Six Tips for Successful Non-Fiction Writing



Writing non-fiction books can be a sound source of income

Writing non-fiction books can be a sound source of income

Six Tips for Successful Nonfiction Book Writing

Nonfiction writing often serves to educate, explain, highlight and document the events that people experience in life and the world. While you can use your voice to also entertain and add humor, many nonfiction writers focus on details and facts.

Not unlike those who write fiction, most nonfiction writers struggle to get their thoughts on paper from time to time. There are many reasons that this occurs but you can overcome them by following some basics when writing your non-fiction pieces.

Here are six brief tips for channeling your thoughts effectively and creating books that people will value and want to read:

1. Decide why you are writing the book. Ask yourself what your purpose is for writing it. Are you doing it for fame, recognition, money or to help others? Discovering your true reason for wanting to spend hours of your life writing, editing and marketing can assist you in staying motivated as you move forward on the project.

2. Identify your reader audience. It is important that you know the types of people that will likely want to read your content. If you are working on a memoir, is it geared to family, friends and acquaintances or do you have a larger commercial group in mind? If it is a self-help book, ask yourself who will likely benefit from it and what do they need to know to make it valuable to them.

3. Start with the end in mind. This means that you need to know what your ultimate message will be before beginning your writing. Are you trying to educate, inform, evoke thought or emotion or just share information? An easy way to accomplish this is to write a one-half to one page synopsis that describes the book in language you can use to describe the project to a friend or colleague.

4. Use an outline. Writers who try to us a free flowing approach often end up with thousands of words on paper but their message gets lost along the way. Depending on your desired outcome, you will need to structure content in a way that flows and tells a story while providing details and information in an interesting manner. Create a rough outline before you start writing and modify it as you feel the need once you start developing content.

5. Get it right. Details and accuracy are crucial for your credibility and to keep readers interested. Before you get started, do you research. Review other material on the topic, talk to experts or people who were actually involved in an event or process. Collect your data in a file cabinet or on your computer and, once you have a working outline, organize the material by chapter so that you can quickly reference it as you write.

6. Stay focused on the big picture. Too often, writers get bogged down in detail and edit as they go. Get your message on paper and then worry about restructuring, grammar, syntax and other minutia. Write several chapters, put them aside and write some more. You can come back later to read what you have written and make necessary adjustments.

While there are many other things to consider before you start writing, these will help get you started on your road to a successful nonfiction book.

About Robert W. Lucas

Bob Lucas has been a trainer, presenter and adult educator for over four decades. He who has written hundreds of articles on training, writing, self-publishing and workplace learning skills and issues. He is also an award-winning author who has written thirty-seven books on topics such as, writing, relationships, customer service, brain based learning and creative training strategies, interpersonal communication, diversity, and supervisory skills. Additionally, he has contributed articles, chapters and activities to eighteen compilation books. Bob retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after twenty-two years of active and reserve service.
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