How To Start A Non Fiction Book – Do you want to write a non-fiction book? Not sure where to start or how to do it?
This article will walk you through a step-by-step guide to the process. You start by thinking about your book and structuring it before diving into the actual writing.
- 1 How To Start A Non Fiction Book
- 2 Non Fiction Writing Bundle
- 3 Non Fiction November
- 4 Best Non Fiction Books Of 2022
- 5 Nonfiction Blueprint — Jennie Nash Book Coach
How To Start A Non Fiction Book
If you need more help, check out How to Write Nonfiction: Turn Your Knowledge into Words, available in ebook, print, audio, workbook, and large print editions.
My Favourite Fiction And Non Fiction Book Pairings — Keeping Up With The Penguins
I’m currently writing my fifteenth nonfiction book with more planned, and my process is pretty defined these days. I find writing nonfiction books to be a “palate cleanser” between novels. It’s a very different form of writing, more structured and more aimed at helping others.
This article applies to most non-fiction works, but excludes memoir or narrative non-fiction works, as these are quite specific forms.
Before you start writing, it’s worth deciding on your definition of success, as it can be key to making the process satisfying for you.
Some authors “just want to help people” with their nonfiction books, others want to win literary prizes, still others want to make money. It is very unlikely that a single book will satisfy all of these desires, so you must decide which one is most important to you.
Non Fiction Writing Bundle
Here are the main reasons why authors want to write nonfiction books in particular and some of the possible definitions of success:
Once you have decided on your definition of success, you then need to decide on the specific subject of your book.
First, put yourself in the reader’s head. Why do people READ nonfiction? And what does this have to do with your idea?
If you already have an author platform, blog, podcast, conference, or other business, you already know who your readers are, but for many nonfiction authors , the public is taken into account.
Non Fiction November
The book is written and they are wondering how to market it. But understanding who your reader is before you write will help you a lot, and all the time you put into it now will help you later.
You should know about 5-10 books similar to the one you want to write, or at least aimed at the same audience.
Search for these books on Amazon, then look at the subcategories on the left side of the page. This is where the book is located in the virtual store. You can then click on these subcategories and find other books belonging to the same niche.
These questions should help you narrow down the specific topic you want to cover in the book as well as your target market. Expanding on my previous examples, more specific topics could be:
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[If you need help finding categories, check out this tutorial on choosing categories by Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur.]
Now that you have your specific topic, you can think about what areas you will explore in detail in the book. At this point you need to go wild and go all out. You will probably delete a lot of it and some of your ideas might even end up in another book.
, I had a whole section on mindset. But it became a monster topic, so I cut that part out and wrote The Successful Author Mindset.
This part of the process is where I start using Scrivener. I create a draft for the book and a document for each idea. Most of these will be merged or deleted later, but I’ll just write whatever comes to mind at this point. You can use a Word document, Evernote, or physical index cards, but you need to capture everything at this point, even a few words for each idea.
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This is also a time to focus on research and expanding your knowledge of the topic you are writing about. I usually read a number of other books on the subject to get more ideas and since I’m a research junkie, I can definitely dedicate a lot of time to this part of the process!
Some writers can get stuck in this phase for too long, so set deadlines and make sure you stay focused on the end result.
I always like to know the title of my book in advance, but of course you can decide that later.
Nonfiction book titles have an advantage over fiction because they can be keyword-rich and specific enough to find through search while still making sense to the reader, whereas fiction is virtually impossible to find. title with associated keywords.
Best Non Fiction Books Of 2022
For example, my thriller, Gates of Hell, is more likely to be found by those shopping in the action, adventure, and supernatural thriller subcategories, rather than those specifically searching for “gates of hell.” ‘hell “.
It is specifically titled for keyword search purposes and appears first on Amazon for that search term.
Simply go to Amazon and search using the search bar in the Kindle subcategory. Start typing and there will be a drop-down list of text like above that includes the most popular search terms people are searching for.
I spend a lot of time thinking about different words and checking them out that way before deciding on a title. Longer keywords (keyword phrases) are sometimes even more useful, so I will simply add a letter at the end of the search, e.g. gluten free a, gluten free b, gluten free c, so you can see what else is out there.
Of The Best Nonfiction Books Of All Time
Write down as many relevant keywords as possible, even if you don’t use them in the title, because they will come in handy later if you self-publish.
Choosing the right subcategories and keywords is one of the most important aspects of self-publishing. I recently used a few reasonably priced K-lytics reports to determine what data to use for new books and also reposition older ones. I hate manipulating data, so it’s great to find someone who loves it and makes it easier for all of us!
You may already have a lot of material for the book, in one form or another. If you are a speaker on a topic, you can have a presentation or handouts with PowerPoint or KeyNote. You may have piles of notes for your research or lists of recipes. Or it could all just be in your head.
Now you need to make a first draft…and it can be harder than it looks! Most people who want to write a book never finish it and finishing the first draft is usually where they fail.
Nonfiction Blueprint — Jennie Nash Book Coach
My definition of a first draft is a version of your book that can be read cover to cover and constitutes a cohesive whole. It doesn’t say “fill this in later” or “write another section here.”
Yes, it will be difficult and will require editing, but to get to a finished book you need a first draft to work from. Your finished book can be compared to Michelangelo’s David, a perfect statue emerging from the block of raw marble. But first you have to create that block of marble, and for authors, that’s the first draft.
This is particularly useful if you are already a speaker and have a lot of material in the form of PowerPoint slides or even recordings of your talks or even rough notes. Speak into a digital recorder, create an mp3 file, then use a service like Otter.ai, Descript.com, Trint, or Speechpad to transcribe it into text, which you can then bring into the editing phase. Click here for more tips on how to dictate your book.
This method has changed my own writing life, because if you allocate a specific amount of time to write when you’re not allowed to do anything else, it will produce something!
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I usually write the first draft of material away from the desk that I use for other things – like blogging, podcasting, email, social media, and other professional activities. I find it easier to create elsewhere, so I go to a library, a coffee shop, or just another room in the house. I set the timer, put in the headphones, turn on the rain and thunderstorms, and write.
For nonfiction, it can be helpful to focus on one chapter at a time during these timed writing sessions. If you write 2000 words per session and aim for 60,000 words, you will need 30 writing sessions. Do the math and plan the sessions. No excuses!
I use Scrivener flags to indicate my progress in the draft, according to the example shown on the left. When I’m thinking about topics and words are circled in the chapter, I leave the document blank by default. When I have “processed” the chapter and written it in first draft state, I add a yellow flag. I use blue and green flags for different parts of the editing process.
Once the entire project has yellow flags, my first draft is complete and I can move on to editing (discussed below).
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You can use Scrivener to set word count goals for the entire book as well as for each writing session to keep yourself accountable. I’m pretty obsessed with control
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