Writing a non-fiction title can prove quite a tall order for unprepared writers. Since it’s based on reality, you need to present a realistic story. Also, give credit where it’s due. Quoting someone or describing something requires accurate references.
We’ve curated six effective ways for you to tackle the stumbling blocks of writing non-fiction. With these strategies in your author toolkit, you’ll be on your way toward publishing your next non-fiction hit with newfound confidence.
Strategy #1 — Research, Research, Research
Research is a major part of non-fiction preparedness. Lacking research could result in factual lapses that disappoint knowledgeable readers. When in doubt, always conduct as much research as time permits to create a detailed, accurate presentation.
Research can come in diverse forms, including YouTube videos, books, and interviews with thought leaders. Through research, you might even find useful information you can apply to future content, making the whole brainstorming process a breeze. Also, thorough research improves citations to prevent the risk of plagiarism.
Strategy #2 — Check Out Other Works on the Subject
As a byproduct of your research, it is important to check out other written works on the subject you wish to cover. Reinventing the wheel is never a great way to get noticed. Remember to visit your local bookstore and library, or search online to find existing publications similar to your work in progress.
Strategy #3 — Use Emotion to Your Advantage
While non-fiction books are big on facts, they shouldn’t drown readers in boring detail. Your nonfiction book shouldn’t read like a textbook or manual — unless you’re writing a textbook or manual, of course. Instead, consider snagging your audience’s attention with emotional expressions that make your analogies and anecdotes highly relatable.
People want to read content they feel emotionally connected to. That’s why parents pick up non-fiction books about childcare written by expressive personalities like Jo Frost, who shares effective tips that they can apply in their hectic lives.
Strategy #4 — Go Easy on Language
Although jargon can prove difficult to avoid, especially when you’re writing non-fiction for a niche topic like wine appreciation in the Bordeaux region, it’s best to use fancy words sparingly.
Yes, your target audience might have conducted their fair share of research on wine terms such as vinification and typicality. Still, absolute beginners among your readers might lose interest. If jargon or industry-specific terminology seems inevitable, consider explaining their meaning in parentheses or in a glossary parked at the end of your book.
Strategy #5 — Scan Your Sources
Back to the research bit of non-fiction writing. While you might have accrued a convincing argument or fact from multiple accounts — sources are not equally valid. Gain the trust of your dear readers by fact checking each claim within your nonfiction book.
If you’re using online sources, go for URLs that end with .org or .gov to ensure the facts come from reliable institutions and organizations. When gathering the opinions of contributors, do a quick background check to assess their trustworthiness and authenticity (i.e., that they are who they claim to be).
Strategy #6 — Tell a Compelling Story
Most people love a good story — and that applies to your nonfiction content. Although you might dive into tons of facts for nonfiction, you can still build anticipation and engagement through a well-defined story arc.
Position your narrative in a way that introduces a scene and problem, followed by a climax and solution. Doing so gives your reader a reason to stay committed to the development of your story as opposed to presenting them with a tedious brain dump.
Do you need help writing a non-fiction book that will appeal to a diverse group of readers? Book a consultation with us today to learn more about getting your book published.