Writing nonfiction can be both therapeutic and enjoyable. It can even be a source of income or, at the very least, a way to supplement your current income. Before beginning the process of writing a nonfiction book, however, there are some things that you should do to make it simpler for yourself. And to guarantee that you don’t lose your enthusiasm for your project halfway through the process, or flounder after pressing publish. To help, this post outlines 4 things to consider when writing a nonfiction book.
1) Choose Your Topic and Audience
Before you do anything else, you need to know exactly what you’re writing about, and who you’re writing it for. Without a clear topic, you won’t be able to plan the framework for the book or structure existing or new ideas in a logical, helpful way. Unfortunately, knowing your subject isn’t usually enough to sustain a whole book. You’ll also have to consider whether you’ll need to do extra research or gather more information for particular sections or chapters to ensure credibility. And without a clear audience in mind, that your topic is pertinent to, you might struggle to give the book a clear enough focus.
2) Research, Research, Research!
A non-fiction book is nothing without the research that goes into making it accurate. Even if you know a subject back to front, or if the story you are telling is about you or someone you know, there may still be aspects that you need to research thoroughly before including them. It might be a quote or the URL of a website, or it could be referencing a medical fact or historical information. Accuracy and crediting original sources is key in nonfiction!
Having to stop writing to do research can interrupt your flow and make it more difficult to get back into again. It may be far more efficient to gather all the research you think you need after the outline stage but before you begin putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard. Once you have your book’s framework as well as all the additional information you’ve collected, the writing process itself should be much easier.
Another important thing to research when considering writing a nonfiction book is market research. Are there books out there that already cover the topic you want to cover? If so, how will yours be different? What angle are you writing it from, and how will that impact/benefit the reader? What insights can you impart that no other author can? These are just some of the questions to consider if your book is going to succeed in a competitive market.
3) Set A Writing Schedule
Saying to yourself that you will write at some point during the day often means that no writing gets done at all! And the longer you leave it, the harder it is to get started. The hours you put aside for writing should be used just for that. No distractions and nothing other than an emergency should get in the way. Although this may sound harsh, you’ll get a lot more done and have a great first draft to show for it.
However, you also need to be realistic and not set yourself up to fail. You know how much time you have ‘spare’ to write. Once you’ve done your outline you should also know (roughly) how long the book will be. Having this gauge is helpful as you can break the whole down into parts and choose to write a set amount of words per day. For example, if your book is going to be approximately 50,000 words long (which is appropriate for a nonfiction book), a realistic schedule may be to write 5,000 words per week. This means that the first draft of the book would be complete in 10 weeks. This gives you a deadline to work towards, which can help keep you focused. A deadline/timeframe can also help when it comes to planning your marketing strategy.
4) Make a Marketing Plan
Writing the book is only the start – publishing it is the next step, and there is a lot to it. If you want to self publish, there is a lot to consider, and this includes ensuring that the book is edited and proofread and that it is typeset or formatted to a professional standard.
Marketing is also crucial. Without it, your book might languish on the shelves in a virtual bookstore, and no one will ever know it’s there. It can be beneficial to choose a marketing company with expertise in your area. For example, if your book is about medical technology, Jerome Clavel is the best choice. Research any marketing company thoroughly before engaging them to ensure they understand what you want to achieve with your book. Alternatively, DIY marketing courses can be both cost and time effective. Popular ones in the indie author community include Self Publishing Formula 101 (affordable) Book Marketing 101 (free) and Starting From Zero (free).
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