Thursday, September 11, 2008

How to Choose a Good Topic For an Article

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Peter Phillips, an accountant from Canberra, Australia.

If you really want a topic to write on that will interest others, pay attention to what is going on around you and determine what interests you and other people. Think of any problems you may have recently had and solved also other problems that others have had and solved. Any problem that you have personally experienced and solved could easily be translated into an interesting article or book. Chances are that other people have had the same problem, and they would love to read how someone else have solved the same problem they have.

So, have a think about any problems in your life and in the lives of your friends and relatives. They do not necessarily have to be life threatening problems, but they do have to be interesting ones to which other people can relate. Has anyone lost their job lately? How did they manage? Did it give them a new start in life, one which they may not have considered while they had a steady job? While you're on the case, think of other unsolved problems you have come across. Are there any which are not yet solved? Good! People will really be interested in those. Here are a few ideas:

• How can a middle aged sedentary male lose ten pounds?
• How do you fix the registry on a PC?
• What's the quickest way to make money online?
• Has there been a teenage pregnancy in your family?
• If so, how did you deal with it?
• Do you know any money saving tips to cope with the ever-increasing cost of living?

Answers to these questions problems would be great topics for your articles or e-books. Remember, you don't have to know the answers yourself; you can always hire someone else to research the topic and write the book for you, or you can do your own research, using a search engine. You can do an online search for just about anything.

Research the most popular books from Click on "best sellers" - this will show what people are currently buying. Choose a book preferably non-fiction, and perhaps do a paraphrase of certain bits of it. Why non-fiction? Fiction readers tend to like physical books with covers and pages. They like to read books by their favorite authors - that's why the books you see at an airport usually have the author's name in bolder type than the actual title if the book. Of course fiction is difficult to write well, and you certainly wouldn't write an article of fiction. So stick with nonfiction unless you're feeling particularly bold and experimental.

Nonfiction books such as self improvement or making extra money are always popular, and will provide good topics for your article.

Don't worry that you are breaching copyright by paraphrasing parts of a book. Ideas are not copyrighted - copyright law only protects the way in which ideas are expressed, so provided you have done a complete rewrite, and have not copied book text outright, you will be safe. As an example, compare the storyline of "West Side Story" with that of "Romeo and Juliet". The idea of both works is exactly the same, yet they are completely separate works.

So, to summarize, find out what people are interested in, write about it, and become a successful article writer!

Peter Phillips is an internet entrepreneur living in Canberra, Australia
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