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A great place to start is online newsgroups, forums and so on. Visit forums on topics that interest you and see what people are talking about. What are common questions? Identify common problems experience by people interested in topic.
Leave very specific questions like "What's hardest thing about...?", "What would you most like...?". Solve common problems these people encounter.
Follow these links to find forums, newsgroups and discussion lists on a vast range of topics:
-Topica: http://www.topica.com/ -Google Groups: http://groups.google.com/ -Delphi: http://www.delphiforums.com/
Another way to find out what people are interested in, is by finding out what they're searching for on internet. Follow these links to see what surfers are looking for:
-Search.com Top 100 Searches: http://www.search.com op -AskJeeves: http://sp.ask.com/docs/about/jeevesiq.html -Overture Suggestion - see how many people have used Overture search in past month for keywords you enter: http://inventory.overture.com/d/searchinventory/suggestion/
Brainstorming is about getting a group of people together to share ideas. This technique works best when all rational judgement is suspended. Nothing should be ruled out, every idea and contribution should be welcomed. Even ideas that, at first, might appear useless may lead to other ideas or further trains of thought.
The more thoughts that are introduced better brainstorming will work and better chances of coming up with really good ideas. Do this with family or friends and you may find yourself wondering which book to start first.
Also, ask family and friends to tell you things that interest them. Is there a particular problem that they would like to see solved. Could you solve it?
Often this questioning will provoke joking responses like "a big house, loads of money and a flashy car". Don't disregard flippant responses like these. They can tell you a lot about people hopes, dreams and aspirations.
If you can tap into people's dreams and make a product that will help them (even in a small way) to realize those dreams, you're on to a winner.
6.) LOOK AT THE BESTSELLERS LISTS FOR 'REAL' BOOKS
Go to your local bookstore and browse non-fiction sections. Take special note of which books are displayed most prominently (especially in "how to" and "self-help" sections).
This will tell you a lot about what people are interested in. You can also explore bestsellers on Internet at these websites: -Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/ -Barnes & Noble: http://www.bn.com/
Try taking a look at headlines in glossy magazines. Those guys know how to push all right buttons to get people to buy.
You'll probably find ten things you could research and write about just by browsing through magazines that interest you (health, beauty, fitness, money, sport etc). The most inticing lines are always written on front cover.
7.) MAKE A DIFFERENT VERSION OF AN EXISTING PRODUCT
There are some areas of knowledge that are already well covered by numerous authors (real-estate, for example).
Perhaps, however, you can identify a specific aspect of a given subject that hasn't been covered (real estate in a particular state or region, real estate aimed at a particular type of buyer, and so on). No matter how specialized, marketing power of internet can be used to reach almost any niche market.
And there you have it! Seven ways to go about finding perfect ideas for your next ebook.
Michael Hopkins is owner of BizzyDays Ebook Publications. Visit now to download original ebooks for FREE at: http://www.bizzydays.com This article first appeared in Michael's newsletter 'Ebook Times'. To subscribe visit: http://www.bizzydays.com/free_newsletter.htm