Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

Book Ideas for Young Writers

Bonus: Writing every day is the hardest part of being a young writer. I’ve created a quick video training to show you exactly how to overcome this (click here to download).

You’re just getting started as a writer. Or you’ve been doing it your whole life. But you’ve never published a book. And you want to; you need to. You’re just not quite sure how to begin. What would it actually take?

No publishers are knocking down your door, but you feel like you’ve got a book in you. What do you do? Do you wait? Do you try to get noticed?

Maybe not. Maybe it’s time to get started now. Maybe you’ve already got everything you need to write your first book.

Here’s a list of ideas for writing your first book, both conventional and unconventional, that should help you get started. I’d love you to add to it.

FREE TRAINING: I’ve put together a free video to share my best advice on how to start a writing habit, so you actually finish the book you start. Click here to watch it now.

Writing ideas for first-time authors

  • Build a platform with a blog and let the publisher come to you.
  • Self-publish an eBook. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up like Amanda Hocking, earning herself a traditional book contract after selling 1.5 million books on Amazon.
  • Work on your book proposal. While I’m not a fan of waiting to be picked, writing a book proposal requires real work, and it can pay off. Getting an actual book deal still carries with it a lot of legitimacy.
  • Write a 1000-word electronic manifesto and give it away for free when people join your mailing list. (Here’s mine, along with a bunch of other bonuses and the training I mentioned above.)
  • Do something remarkable — an article, publicity stunt, a bike ride across the country to benefit charity — and earn the attention of an audience or a publisher. Then, tell your story.
  • Write and publish a novel, one chapter at a time, using Amazon Kindle singles, Wattpad, or sharing with your email list subscribers.
  • Write a print-on-demand book through a provider like CreateSpace.
  • Start a website on WordPress or Tumblr and use it write your book a chapter or scene at a time. Build a tribe through your subscriber list and then eventually publish all the posts in a hardcopy book, then sell it to your list.
  • Finance your own self-publishing project by crowd-sourcing through a Kickstarter project. Anne Jackson did this with her poetry book project.
  • Don’t write a book. There are too many unread books in the world. Instead, write a short pamphlet to spread an idea. This, as you may recall, was how ideas got around long before the Internet.
  • Write a short book of poems or stories. Long projects are daunting. Start small.
  • Write what you know. Maybe it’s a memoir of your a family or a how-to book about getting started with your favorite hobby.
  • Keep a journal. Then, rewrite the entries in a much more polished book format, but use some photo copies or scans of the journal pages as illustrations in the book. You could even sell “deluxe” editions that come with photocopied versions of the journal. (A little personal, but people would love it.)
  • Write an article that tells the absolute, brutal truth about the status quo. Call out a dysfunctional norm, something that’s wrong with the world that we all know but don’t talk about. Be bold, be honest, and demand action.
  • Write a series of letters to yourself 10 years ago. What would you say? Use this as a manuscript for a book that you pitch to a publisher or publish yourself.
  • Go non-traditional. Be the next William Faulkner or Ernest Hemingway. Be terse; go all stream-of-consciousness. Think outside the box.

So there you go. Those were some my best ideas for how to get started on your first book. And getting started is important. But finishing is the part that really matters, and it’s the hardest part.

Click here to learn my personal system for how to keep writing — every day, whether you feel like it or not — so you can finish every book you start.


Photo credit: qisur (Creative Commons)

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

It’s Not Too Late to Become a Writer

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  • P. Khaiyal Vili

    Hey Jeff and Ashley..Im just 16 and I am interested to write books. I just need a little help to start writing my first book. Can you guys give me some ideas on what kind of book can I write? In addition , I am a good tamil short story writer .
    Khaiyal Vili Palani

  • Isabela

    I’m eight years old and I’m entering a book contest for the montebello library and I need some ideas for my book

  • Isabela

    Fyi the book contest is in two weeks and it is on the 22nd of this month

  • Robby William

    Hi, i have a great fiction story. But i’m not a writer, i wish i could share this with you. Contact me : robbywilliam88@gmail.com

  • you should use wattpad to publish new stories you made up yourself. join it! its free and no downloads neseccary

    • Johnny C

      just beware of all the fanfics. THE HAT FIC. NEVER AGAIN.

