When it comes to nonfiction, many people are often confused about their options. Unlike fiction where your imagination can run wild with possibilities, people think that nonfiction books do not have many genres and often consider nonfiction a whole genre. However, that is just not true.
Nonfiction books offer several different genres for people of all ages and interests. History, Philosophy, Religion, Politics, Travelling, Parenting, Self-help, Business, Health, Crafts, Humor, Journalism, Language, Textbooks, Cookbooks, Biographies, and autobiographies are all genres of nonfiction that people love to read. In fact, you might find yourself surrounded by more nonfiction books than fiction books in a bookstore. So, if you’re feeling trapped about writing a nonfiction book, rest assured that your options are countless, and we are here to further guide you on how to write a nonfiction book.
The Big Why?
What will it answer?
First and foremost, you must determine the big question your book will answer. Unlike fiction, which can be read for entertainment purposes only, people expect nonfiction books to help them with some part of their lives and this is the task you are undertaking when you decide to write a nonfiction book.
There must be a key theme to your book and that should be the nucleus for your book. The beginning, middle and end, all should be designed to answer that question systematically and satisfactorily.
The big question will also determine your target audience. For instance: teenagers might not be interested in books on a midlife crisis or facing financial dilemmas, but they will be interested in books that focus on selecting careers or building confidence. Similarly, anyone beyond 60 will have no reason to be interested in books that focus on career advice or fitness regime, but they might be after something that satisfies their emotional needs. Selecting your target audience will also help you select the tone for your book, so this is one of the most important steps of writing a nonfiction book.
Now that you’re set upon which question your book will be addressing, let’s find out all you can about it. That would mean research of an extensive level to make sure you are not missing anything. Business, biographies, science, psychology, and many other genres require research from many different resources to make sure that the information you put in your book is authentic and useful for your readers. You don’t want to stain your audience’s trust by sharing inaccurate facts. You should also make sure that you have a firm grasp of the topic and have some level of experience in that field before starting your book. Only a person who understands their topic the best can write a satisfactory book for readers.
Quoting and referencing authentic sources will also increase the credibility of your book. Make sure that your references are according to your genre. For parenting and child development, you should quite a psychologist and pediatrician. For business and economics, make sure you have strong references from successful businessmen and for biographies, it is always a great idea to have an audience with the person (if alive, of course) before starting on the book.
Outline and Structure
So, let’s talk about the structure of your book. That will include the method of proceeding with the book, the chapters in which it will be distributed and the outline of the content that goes into each chapter.
Selecting the Structure of your Book
There are many different types of structures for nonfiction books and their usage depends on the type of genre you’re after. The step-by-step proceeding chapters are more suitable for how-to books while a chronological structure suits biographies and autobiographies. It is up to you to learn about each structure and decide which suits your book the most.
After you have done that, the next part is deciding on chapters and their content. It should be a straightforward process as you make an outline of the content you want in every chapter and try to keep the length of each chapter consistent. You can make bullet points for the topics you will be covering in each chapter to make it easy for you to revise and add or remove later.
Finally, it’s time for you to start writing your book – or rather, your first draft of the book. Don’t worry, we got you there as well. Let’s look at some good writing tips for nonfiction books.
The most important point to remember! Stay away from dense technical terms or difficult vocabulary. Of course, in some places like science and technology topics, you just can’t avoid it but make sure that you explain it in a way that your audience can understand it with ease.
Remember, your audience may vary in education and financial status and that could affect their comprehension of the vocabulary you are using in your book. Your aim is to be inclusive to all types of people, irrespective of their differences.
Just like vocabulary, your style of writing can also define your audience scale. A dense, dull, and technical book holds the interest of a few academic people only. However, you can make it much more interesting by changing your style.
One of the few changes you could make is by presenting your topic with a story. A story is a surefire way to pique your audience’s interest and hook them to your book effortlessly. You could add small stories throughout your book to both, get your point across with examples and keep your audience interested till the end.
The other thing is including dialogue and quotations. You could present them as part of a story or separately, but they will also help keep your audience entertained throughout the book.
Last but not the least, you must dedicate yourself to writing daily. You might want to set a daily word count, a time limit, or a chapter goal, but you must always write on schedule to make sure you don’t lose motivation and succumb to procrastination. Now, you might not feel like writing each day or you might be finding what you write to be totally useless and not your best work, but remember, small progress is still progress and you can always edit or rephrase later.
Revision and Editing
Yup, your work does not end with finishing the first draft. Before you move towards hiring nonfiction book writing services for editing and proofreading, you must read it yourself first for any edits you could make. Here are a few things to look out for while revising your book.
Recheck the accuracy of your facts! Once again, accuracy is key when you’re writing a nonfiction book, especially in genres like science, psychology, and how-to books.
While you might feel like putting everything you know about your topic in the book, you must think and decide if it serves the goal of this book; the big why. If not, edit it out without second thoughts.
Shorten any sentences that seem too long. Your sentences should be 20-30 words long at most. Cut the information in small doses to make it more digestible instead of one long, confusing sentence.
So that’s all folks! Hope you found some inspiration and ideas from these tips and that they helped you out with the process of your nonfiction book.