybody, Alison and I worked together on her first book way back when. Check out her blog!