There is almost no limit whatsoever on the marketability of how-to books. Everyone wants an instruction manual, advice, and encouragement that they can do anything they read a how-to book for. Anything you know how to do, anything you've ever wanted to learn, or anything that's teachable at all, can become a how-to ebook.
How-to books for hobbyists are a good way to go, and this overlaps with the discussion above. A hobby how-to ebook could be anything from how to build a home from hay bales to how to play Texas Hold 'Em to how to understand Shakespeare. One book publisher knows how hungry we are for how-to information, and has created a whole series of "Dummies" books around the market. Further, there are other similar book series', and all of them are doing quite well! "The Everything" series, "Idiot's Guide" series and others are all cashing in on the how-to phenomenon.
You could cash in by creating ebooks on any or all subjects covered in any of those series'. Go to www.dummies.com, and check out their list of titles. Pick one you like, and move full speed ahead!
Remember that even though the books have "Dummies" in the title, that the books are as popular as they are because the readers are not treated like dummies at all. The authors cater to a person who wants to find out the easiest way to do something without too much tangential discussion. When you have your ebook written and when you choose a title, make sure you are appealing to a reader's smarts! If you use words like stupid, dumb, or hopeless in the title, make sure that it is clear that the meaning would not extend to insulting the individual reader.
Ebooks, because of their brevity and because they are marketed primarily on the Internet can target smaller audiences. You dont have to write a universal book like How to use a computer (which may not be interesting enough to sell anyway in this decade). Ebooks can cover more specific territory. Knowing this, you can 1) create your ebook in a specific way for a specific niche readership, and 2) create additional ebooks for different facets of the same subject, and sell each one separately!
Say you've decided to write an ebook (see http://www.writingcash.com) on fishing. (FYI, this is one of those hobbies where enthusiasts are willing to spend money!). You could create "How to Catch Freshwater Trout," "How to Tie Your Own Flies," or "How to Plan a Successful Deep Sea Fishing Trip." Almost anything related to the hobby can become a separate ebook depending on how much detail you include. Clearly, "How to put on waders," probably wouldn't be a great choice (though some would say it's impossible to underestimate today's consumer), because you would have to strain to fill up 60 to 100 pages on such a simple topic. You get the idea. The topic would need to be, in most cases, book worthy. Use good judgment.
Then, life itself requires instructions, as we know from "Life's Little Instruction Book." So, life also qualifies as a good how-to book topic. There are numerous subtopics, and you'll never run out of ideas. Here are a few examples:
- "How to ensure your child gets an A+ in math"
- "How to have a successful garage sale"
- "How to organize your home office"
And while we're on the subject of how-to books, I'd like to make one quick point. The titles of these ebooks do not need to be incredibly clever. Be sure the words "How to" are the first part of the title, and the rest should tell exactly what the ebook is about.
For example, which of these three titles would be best?
1. "How to have a successful garage sale."
2. "One weekend away from a cleaner house"
3. "How to sell your old shoes for a profit"
Although numbers 2 and 3 are clever, a little punchy, and correspond with the ebook content, I would still recommend using title number 1. "How to have a successful garage sale" sums it up pretty well and will catch the eye of an Internet surfer who is interested in putting together a garage sale and needs a how-to manual.
Anyway, back to the point. Any phase of life, way of coping with life, or large or small thing about life can be the subject of a how-to book.