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My Favorite Resources for Keeping Track of Book Ideas


Any successful businessperson is full of new ideas, some of which become great products and services. Others never make it out of your head and onto paper, but that’s a shame. As an “idea person,” you can never be sure which ideas are most worth pursuing.

Translating your ideas from thoughts to written words is the best way to take stock of everything brewing in your mind. Sometimes reading it back to yourself later makes it easier to see whether it’s viable or interesting enough to act on.

Every great idea can become a great story. Great stories make for great books.

How many of your great ideas could easily be turned into great books? How many dollars are you passing up by not publishing those books and how many business opportunities are you missing out on by not being a published author?

The answer is probably more than your realize or give yourself credit for.

The problem is that successful people are always busy, making it easy for your good ideas to slip through the cracks of your mind. Today we’re going to share some of my favorite resources for keeping track of all your book ideas to ensure that you don’t lose any that may be a bestselling book.

#1: Arm Yourself With Pens and a Notebook

Yes, this is a little old fashioned. However, it’s also dependable and doesn’t rely on any technology like most of the other items in this list.

Take a pen and notebook with you everywhere you go. The idea is to have it easily accessible at any time of the day or night. Think of it as your wallet or purse — those things probably go with you everywhere.

The truth is that ideas, like dreams, quickly escape us if we fail to create reminders for ourselves. Write them down as soon as you have them, or they will quickly fade away completely.

#2: Voice Recorders and Speech Recognition Software

I understand that not everyone cares for the pen and paper experience. The equivalent is to have some sort of recording device on you at all times instead. Luckily, most of us already do.

Smartphones and even traditional phones all come stock with some type of voice recorder that you can use to store your book ideas as they come to you.

Another helpful tool if you are usually at a desk or have a laptop with you is speech recognition software. Dragon Naturally Speaking is one of the more popular solutions and boasts a high level of accuracy.

#3: Note Taking Apps

Evernote or something similar works great for keeping notes and recording your book ideas before they escape you. The added advantage is that your ideas are stored in the cloud, which means they are safe from being destroyed or lost. Personally, I recommend keeping a copy of all your handwritten notes somewhere online as a backup in case you lose your notebook or it gets damaged.

Most online services auto save your work, which is a life saver if you happen to lose your internet connection and haven’t saved the document you’re working on yet.

Dropbox is another useful online service with an extra edge over other tools because it synchs the documents that are on your hard drive and essentially creates a backup of all your folders online.

Finally, I have dozens and dozens of notes in my iPhone with headings that make sense to me when I need to pull up that crazy cool idea I had for a new book or blog post while meeting with my last client.

#4: Mind Mapping Tools

Similar to note taking apps, mind mapping tools are another great way to organize and keep track of all your book ideas. In fact, they are probably one of the more manageable ways to keep track of your ideas due to their collapsible node structure.

In my experience, it works best to create a new mind map for each book you are collecting ideas for. If you’re new to using mind maps, you could use the following structure as the foundation for your first map:

The light green bubbles are your main groups. The darker green ones are sub nodes of those groups so that you can get more specific and add your actual ideas. This works well to keep things orderly. Of course, this is just a suggestion and there are many ways to effectively use mind maps. We suggest experimenting a bit to find a system that works well for you.

There are countless online mind mapping apps, or Free Mind is a great desktop software if you prefer.

What do you use to keep track of your book ideas? Would getting your first book written be easier if you used the types of tools we’ve covered in this post? We could go on all day about different resources, but we feel that these are a great place to start if you are working on your first book.

Bonus: Google Alerts

This one is my secret, secret source for getting new ideas. For example, I was helping a client work on a new book on slip and falls and I started an alert with that phrase. I opted for getting updates daily rather than as they happen or at the end of the week. I found that after a week or two I started seeing all kinds of new ideas I could add to the client’s book. This last idea falls into the category of things you don’t know until you know about them. If you want help figuring out what kind of Google alert might be good for a book you are working on feel free to email me (melissa @ or click on the contact page here on the site.

Melissa G Wilson

Melissa has been a leader in the book writing, publishing and marketing arena for the past two decades. To date, she has helped more than 100 thought leaders write, publish and market their books. Her clients include executives such as Dan Weinfurter a seven-time Inc 500 winner and Orlando Ashford, President of Holland Cruise Lines.

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