Wikipedia states, “An essay is a piece of writing which is often written from an author’s personal point of view.” So an essay book is a collection of these writings.
An essay book can be written for any niche as long as you’ve got a handful of semi-related thoughts on the subject. You could also take a multi-author approach and solicit essays from other people in your niche.
- What is the state of your niche or industry and how does that make you feel?
- What initially interested you about your niche? Why were you drawn to it?
- How does your niche or industry make the world a better or worse place?
- Do you have any good stories about your topic that you can share?
- Minimalism: Essential Essays
- Spirit of Place: Letters and Essays on Travel
- The Having of Wonderful Ideas: And Other Essays on Teaching and Learning
- Gaming: Essays On Algorithmic Culture
- Essays On Governance: 36 Critical Essays To Drive Shareholder Value and Business Growth
- Classic Essays on Photography
- Essays on Music
12. Event guides
You’ve probably heard of of ComicCon, CES, or E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo). These are huge events that draw in tens of thousands of people from all over the world. Are there any similar (though likely much smaller) events that happen in your niche? Create a guide for the out-of-towners and other people that come to the events. Where should they park for the events? Where are the best places to stay? Where are the usual after-event parties? What are some of the must-see booths or must-meet people at the event?
Apart from things like expos or trade shows, are there any festivals, holidays, meetups, or conferences that you could write a guide for?
- What conventions, expos, trade shows, or other events occur regularly in your niche?
- Are there any one-time conventions or upcoming special events that you know of?
- What does someone who comes to one of these events need to know?
- How can people make the most of their attendance at these events?
- Moon Maya 2012: A Guide to Celebrations in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras
- The Non-Geeks Guide To Comic-Con
- Pamplona: Running the Bulls, Bars and Barrios in Fiesta de San Fermin
Checklist books can be either one checklist with a lot of detail about each item or a series of smaller checklists.
People love checklists because they get straight to the point and are immediately applicable; there’s no fluff to wade through. On top of that, checklists are great because they provide people with actionable, no-nonsense advice. They make complex processes easier, and they help people make sure they’re not leaving anything out or skipping a step.
- What complex processes exist in your niche?
- What are some things that people in your niche often forget to do?
- What are some things that people need to remember when planning for something in your niche?
- Checklists for Life: 104 Lists to Help You Get Organized, Save Time, and Unclutter Your Life
- The Leader’s Checklist, Expanded Edition: 15 Mission-Critical Principles
- The Patient’s Checklist: 10 Simple Hospital Checklists to Keep you Safe, Sane & Organized
- The First-Year Teacher’s Checklist: A Quick Reference for Classroom Success
If you’ve lived an interesting life or had interesting experiences regarding your niche (or know someone who has), consider writing a memoir (or biography). Broadly speaking, a memoir is a person’s life story, but you could also write a niche-specific memoir that focuses on just that aspect of your life. You could talk about how you were introduced to the niche, your ups and downs, and your amazing experiences.
- What interesting experiences have you had that others could learn from or find interesting?
- Has there been a central theme to your life (or your life as related to your niche) that you could center the book around?
- Have you experienced many ups and downs, struggles, and victories?
- On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft
- Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time
- My Movie Business: A Memoir
15. X for Y
One of the most popular types of niche book I’ve seen is the X for Y, where X is the topic the book is about and Y is the intended audience. In other words, you take a broad or general topic and aim it specifically at your audience, catering it to their specific needs.
- What are some how-to books that are currently popular? Can you apply the principles in those books to your niche audience?
- What is some knowledge that is helping a lot of people but that currently isn’t widely known by your niche audience?
- Smoothies for Runners: 32 Proven Smoothie Recipes to Take Your Running Performance to the Next Level, Decrease Your Recovery Time and Allow You to Run Injury-free
- Yoga for Fat Guys: From Lumpy to Limber in Just Six Weeks
- Applying Mathematics to Construction: Carpentry Mathematics & Estimating
- Power Walking: A Guide To Walking For Christians (No longer available)
- 12 Gardening Ideas for Seniors (No longer available)
16. Illustrated guides
Why not spice up what would otherwise be large amounts of dense or uninteresting text a bit by adding a bunch of photos or illustrations? Illustrated guides make use of images to convey information and meaning in a way that is potentially more interesting, helpful, and memorable.
- What concepts in your niche could be better explained and understood with graphics rather than plain text?
