If you think you have no topic and nothing to say, here are seven ideas for coming up with a book you can write fast:

  • Get interviewed
  • Interview someone else
  • Write a list of ‘ways to’ or ‘resources for’ etc.
  • How to ‘How to learn Twitter in a weekend’
  • Quotes
  • Hints and tips
  • Articles
  • Resource file

Creating a book from a list

Creating a book based on a list – or even a series of lists – makes structuring and writing a book especially easy.

We all value information that is delivered to us in an easily consumable format and lists are a great of doing this. They present information in an amazingly easy-to-digest format that makes the information accessible, simple to use and fast to review.

Another benefit is that there are masses of list ideas you can come up with without having to think too hard. For example:

  • 21 ways to… (get more clients, publish your first website, choose a family pet)
  • 101 top resources for… (online publishers, sports teachers, speaking coaches)
  • 50 of the best… (foods for losing weight,  call-to-action phrases, special offers ever made)
  • 28 top quality… (free image sources, UK spa destinations, book designs)
  • 7 great … (dog breeds, author manuals, Facebook Marketers)


If you’re going to use the list format, you need to use a number. There are some numbers that work better than others. For example: 7, 21, 30, 50, 99, 101 and 1000 seem to resonate with us particularly well.

Of course, you need to have some idea what you are going to list and how much you are going to write about each item. If you are writing a long list,  you are probably not going to say a great deal about each one. A shorter list will require you to say more.

Dividing your list

You may choose to sub-divide your list, in which case you will need to explain why you have done this and write a short introduction to each new section so the reader understands your thinking and what you have provided.

The benefits of being list-makerlists

You may think that creating a list is a bit of a cheat for a book. But list-writing falls into the curating category of content creation and being a curator carries great authority. After all, Samuel Johnson’s first dictionary was effectively a job of curating the English language. It was a fairly gargantuan job, but you’re in the same business.

By researching and selecting material to put in your list you are saving your readers a great deal of time and effort. This is highly valuable, so although this may not be your signature book full of your deepest thoughts and philosophies on your field of knowledge, it is a book that is likely to be used many times over, referred to and recommended, making it a great business-building tool.

How do you create a book from a list?

Before you begin, you will need an idea for your list. Think of resources you use on a regular basis or would like to have available.

  1. Choose your subject: books, ideas, techniques, foods,
  2. Why are you selecting these items? Are they the best, worst, most useful, etc.
  3. Decide how many things you want on your list (this will partly be dictated by how much you want to write about each item).
  4. Write a quick list of as many items as you can think of right now.
  5. Do you need to sub-divide your list? If so, choose your sections. If you are sub-dividing, decide how many items you want in each section so your list is balanced.
  6. Organise your list into an order that works – it might just be a random list.
  7. Decide what information is going to be included for each item on the list and create a template you can fill in for each one.
  8. Do any research necessary and check your information to ensure it is accurate.
  9. Write your list.
  10. Write your introduction to the book (and your sections if you have them)

In short, this boils down to three actions:

  1. Choose
  2. Research
  3. Write

Lists can be a fast and easy way to produce a book because they often don’t require a lot of writing, the structure is simple and the topic is defined. It is likely to be a book that gets used a lot and as the curator of the list, you will be seen as an authority on your subject who is willing to make decisions and invest time and effort into creating a useful resource. As such, you will be seen as a leader and will likely attract followers quickly.

So, if you’re not ready to write your signature book but you want to get started publishing a book for your business, the list could be a great way to get into print fast.

You might also like

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        »  Criticism or Feedback – Which is it and do you want to hear it?

Deborah Taylor
Deborah Taylor

Hi, I'm Deborah Taylor and I'm a publishing consultant and book-writing mentor. I work with established business owners who want to share their message by writing a book but are struggling to get started (or finished). I help them write, publish and launch a stand-out, attention-grabbing book that will raise their profile, reach more of their ideal clients and grow their business. I am a trained editor with over 15 years' publishing experience with major blue-chip UK publishing companies such as Hodder & Stoughton, BBC Books, Cassell and Pearson. I have produced books on every subject under the sun and with professinals and experts from a wide range of professions, from chefs and gardeners to life coaches and career consultants. I would love to help you write a book you love and that will raise your profile, attract new clients and bring you exciting new business opportunities.