Guest post: Your Next Bestseller: Tips for Writing a Book That Sells by Jamie Cawley

Tonight’s guest blog post, on the topic of marketing, is brought to you by Jamie Cawley.

Your Next Bestseller: Tips for Writing a Book That Sells

A major challenge we face as non-fiction authors is choosing a book topic that will sell.

Fortunately, the common availability of information on the internet means you can do a small amount of research to find out if there will be demand before you write a word!

There are five steps to follow that will get you from your idea to a book topic that will sell:

  • Step 1 – The Idea
  • Step 2 – Market Research
  • Step 3 – Target Market
  • Step 4 – Reaching Your Audience
  • Step 5 – Keyword Research

Step 1 – The Idea

Brainstorm ideas based on your own experience, skills and knowledge.  For non-fiction the reader is often looking for knowledge.  This will typically be knowledge that can improve their life, save them money or save time.

The first quick test to see if a topic will sell is to think of one sentence…

By the end of this book you will be able to _________.

If your topic was about dog training, your statement may be “by the end of this book you will be able to house train your dog.

For a topic to be successful, it needs to provide a clear outcome for the reader.

Step 2 – Market Research

Perception can be extremely deceptive, and what you assume people want, is not necessarily what they will want to read.

Do a Google search or visit to find discussion forums that relate to your topic and see what issues people are frequently talking about to see if your idea has demand.

Step 3 – Target Market

We next identify who our reader would be.  Gender, age range, physical location, economic bracket and education level are some of the basic factors to consider, not only write a great book, but also to market it successfully.

You can do this by visiting large websites dedicated to your topic and then looking at their information with tools such as to find out about their readers.

Once you have this understanding of your target market, create a dummy person that fits the profile, much as you set up a character profile if you are writing fiction.  Give them a name, age and basic background so that you can picture a specific individual that you are writing for and speaking to about your book.

Step 4 – Reaching Your Audience

Once you have a clear understanding of who will be buying your book, you need to know how you will reach them.

Questions you need to ask yourself are:

– Will this person read an ebook, or will they only read books if they are printed?

– Which websites will that person visit to find book recommendations?  Whose opinion do they trust?

– Where do they go daily online or offline?

Make sure you are able to map a path for the reader to find and buy your book.  There may be demand, but if you do not have a clear way to reach potential readers, you book will not sell.

Step 5 – Keyword Research

We can now narrow down our topic to look at exact phrasing that potential readers are using when searching for books.

This process is ‘keyword research’ and often gets overlooked by new authors, resulting in far fewer sales.

For your book idea, write down several phrases that you believe readers would be likely to search for.  Then check these with the Google Keyword Tool to find out roughly how many people search for that phrase each month.

For example, 1,900 people search for the phrase “how to house train a dog” each month, whereas 8,100 search for the phrase “how to house train a puppy“.

If your book idea fits both those categories, using a title and description that includes the phrase “how to house train a puppy” would bring more potential readers to you.

By following this five step process before you start writing your book, you can save yourself a huge amount of time and effort by improving your potential for success!

As someone preparing to launch two books (albeit my first two novels), that’s perfect timing. Thank you, Jamie!

Jamie Cawley is the author of over 39 books, including ‘The Self Publishers Guide to Book Marketing’. She started her writing career in 1999 and had her first book published 11 years later.

Jamie has experience writing articles, books, blogging and ghost writing on a wide range of non-fiction topics, and currently writes part-time while teaching new authors, entrepreneurs and small businesses ways to promote themselves and maximize their income. She is an active member of Women on the Web, the Published Authors Network, SEO Professionals Group, and the Women’s Network of Entrepreneurs. You can also find her at www.Alotta.Info, affordable book marketing for self-published authors.

A more about her book ‘The Self Publishers Guide to Book Marketing: Step By Step Guide For Fiction and Non-Fiction Authors’…

When first starting out self-publishing, it can be very confusing and expensive to promote your book.  Featuring step-by-step instructions, templates and examples so that you can quickly and easily promote your book and maximize your sales, this guide can be used by new and experienced authors alike.  All promotion methods covered are either free or very affordable.

Available (self-published) as a Kindle eBook and paperback from Amazon.

What others have said… “I am a published author on Kindle but the marketing part was always something I couldn’t get my head around until now.” -Pauline H, Australia


If you would like to write a writing-related guest post for my blog then feel free to email me with an outline of what you would like to write about. If it’s writing-related then it’s highly likely I’d email back and say “yes please”.

The blog interviews return as normal tomorrow morning with multi-genre author Michelle Bellon – the five hundred and twenty-first of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.

You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything… and follow me on Twitter where each new posting is automatically announced. You can also read / download my eBooks and free eShorts at SmashwordsSony Reader StoreBarnes & NobleiTunes BookstoreKobo and Amazon, with more to follow. I have a new forum, friend me on Facebook, like me on Facebook, connect with me on LinkedIn, find me on Tumblr, complete my website’s Contact me page or plain and simple, email me. I also now have a new blog creation service especially for, but not limited to, writers.

Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) 🙂 on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.

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