    • Liv

      Or Quotev. I love it because it has books AND quizzes

    • Cora

      I use wattpad and it is a very good and reliable website. You can also get it a an app on google play!

  • Lays

    Good suggestions

  • Young writer

    I like funny stories and drama what do I write about

  • hi guys

    i have no idea….but i want to write a book

    • Anj

      Me neither… I like pirate but I don’t want to get sued from pirates of the caribbean beacause I used jack sparrow in the book… 🙂 any ideas ? I am so C O N F U S E D ! ! ! So yeah… I feel ya.

    • Jamie Eason

      Take your time with this
      Write ideas down on paper if this would help you

  • hi

    i am for some wacky reason, starting off huge for my first book:BIG MISTAKE

  • lol just here

    i have wattpad follow me i’m TheBigAuthor

  • Imantra Org

    Thanks for sharing such a nice idea with us. I am also a writer and this will benefits me in many ways.


  • nelly

    Im A twin

  • Jamie Eason

    I am writing a book on bullying


    hello i am looking for a wife / husband and i would like to eat you from alexander. PS im 32

    • Rascle


  • Maria

    i have a wattpad my name is: S1LV3R3N

  • Mya

    I need a few topics to write about and am having trouble coming up with ideas. Any recomendations? Please comment answers!

    • rth


  • Jordan

    I have wattpad! my name is: Tmi_Forever101

  • ___infamous___

    my wattpad is ___infamous___ ((three _s))

  • dkdkd

    Someone please read my book Lost Boy by (my username) kai_page23 thanks!! and soon I’ll have a new book out called Surviving The Capture. I think you guys would really, really like them. Help me get it to the top? </3
    Thanks :*

  • Kim willay

    I’ve a question for the author or anyone else here to give their take.

    For a first project should I go for a long form novel of one story OR. A collection of short stories?

    Is either preferable for a first timer?

    Is writing short stories good practice for a full novel or is it best to simply dive in?

    • Evannah Moniz

      To be completely honest with you, for your first time I wouldnt go out and do a long novel just yet. Maybe get used to writing first and have experience with it. I remember when I started writing it was my idea to start of big like that too but its very complicated if you dont know what you want to do.

  • Evannah Moniz

    Add Me On Wattpad, & Insta

    Insta: queen_evannxoxo
    Wattpad: nativepride1999

    • Shay.

      i’ll follow you, if you follow me 🙂 wattpad – SilverMyths

    • Shay.

      i couldn’t find you

    • Kat

      I’ll add both of you guys’. I have a lot of books in my library but I’ll read ya’ll books right way if ya’ll read mines. Heads up: I comment too much
      Wattpad: Catlilia

  • Shay.

    ADD my WattPAd – SilverMyths

  • Audrey

    Hi, Thanks for sharing your ideas with us!
    I have written several books on wattpad, and they have all turned out pretty well.

    I think my next step will be to write a series of chapter books, geared toward teenagers. I want to first self publish as an ebook and then publish. If you have any advice, could you please contact me? Thanks!
    Age 13

    • Talia James

      Is this Audrey day?

  • drakemanson26

    Interesting ideas ! I was enlightened by the insight , Does anyone know if my business can grab a sample Be 12b dept of commerce fill in form example to complete ?

  • Shae

    My Wattpad is SHAEBOO13 and I write fanfiction, hopefully I can get more comments and votes soon! x

  • Nur Masyitah

    I have a very strong desire in writing books, but I do not want to write an E-Book whatsoever. I am in the midst of writing a story, and I really want to share it to the world. I do have a blog, but it’s not really doing well. What can I do?

    Thank you,
    with 3 years of writing,
    Nur Masyitah, 12.

    • christina

      You should keep writing don’t give up until you get that bestseller.