January 8, 2024
Episode 52: The Golden Topic:
How to Choose What Your Readers Crave
Identify the Book Idea that Will Attract Your Perfect Prospects
Episode 52: The Golden Topic: How to Choose What Your Readers Crave
Are you writing what they want to read? Knowing your audience’s pain points, desires, and aspirations is key to finding the golden topic that resonates with your readers. In this episode of The Author Switch Podcast, I share how to identify topics that your readers crave. Gain the confidence to write content that stands out and sells. Make your next book a hit.
Recap & Takeaways
- 02:17 – Pillar #1 – Purpose
- 04:59 – Pillar #2 – Passion
- 08:10 – Pillar #3 – Possibility
- 10:24 – Pillar #4 – Peerless
- 13:37 – The elephants in the room
Transcript for Episode 52: The Golden Topic: How to Choose What Your Readers Crave
Have you ever wondered why some books become bestsellers, while others basically fade away into obscurity? In a lot of cases, it’s not great writing, although that does help. It is finding that golden topic, that sweet spot between the author’s passion and what the readers are really looking for. In this episode of The Author Switch Podcast I’m going to talk about the four P’s, the four pillars that you should evaluate any idea you have for a book against so that you know that it has the best chances for success.
Hello, my name is Carma Spence, and I help entrepreneurs write a lead-attracting book in 90 days or less.
Now. I do have a framework for coming up with ideas, that’s called the MSV framework, and I believe I’ve talked about that in another episode. I’ve definitely talked about it in a variety of different places, and I will include a link in the show notes.
Tonight, I want to talk about the four pillars that successful books all have. And you can evaluate your ideas against these four pillars. They all start with the letter P. That’s why I call them the four P’s.
So that you know, if you’ve got more than one idea, you can choose the right one, the one that has the best chances of success. Now, could you have something that matches all four Ps and still not work? It could happen, then it’s usually something outside of the four P’s that’s causing a problem.
But if you don’t meet these four P’s, you have a lesser chance of being successful with your book. And of course, I am talking about nonfiction books, specifically those that help you generate leads and clients. But some of these pillars are also quite effective for other types of books.
So the first P is Purpose.
What is the purpose of your book? Why should it exist? And there are two ways to look at purpose for your book here because there really are two different purposes happening in a successful book. There’s your purpose. What are you trying to accomplish with this book? And what is the reader’s purpose? Why are they picking up your book?
What are they trying to achieve that they believe that your book will help them achieve. And what you want is a book idea that serves your purpose and their purpose at the same time. When that happens, sparks fly.
So that’s the first P. Purpose. And that may require you to do a little bit of digging and it requires you to be very clear because if your purpose is I want to make money. It’s too vague and you might be disappointed because books themselves rarely make that much money It’s usually what the books bring you that make you the money not the book itself.
So dig deeper. Why do you want to make money with a book when there’s better ways to make money? Maybe it’s because you want to get your message out. Why do you want to get your message out? Keep asking why until you get to that deep purpose. Because when you get to that deep purpose, it will help you choose the right book that aligns with that purpose.
And also, once you know what the purpose of your book is, then you can start analyzing this idea that I have for this book, and it serves my purpose. What purpose does the reader have for reading it? And If you can’t figure that out, tweak the idea until you can, because the book itself has no purpose if you don’t have a purpose for the book and the reader doesn’t have a purpose for a book.
Now, does it have to be a deep-abiding purpose? No. People pick up books because they want to be entertained. That’s not life-changing. It may be moment-changing, but it’s rarely life-changing. So, make sure you have a purpose yourself. And that you can tap into a reader’s purpose, a purpose that would make them not only fork over money to buy the book but actually sit down and read the whole thing. Because if the book isn’t read, it doesn’t do any good. I’ve got hundreds of books that are sitting on my shelf, completely unread. The author made a few pennies, but they aren’t getting my business either because I haven’t read it. So you need to have a compelling reason for them to read it so that they put down everything else and read your book.
So that’s the first pillar. Purpose.
The second pillar, the second P, is passion. And there are different ways to identify your passion for the topic. First, what topic are you uniquely suited to write about? These are the things that you have a life experience around, you have education around, you have, life experience around.
What makes you qualified to write about this topic? So, for example, when I was writing Public Speaking Super Powers, my qualifications were, number one, I was a Toastmaster, and by the time I finished that book, I was also a Distinguished Toastmaster. I had won several awards when I was competing in high school in speech. I had been studying speaking for a very long time. And, for the purposes of the book, I also interviewed almost a hundred speakers. So, no one else could put all those three things together. That’s what made me qualified to write that book.
Second thing you want to look at is what topic is your ideal reader excited about or interested in reading.
And when I say excited, I don’t mean like party time excited. I mean, they have either a burning issue they want to solve, and they think reading your book will solve it, or they have a deep interest in the topic. So for example, Public Speaking Super Powers is perfect for those people who really want to up their game in public speaking, but they’re new, they’re beginners, and maybe they’re not quite ready to join Toastmasters, maybe they’re not quite ready to take a class, or they’re being forced to take a class, and they really don’t feel ready.
The book gives them a nice foundation so that they can step into a speaking environment and speak. So that’s what would make a reader want to pick up my book.
It also, like, for example, maybe your topic is raising gerbils. Well, then the persons who’s going to pick up that book is someone who’s, maybe they’ve just gotten a gerbil. It’s their first gerbil, and they really want to take good care of this little critter.
