Generating Book and Article Ideas

By Robert W. Lucas

Struggling to come up with just the right topic or title idea for your book or article? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Instead take some time to take an idea excursion to see what others are writing about.

The following are six easy to access resources to help you generate ideas:

Books and periodicals. There are thousands of ideas available at your local bookstore or online if you just take the time to browse current titles and publications. Check out, or

Literature review. Take a trip though magazines, newsletters, and bookstore bookshelves. As you do this, be alert for repeated themes or topics and think about ways that you can address the same areas with a different spin or with pertinaent information that adds to, compliments or contradicts what you read.

Seminar/Conference topics. Are there topics that you see many presentations covering? If so, there must be a market for the topic.

Expo surfing. Wander through professional expos to view what is in print. Look for niches that are not filled or emerging trends that you can tap into.

Libraries. Your tax dollars pay for these valuable resources, so use them. A visit and chat with a reference librarian can easily point you in the direction of titles that focus on the genre or field in which you have an interest.

Customer/peer queries. Are you getting a lot of the same questions about a topic or workplace issue from customers, friends, co-workers or others? If so, maybe there is an unfilled need that you can help address with your book or article. Capture these queries in an idea file on your computer or in a hard copy format then use it to define your subject matter when you write.