How to determine the subject of your next eBook

A great source of temporary cash is selling an eBook on a platform like or But one of the questions that I hear very often is: “How can I choose the subject to write about?”

On episode #42 of his Smart Passive Income Podcast, Pat Flynn interviewed a man named Jonny Andrews who has seen a lot of success with selling books on

After first hitting on the importance of producing quality material, Jonny talked a little about how to decide what the subject of the book would be:

“One of the big, big, big things that [my business partner] Hollis and I like to steer away from is the thrust that this is a business where we look at the dollar signs as the primary motivator, because the way that we look at this is, our goal when we create a book– whether we have that ghost written, whether we do it ourselves, whatever–the goal is to provide as much value to the end reader as humanly freaking possible.

That the book, when they buy it, whatever it is–it could be vampire fiction, zombie horror, who cares? “How to Toilet Train Your Cat,” I don’t care WHAT it is, the book is original, it is amazing and it is specifically amazing for THAT person that it is best suited for. What that does is it flips the entire equation around, because a lot of folks are like “Oh wow, how much money can you make?” The answer is, an astronomical amount of money, IF you first focus on providing value.

The equation really goes like this–you provide the most value possible to the biggest market possible, more than likely you’re going to see some pretty big returns.”

I thought that Johnny’s comments were interesting – focus on value first and money second. After all, readers won’t pay you money if you aren’t giving them any value.

Johnny then mentioned how to take advantage of popular trends in the literary world:

“You get the Twilight thing going on, and that sucks in all of these people, who are like “I wonder what else is out there?” So the whole genre benefits from these spikes, but the likelihood that you’ll manufacture a spike like that yourself? Don’t go for it. Because unless you really plan a looooong, long game, you’re probably not going to hit that.

Instead, what you want to do is shift your mindset to the natural eyeballs that Hollis was talking about. You’ve got natural readers in that genre. I would come up with maybe 5 or 6 different subjects and then check on the best seller list in Amazon under those subjects, and look at the top 6 books and see if their sales ranking falls somewhere between, let’s call it 2000 and 20,000. Because what that indicates is that there’s a natural flow of eyeballs there.

I guess that’s kind of the long and short of this. This is a subject that you’re interested in, and that you would be entertained reading a book someone else wrote on it. That’s good enough! You don’t need to be an expert, go find an expert!”

Thanks Pat and Jonny for the great info!

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