Before you start writing your book, you need to discover what sort of book you want to write and the easiest way to do that is by looking closely at what you enjoy reading.

There are other questions you can ask yourself that will help to winkle out your ideal book but if you begin by thinking about what you read, you will get a clue as to what is the right type of book for you to write.

Now, it could be that what you like to read isn’t what you want to write, but that’s okay because there are lot of other clues to be taken from your own reading.

Style & tone

What style are your favourite books written in? Is the writing style conversational or formal? Is the tone serious or light-hearted?


Do you like ‘how-to’ books that are practical and efficient, or do you like books that tell stories and use metaphors to get their message across?

Type of content

Is the content full of bullet points, lists and resource links or is it more of a narrative? Are there a lot of short chapters or a few longer ones?  Are the chapters very structured with lots of sub-heads or simple with only a few headings?


What format is the book in: Kindle, PDF, print? What format do you prefer to read in? How long (or short) is the book? Is it a classic or is it cutting edge? How did you hear about it: did you find it on Amazon, did a friend recommend it, or did you find it in a book shop?

favourite booksAnalyse your favourite books for clues

Begin by writing a list of ten of your favourite books (choose books that are similar to the type of book you want to write). Ask yourself the following questions about each book so you can identify why you like it or admire it.

  1. How long is it?
  2. What format did you read it in (is it your favourite format?)
  3. What is it about?
  4. What do you like about this book?
  5. What elements in this book would you like to copy in your book?

If you do not know what sort of book you want to write it can be difficult to get started because the choice of book open to you is too broad. When you start to look at books you enjoy or admire you can start to identify what you like. This can be both inspiring and motivating, but more than that, it will probably get you thinking, and hopefully ideas about your own book will start to flow.

You might also like

        »  Proof-reading – do you need it?
        »  How to handle a major competing book title
        »  What to do when your writing schedule falls apart
        »  A Brief Guide to the Book Publishing Process
        »  Add content to your under-length book

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.