View Full Version : Ideas for non-fiction books

04-25-2008, 02:52 AM
Hi everyone,

I'm new to this board, just wanted to say hello. Anyhow, I am the author of two non-fiction books, and am getting ready to propose my third. I'm interested to hear about how others get their ideas for their books. Do you tend to "write what you know" or are there particular topics that have always interested you?

For me, I tend to write what I know, though I'm not an expert on the topics, in terms of having a career in those fields.

Where do you come up with your ideas? Or do you answer ads for book authors from job boards?

04-25-2008, 04:03 AM
I write what I know, which is knitting.

04-25-2008, 04:29 AM
I just had ideas for my three books. The first one, shown in my avatar, was about a subject I was interested in, and I wanted to write about it. It was a book that hadn't been written before.

I have concrete ideas for three more nonfiction books, but:

Book 1. Agents queried with a proposal showed no interest.

Book 2: I could not find the right people to contact regarding the subject matter.

Book 3: See above.

These books are about subjects that interest me, subjects on a national level, but are on a mental shelf while I work on my novel.


04-25-2008, 07:59 AM
From everywhere and anywhere. Beyond thinking, I have learned to use my 5 senses to be the possible stimuli of an idea. I don't do anything special except keep all the antennas up and running. I have learned to consider most everything as a possible idea for a book. The books I've been fortunate enough to have published cover a range of individual ideas and subjects, most all of which have nothing in common (other than they are all nonfiction).

04-26-2008, 08:14 PM
I just write about what I know or have a background in. This is constantly changing as I get contracts or have to do research in new areas - which in turn inspires new ideas for new books. I've never just sat down and said "I want to write a book on such and such" and then gone about it that way. I always start from my background and what I know and then move forward from there. I limit myself this way (there are tons of books I could write because I've identified a need in the market), but I don't feel comfortable going about it that way.

Just my personal style.

05-14-2008, 08:45 AM
I'll be writing "what I know," for my first project(s) regarding computers and electronics. I have plenty to draw from. If I weren't extensively knowledgeable about any given topic, I wouldn't consider anything on it without really researching enough to be confident I understood both the community surrounding the idea, the theory around it, and how it actually works, which would be a rather long process in all likeliness.

Steve Collins
05-21-2008, 08:24 PM
My two books were autobiographies which made life a lot easier, or so I thought. However, because of the nature of the books I had to get legal counsel on issues such as: Contempt of Court, Slander, Libel and breach of the Official Secrets Act. On top of that they had to be written in such a way that I wouldn't jeopordize future Police Operations by revealing tactics or Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's). That said, writing about events that have happened in your life are relatively easy. I admire the fiction guys because although I have hundreds of ideas on novels I wouldn't know where to start.

Dale Emery
05-22-2008, 12:18 AM
First I noticed a challenge that many change agents struggle with (resistance to change). Then I studied and spoke about resistance for 10 years or so and became moderately expert in responding to resistance. Then I started to write the book.

I can't write about a topic unless I have great personal energy for it. I (sometimes) envy writers who can somehow create the energy to write about things they don't have a great personal stake in.


05-24-2008, 06:53 PM
I write what I know, AND, what I am interested in, typically they are the same subjects. As for job boards, never bid on a job with a job board before, they all seem to be ridiculously low in terms of payment and many seem to be in the "I need to have my life story written by a professional ..." with a meandering message attached.

05-29-2008, 08:30 PM
If I only wrote what I know, I wouldn't be writing too much. I think interests play a big role, as well as real life. Sometimes combing through newspapers, books and magazines helps, too. Anything is a potential story, from something/someone unusual at the supermarket to "heavier" occurances. You have to be open to possibilites. That's what works for me, anyway.

05-29-2008, 10:41 PM
Mine just "show up." I have this big, wide-bore pipe bolted to the back of my skull. Ideas (for essays, non-fic books, novels, plays, short stories) pour down the pipe non-stop. All I do is transcribe.