If you’re thinking of writing a book on real estate, a great starting point is often refining what you want to cover. You might have a long list of ideas to decipher to find which ones are most relevant. Or you could be drawn to a certain asset niche but need to research it further to see if an entire book could be based on it.
By evaluating the possibilities, you’ll have a better chance of choosing a topic that will work well for a book. Moreover, spending time upfront can help you identify what subjects your audience will find useful. When done well, the topic of your real estate book can help you move forward both as an author and in your professional career.
Use the following guidelines as you choose a topic for your book:
1. Think about Your Real Estate Expertise
What areas of commercial real estate do you specialize in? Do you have years of experience in the industrial segment? Once you have a broad idea of what you want to write about, consider how the topics could be broken down. If you’ve been involved in multifamily properties for decades, you might be able to share your insight on how to manage the business with readers. In addition, drawing from your expertise adds a layer of credibility to you as an author.
2. Analyze Your Target Audience
Do you regularly have others asking you for advice? Before I wrote “The Insider’s Edge to Real Estate Investing,” I started a podcast featuring leaders in the commercial real estate industry. I had a lot of content come in from that, and I also received many questions from listeners related to getting started in real estate. I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about who would read the book, and what benefits they would gain.
When you create avatars for readers of your book, it allows you to consider the challenges they’re facing. You can then address those obstacles and provide a solution in your book. This gives readers takeaways that they can use right away in their lives.
3. Find Out What’s Been Covered
In real estate, like other industries, a long line of books is already sitting on the shelves at bookstores. You’ll want to see where the gaps are, and how you could add value in those spaces. Before I wrote anything for my book, I read as many books on real estate as I could. I identified what was available for readers. More importantly, I found what was missing. While there were many fix-and-flip manuals, along with academic textbooks, I never came across a practical guide to get started in real estate investing. So I made that the main topic, and geared it for both newcomers and those who wanted to up their game.
4. Talk to Others About Your Book
Before sitting down to write, find other authors in the commercial real estate space and contact them. If you know someone personally who has publishing experience, ask them for insight. They might offer advice on publishing through a traditional company or self-publishing, and could even make an introduction to an agent or publisher on your behalf.
When I had an initial manuscript, I reached out to Francis Greenburger, a real estate billionaire who also owns a publishing company Sanford J. Greenburger through his family. He gave constructive criticism for the book and gave ideas that were implemented in the final version.
5. Know the Difference Between Evergreen and Timely Topics
While you may want to speak to current trends, you could also consider a subject that has a long shelf life. There are pros and cons for each option. Evergreen subjects such as best practices for selling might appeal to a wide audience for a long period. On the other hand, newsworthy topics such as the recent market trends could help you build a platform as a go-to expert in your industry.
As you review your topic, keep in mind that it could change over time. Your first idea could get adapted, especially as you share it with others and apply their feedback. By evaluating your passion, expertise, and audience, you can select a topic that both engages and resonates with readers. When done well, you can create a book that adds value to your audience and helps you move forward in commercial real estate.