So, a reader being interested or excited about a topic can come from a lot of angles.
It can come from their own life experience. They see something in your book that they’re relating to, or maybe they’re using the book to solve a problem, but basically they already are looking for a book like yours because they want to read your topic.
And finally, what topic lies in the intersection of these two things?
In other words, what are readers looking for that you are uniquely suited to talk about? That’s the happy place. Right there. So, of course, now you’ve got a purpose for writing your book. Readers have a purpose for reading it. You are aligning what you’re excited about with what they’re excited about.
If you’ve got both of these pillars down, you’ve got a very good chance of writing a decent book. But there are two more pillars you want to consider.
And the next one I call possibility. This means that once you’ve got your idea, you want to validate it. You want to make sure, am I just saying, Oh, this would be a great idea and I think readers will want to read it.
No, that’s not good enough. You need to actually go into the world and validate your idea. And actually in my MSV Framework, I actually walk you through a very specific validation methodology. Because you need to identify is your idea marketable? Will your book be marketable? And the way you figure this out is you do topic research.
What topics are people actually interested in and looking for information on? And you want to do a little bit of competitor research. And hint, if there are no competitors, you’ve got a problem because people probably aren’t looking for that book. You want to have other books that are on a similar topic.
Now, if you’ve seen my latest book that’s going to be coming out in January. It’s all about how to come up with an idea. When I did the research, I didn’t find any competitors, so that should have been a red flag for me not to do the book. However, that book is the linchpin of a series, and so strategically I have to have that book.
whether readers are going to read that book or not, more than likely after I market it, they will. But if that was going to be my only book, I would have just stepped aside and gone with a different topic. So the only time you’re going to write a book that And your validation, your research shows people aren’t interested in is if it is part of something greater and its key to it. Because the other books that I’m going to be writing won’t have a good foundation unless this first book is written. So I just want to give you that caveat.
So now you’ve got three pillars, purpose, passion, and possibility. And if you’ve got those three pillars, it’s highly likely that you are going to be writing a successful book. However, if you want your book to sell well now and moving into the future, you need to consider the fourth pillar, and I call that peerless.
You need to make sure that your book contains information that readers can’t find anywhere else. So how do you make your book unique?
Well, for one, you have your perspective. No one else has that perspective. And no one else is going to have that perspective because they aren’t you. So that makes your book peerless now and into the future. The second is, do you have a framework or methodology that you created that is your own? Now it may be based on someone else’s. It may be based on life experience, but you’ve tweaked it and made it your own.
So for example, my next book is going to have the MSV Framework in it, Mindstorm, Sift, and Validate. MSV. No one else has that. I created it. And if anyone else copies it and uses it, I could probably sue them. So yeah, it is unique to me. It is my framework.
Third thing that makes your book unique are your stories and your personality. When someone reads your book, they should say, I kind of feel like I know this person, she’s talking to me or he’s talking to me. They should get to know you in some way or at least feel like they’ve gotten to know you. And that adds a layer of connection with your reader that, again, can’t be done by anyone else because no one else is you.
No one else has your personality. No one else has your stories. So, that’s part of what makes it peerless. And finally, this is the secret brownie sauce. Now, it is not foolproof because eventually someone might use your book to do this. So you don’t want to just depend on this one, but it will make it peerless at least for the short term.
And that is what are readers looking for that they can’t find anywhere else? And the way you find this is you go, and you read Amazon reviews. And you read the ones that are like two, one, three-star reviews that say, you know, I was really hoping this book would tell me bleh. But I couldn’t, it didn’t.
There are reviews that have something along that language and what you want to do is pick one that you are uniquely suited to answer and include it in your book. So, for example, in Public Speaking Super Powers, when I was researching it, I knew that I wanted to include a chapter on using resources.
and quoting resources in your speeches because people need to do that often. And so I did all this research. No one else was talking about it, which only solidified my idea that I had to talk about it. Because when you’re writing a paper, it’s really easy to say, you know, in such and such a journal, blah, blah, blah, or add a footnote.
But when you’re speaking, how do you talk about these resources that you based your content on? There’s a unique way to do that. And that information is in my book and in no one else’s.
So now you’ve met the four pillars, purpose, passion, possibility, and peerless. What’s left? You need to understand what your readers want, because your book needs to include two things from the reader’s perspective. It needs to address the elephants in the room, and that is, what are they expecting to find?
Now, that could mean that you include the same topics that everybody else is including because you need to mention them. Or it could say, you know, everyone’s talking about X, but they’re dead wrong. But basically, you need to at least address the topics they are going to expect to find in your book, whether you debunk it, or you just mention it in passing.
You need to let them know that Yo, I actually do know this topic. I know you want this information, but here’s why you don’t need it, or here’s why you don’t need as much of it, in this book, because it’s outside of the scope or something like that. You just need to address those elephants in the room.
And again, you need to find what they’re searching for, but not finding, and add at least one of those things into your book. More than one is better, but at least one.
So there you have it. Make sure that your book idea has purpose for you and your reader; touches on your passion and the passion of your readers; is marketable– it’s possible to sell this book– and it’s peerless. It has content that people cannot find anywhere else, and it also addresses the elephants in the room. Once you know your book has all those things, you are well on your way to writing a bestselling book.
So, if you are ready to write your bestselling book that will build your authority and attract leads, then let me know. Drop a comment on this post and I will send you the QuickStart Guide for Writing an Authority Building Short Book.
This is Carma Spence with the end of this episode of The Author Switch saying Ciao for now.