About 10 years ago a psychic/intuitive whose books I was editing told me my guides had a message for me.

He said, “They say you’re going to have a big organization.”

“It’s going to be online.”

“It will be kind of like ‘Kelly Notaras University.’ Not exactly that, but close.’”

“You’re going to teach a lot of people, and your guides are very excited about it.”

Tears streamed down my cheeks as he spoke. Not tears of joy, as you might assume. Tears of despair.

At the time, I wanted nothing more than to say YES to that vision. I wanted to be speaking, teaching and…well, helping. Helping lots of people.

So why the tears? Because I simply could not imagine it happening.

After all, I wasn’t a teacher or a speaker. Not even close.

I was “just” a book editor. What could people possibly learn from me?

(Perhaps you feel the same. Perhaps you’re “just an accountant” or “just a mom” or “just a therapist.”)



I wasn’t being shy or humble, I assure you. I quite literally did not think my experience as a book editor would be useful to anyone at all.

I was convinced that in order to be of service to the world, I would have to pivot toward something “more spiritual” and/or “more important” than books. And I didn’t have a clue what that could be.

I made a list of all the possible topics I could write, speak and teach about. Meditation…relationships…drawing. (I was very into drawing at the time, ha!) Books didn’t even make it to the list!!


I did not see what was right in front of me.

I didn’t see that I had gathered uncommon expertise via my career. To me, it was “just books.”

I didn’t notice that other people, friends and strangers alike, would perk up when I told them I was a book editor.

I deleted how often I was dishing out advice about writing, publishing and marketing—at dinner parties, at the yoga studio, even on blind dates!


People wanted the information I had.

But to me, it was “just books.” Not important enough to form the heart of “Kelly Notaras University.”

(And of course, you’re now reading this article at www.knliterary.com. Not exactly “Kelly Notaras University,” but—as that psychic had predicted—close!)

If you’re struggling to pick a topic for your book or a focus for your business, you might be like me. Missing what’s right in front of you.

So do this simple exercise. Over the next week, pay attention to the questions people are asking you.


What advice do people come to you for?

Maybe it’s about parenting, or cars, or travel. Maybe it’s about nutrition, or raising chickens, or how to organize a messy desk.

Each of those people coming to you is a potential book buyer. They are asking you for your wisdom, and you can trust them.

The topic may not seem like much to you—it may feel like “just books”—but to others, it’s life-changing wisdom.

Remember: There are two things that make a book of nonfiction stand out in the marketplace. The first is a huge author platform, because it helps light the fire of sales, which begets more sales.

The second is a topic people urgently want to know about, and for which there is not a lot of competition.

Notice what people are already urgently asking for your help on.


You’re the resource they’re turning to when they have nowhere else go to.

Consider writing a book on that topic. Consider starting a business to help those clients. I am living proof that it works.

Are you one of the people who used to ask me for book advice? You don’t have to corner me at a dinner party. You can sign up for a free call with an editor right now!


Kelly Notaras is the founder of kn literary arts and the author of THE BOOK YOU WERE BORN TO WRITE: Everything You Need to (Finally) Get Your Wisdom Onto the Page and Into the World, published by Hay House. An editor for 20 years, she’s worked at HarperCollins, Penguin, Hyperion and Sounds True. She speaks regularly at the Hay House Writer’s Workshops and offers consultation by appointment. Find out more about how she can help you with your book.