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When writing your next (or first!) book, you have to consider that the current market is going to be favor the quick and the bold in terms of how fast you pick up on trends and hot topics. When people look at books, there are a few initial questions they will need to be answered right away in order for it to keep their attention:

  • Is it relevant to your readers?
  • Does it answer questions they might have about a certain topic?
  • Will it provide some sort of entertainment?

Keep in mind, this is before they even start to decide whether or not to buy it. As an author, you need to tap into the minds of your audience even before you set the first words to your document.

Is It About Something People Want to Know Right Now?

This is a key question to answer. Is there a market for your book in the first place? For things to succeed in the current marketplace, they have to tell consumers right away what kind of content to expect. This doesn’t mean that your title has to sound like clickbait; you just need to make sure that the very first glance a potential customer has at your work will be something worth their time. Book writing of any sort, but especially hard copy books, has to work with what is popular in the at the time of its publication, or what could’ve been a bestseller will be a complete flop.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue topics or stories that you are passionate or excited about, but if you are for any reason wondering what to write about, it would be smart to check out what everyone else wants to read about.

Does It Play Into Something That’s Hot?

So, how do you know what the trends are? Don’t just look at the best-sellers list. Look at how well books are selling in the subjects you want to write. How much competition do you have? Scale your pitch to the size of your market and the supply-and-demand going on. Don’t restrict yourself to the book/book markets though! What is commonly discussed on the news? What movies are coming out, big and small screen? How much competition do you have across all media platforms? Do your research on a book idea’s potential competitors before you decide to go all out and write it.

There are always topics that people will be excited about. People love to read about themselves (usually). If your work can be read in a way that people can apply it to their own life, fiction or not, then they’re more likely to consider purchasing it. For example, astrology is a huge trend among millennials, and could be an excellent topic to write on. People particularly like learning about their astrological natal charts, horoscopes, and sign compatibility. Most everyone will love to stumble across an book that feels like opening up a fortune cookie.

A few other trends, besides astrology, include politics, dystopian/apocalyptic topics (although keep in mind that this one is on its way out), mystery stories, holistic health, self-improvement, DIY guides, and, as always, romance. The best place to stay on top of what’s hot is to frequent the Word on the Street section at Kirkus.

Does the Author Know What They’re Writing About?

People do look at the bios for authors! Aficionados can tell just from your title and description if you really know your subject, and many people look for authors that have something to say about their experience with a topic before they even decide if they’ll read the excerpt. Pick something to write about that you are passionate about and have experience with somehow. Remember, your brand is you when you’re an author! Be sure to utilize writing resources and other help to spruce up your writing before you publish to avoid having your name negatively associated with bad books.

What Comes Next?

A customer decides you’re well-informed and that your topic is relevant enough to delve in deeper. How do you know people will actually buy your book? Let’s go through another set of key questions.

1. Is this information that could be obtained for free?

People hate to pay for things (especially more than a few dollars) that they could just look up on a search engine and find a free competitor. If you want your book to make money, you have to make it lucrative. Your potential customers will gauge how much they think your product is worth by what you put forward in the very beginning. Make sure your best work is there! Hooking readers increases the value of your book right away.

The fact of the matter is, you have to give potential customers a reason to believe that it’s worth money. People can barely part with .99 cents for online ebooks these days, so you have to make your book worth the cost. That’s why it’s important to know your competitive advantage; what does your book offer that other sources don’t? In addition, when it comes to physical books, you’re going to want to make sure that it’s design and overall aesthetic is pleasing to others, as it will be a determining factor if people will want to buy.

2. Will people want to read this book more than once?

Re-readability is important! A lot of authors make the mistake of not considering how much a reader will want to revisit their work. The best works, as we all know from our favorites, are ones that are even better on the second, third, or fourth reading. Does your book idea have re-readability? Is it something they can continue to take more from every time? Keep these questions in mind as you work and research and decide on new directions for your book.

The very most important thing about any author’s work is when the author themselves would pick it out and read it themselves if it were by anyone else. Always think of that when you wonder how much value your book has.

For further research on what’s trending, you can always check personal library sites’ lists of trending books (such as this one), and global publishers that can give you book specific trends (such as here). In the world of publishing, on your own or through a company, timing is always a huge part of the game. Watch for the trends to go in favor of some of your ideas before sending them out into the world, and watch them flourish! Just remember: if you want to read it, then someone else out there probably does too! If you time it right, and do your research, your chances of succeeding are much, much higher.