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 i.e. ‘How to learn Twitter in a weekend’
  • Quotes
  • Hints and tips
  • Articles
  • Resource file

tipsHints & Tips

The hints and tips structure is similar to the quotations format, except that all the words are your own. You don’t need to go hunting for material as you will create it.

You will need a number of hints and tips and a bold offer in your title to make this kind of book work: i.e. 21 Killer Tips on Optimizing SEO so You Get More Traffic Fast!  That is a tempting proposition for a reader. It suggests they will get some fast fixes (tips are by necessity short and easy to do) for a complex problem that can be overwhelming and difficult to understand.

So, what kind of instant tips could you put together for your target market? What little changes can make a huge difference to results?


As well as a dynamic title you will need a dynamic cover. Create something that suggests action and has a bit of pizzazz. You cannot have a boring cover for this book.

How to use the hints and tips book structure

Choose a very tight topic. Narrow your book to one action, decision or problem that your target market faces. If you’re not sure, go and look on Amazon and look for top-selling titles. What problem are they about? Could you write a book of tips on how to deal with that problem?

Hints and tips books should excavate your core knowledge. You may want to check out what others have put but ideally, you need to go with what you think and not duplicate anyone else’s ideas.

1.      Who is this book for?frustration

Think in terms of someone who has started taking action around a specific problem but is encountering problems with the solution they have chosen and has got stuck e.g. someone who has a WordPress site but is having trouble with settings, widgets and plugins. They are frustrated by complicated explanations and they want fast fixes. Problems with software or a process that involves making a lot of decisions is a good area.

For example, setting up an Amazon Kindle account is long and there are a lot of decisions to make along the way. A book that explains what those decisions entail that is written in plain language and includes recommendations about to do is going to be a hit with a reader who has started setting up a Kindle account but has got stuck.

2.      What is their biggest frustration?

Once you have identified the biggest frustrations your readers are having with your topic area, you can begin to work out what to tell them. You may decide to do a series of tips that is methodical in its approach, for example, a step-by-step on how to set-up your WordPress site or Kindle account. You could then have a trouble-shooting section to help those who have set up get better results or divide the book according to the specific problems i.e. do they want to be in KDP Select? What pricing level should you choose? Which Widgets do you need? How do you use them?

Remember, your reader can get all a whole books and reams of web copy on this topic, what they want is to be told what to do and why in a way they can understand. For this reason, it is very important that you write in everyday, plain language and that you keep your information short and relevant. This sounds like a lot of information but it could be very simple and short to write i.e. “Choose KDP Select as this will allow you to promote your book for free. This means you will get more comments and ratings from readers, which in turn will get you better search results on Amazon and, in the end, more buyers.”

3.      Decide how many tips to include

Once you have an idea of the problem you are going to focus on you can begin to work out how many tips you need. Again, obey the numbers rule and go for 10, 21, 28, 30, 50 or 101. Create a heading for each tip and write one or two short paragraphs under each heading. If you need to write more than a few short paragraphs consider creating another tip. The whole point is to keep each tip short and doable for your reader.

Once you have made these key decisions, writing this book should be very fast and easy. You can either sit down and write the whole book in one go or tackle a certain number of tips per day. Whatever you do, keep your momentum going as a common pitfall with this kind of book is boredom for you as the writer.

Sometimes is it quite laborious to have to explain in detail what you know. Set deadlines that you can keep and don’t let yourself duck out because you start to lose interest. What may be dull for you to recount is probably going to be massively helpful for your readers and you will gain instant star status in their minds when you solve their biggest frustrations and deepest confusion.

So be a superstar. Share your knowledge and write a book of tips that will truly help your core readership.

You might also like

        »  Taking a step back can move your book forward faster
        »  Using the hints and tips book structure
        »  10 Keys to Successful Publishing
        »  The power of setting a deadline
        »  Using the ‘How to’ structure to organise your book content

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.