If you write nonfiction books designed for personal and professional development, information or reference, textbooks, or self-help you should plan your approach to content development and page layout before you begin to write. To do this should be done in a manner that allows readers to go through the material easily, comprehend and recall what they read. There are numerous simple techniques that can help you accomplish this objective. The following four tips can assist you in getting started.
Plan for a Diverse Reader Base
In today’s diverse, global world where people of all backgrounds come together, chances are that anything you write will be read in a different language and various formats around the world. This happens because of the Internet, multiple formats (print and eBook), worldwide distribution, people will share or transport books to other people they know, translation into other languages, and for numerous other reasons.
A simple strategy to help people who read or speak another primary language is to use short, concise sentences and paragraphs using words that are mostly one or two syllables to aid reading comprehension
Think About Distribution and Format before Writing
One key to getting your materials in front of as many readers as possible is to plan how you will write and distribute your books. With the advent of electronic publishing and print-on-demand (POD), you have the ability to upload works almost instantly on Internet sites where customers can download them right away. If you are going to write eBooks ensure that you are familiar with formatting styles for each type of reader or electronic device that you plan to target and create the manuscript accordingly.
Stick to the Basics
Make sure that anything you publish follows basic rules of grammar, punctuation, formatting and syntax so that readers are not frustrated by errors or layout, such as mixed font sizes and types, skewed spacing issues, or non-conforming. A good measure is to go to a bookstore or library and scroll through several publications that are in your genre. Notice how the covers are designed, pages are formatted and designed and other visual elements that are included (e.g. photos, charts, call out and other techniques) to complement or draw attention to text.
Appeal to Your Visual Learners
Some brain based learning research indicates that upwards to 70 percent of the population prefer to gain their information and learn best when given written and visual material. When you combine words with various elements of color, shapes, clip art, you have a better opportunity to gain and hold their attention.
If you write in a manner where you include page after page of long paragraphs or blocks of text without visual elements to break up the words, you will wither put readers to sleep or worse…have them put the book down and find an alternate source. To avoid this trap, look objectively at large blocks of text that you have written, then rewrite and edit them into smaller chunks. A simple way to do this is to use bulleted lists of key points that you are making or separating smaller blocks of text that can be us to reinforce or complement other information. Put such segments into a text box in between paragraphs or down the column of a page. Again, look at other books to see how those writers and editors handled the issue.