- Are there things in your niche that need to be identified and can best be done with photos or illustrations?
- The Comic Guide to SEO
- The Fundamentals of Style: An illustrated guide to dressing well (Style for Men)
- The Ultimate Hang: An Illustrated Guide To Hammock Camping
- Illustrated Guide to Home Chemistry Experiments: All Lab, No Lecture
- Radio: An Illustrated Guide
- An Illustrated Guide to Relativity
- The Illustrated Guide to Criminal Law
17. Buyer’s guides/Gear guides
A buyer’s guide helps someone decide what to buy. Go over the different options out there for various things in your niche and discuss their pros and cons. Talk about in which situations product X is preferable to product Y. How are you measuring the quality or lack thereof in each product? And which products should definitely not be purchased under any circumstances?
Climbing Magazine comes out with a gear guide/buyer’s guide every year. The shoes, harnesses, ropes, etc. are all weighed against their respective competitors. Your buyer’s guide could be similar that covers a wide variety of equipment or tools in your niche. Or your guide could be more focused. Keeping with the rock climbing example, a more focused guide would focus solely on climbing ropes.
Gear guides are closely related to buyer’s guides. They may not compare and contrast different versions of the same type of product, but they state in general what you should look for when you buy. For example, a computer gear guide would explain things like hard drive size and hard drive type but wouldn’t necessarily recommend any particular hard drive.
- What are some things to consider before buying popular products/tools/services in your niche?
- What are some of the purchasing decisions in your niche that a lot of people spend a lot of time and energy on?
- Are there any digital tools that you could compare, contrast, and recommend?
- Photographic Lighting Equipment: A Comprehensive Guide for Digital Photographers
- Girlfriends’ Guide to Baby Gear
- Be a Smart Horse Buyer: A Guide to Avoiding Common Mistakes and Finding the Right Horse for You
- What Fish? A Buyer’s Guide to Tropical Fish: Essential Information to Help You Choose the Right Fish for Your Tropical Freshwater Aquarium
- The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide: Tools and Techniques to Hit the Trail
- Which Mac Should I Buy?
18. Price guide
The purpose of a price guide is to help people figure out what their things are worth. To get data on what things in your niche are worth, go over to eBay and search the completed auctions for items in your niche. A lot of niches also have niche forums on which people buy and sell things, so you can scour those for pricing information, too.
You could also discuss things to be on the lookout for when buying items used and whether certain items should only be bought new.
- What things in your niche get bought and sold a lot?
- How can you figure out how much something is worth?
- What’s the lowest you ever saw a particular item sell for? The highest?
- Jan Foulke’s Guide to Dolls: A Definitive Identification and Price Guide
- 2013 Collector Car Price Guide
- Antique Trader Toy Price Guide (Antique Trader Toys Price Guide)
- Complete Price Guide to Watches 2012
19. Niche health and fitness
Regardless of what niche you’re in, there are people in it that want to be healthier and in better shape. Different niches have different physical challenges, and the goal of these niche health and fitness books is to help eliminate or mitigate those challenges and their associated risks.
- What unique health challenges do people in your niche face?
- What things can the people in your niche do to be healthier?
- Fitness for Travelers: The Ultimate Workout Guide for the Road
- Office Yoga: Simple Stretches for Busy People
- Weight Training for Cyclists: A Total Body Program for Power & Endurance
- Stress Management For Lawyers: How To Increase Personal & Professional Satisfaction In The Law
- Nutrition for Runners
- Poker Isometrics and Poker Fitness
- Shin Splints : Symptoms And Treatment Guide Running With Shin Splints
- Lasik Eye Surgery Risks : Lasik surgery side effects and complications
20. How to start
These books teach people how to start doing something. No surprise there. But figuring out how to start doing something is a huge problem that people new to every niche have. Trying to piece together disparate bits of information from scattered blog posts and online forums is no substitute for having everything in one place in book form.
The more detailed and focused these books are, the better. Another good strategy is to clearly explain what the person who reads the book will be able to do or understand by the end of it.
- What are some of the roadblocks in your niche that make it hard for people to get started?
- What are the very first steps that someone needs to take when getting into your niche?
- All About Hedge Funds : The Easy Way to Get Started
- How to Get Into the Bible
- How to Start a Running Routine and Become a Confident Runner: A Beginner’s Guide to Running and Jogging
- The Bag Basics – Get Started Training With A Bulgarian Training Bag (No longer available)