Before you get too deeply involved in the actual writing of your nonfiction book, it's critical that you research your topic. The purpose of doing book research is to (1) make sure there is a market and potential demand for what you are writing, and (2) gather material for your book. To help you in your research work, here are some tips that might be useful.
Bookstores. Visit a few bookstores with a notepad. Large stores have a wideer selection. For example, downtown stores may have a greater selection of business books, while stores in the suburbs may have more books on parenting and relationships. Be sure to visit neighborhood bookstores as well.
Look on the shelf where your book would be. Think: If someone were to see this book, would they also be interested in my book?
Online. Log on to an online store such as Amazon.com. and search for your category of book. See all of the books in your field. Make notes regarding books that are close to your project. At Amazon, readers evaluate books. Amazon also provides sales rankings to tell you how books are selling against each other.
Magazines. How many periodicals serve the group(s) you want to sell to. If there are a lot of magazines for your audience, there may be a lot of potential buyers for your book. Also, some of these magazines may be good resources to solicit book reviews.
Associations. Look to see how many clubs and associations may comprise potential buyers.
Stores. It is highly possible that you will sell far more of your books through specialty stores than bookstores. Look for stores that you believe your potential buyers would frequent.
Events. Where do your potential buyers voluntarily come together because they have like interests? What events do they attend? Relevant conventions and other events are good places to sell individual books and to make contacts.
Research such as this will enable you to get a good feel for what has been published in your topic area and what hasn't been done, what is selling and what is not, as well as how much you can charge for your book. Conducting your research early on in your book project will enable you to get started in the right direction.