How to Write Non Fiction

how to write non fiction

How to write nonfictionHow To Write Non Fiction: A lot of people want to make a living via writing nonfiction. It is a very "doable" goal. If you're even half way good at it, you can make a decent living. At the very least, enough to pay some bills every month.

But something you should know going in is that the success of your work will depend mostly on,

  • Your ability to do market research in the beginning.
  • Your ability to market your work once completed.
  • And your ability to write a number of books in your chosen field, or many chosen fields.

Few authors are able to make a living by writing just one book. Yes, exceptions abound, but the vast majority have to work hard, and work hard consistently.

The skills needed to create good nonfiction are easily learned.

The most important aspect of writing either is to do market research before writing to make sure the market wants what you want to write. Otherwise you will join the ranks of 95% of writers, who spend months and possibly years creating something no one wants to buy. Few things are more demoralizing than finding out something you were passionate about, and spent months creating, collects dust, instead of dollars, on the internet shelf. Check top writing services reviews on

How To Write Non Fiction:

Nonfiction writing is an easy way to get started. While nonfiction may be mechanical, it doesn't mean it can't be imaginative. Once you've done the necessary market research and determined that there is a market for your book, the easiest way to approach nonfiction is with an outline.

  • Read everything you can on the subject you want to write about.
  • Research, research, research.
  • Once you feel you're educated on the subject, then pretend you're talking to a friend, and explain the subject in simple words. If you can't explain your subject, in a way everyone can understand, then you simply aren't ready to write. (Go back to the step above)
  • Once you can explain it, write out a simple outline of the steps necessary, in a very general fashion. (5-10 basic steps is fine)
  • Go through each of the main steps, and add sub-steps (detail) to each 5-10 general steps above in order to round out your manuscript.
  • Now go to, look at the table of contents under books of that niche, and firm up any steps forgotten, or need expounding on.

Why not just to and use the table of contents of your competitor as your outline in the beginning? After all, that is what 9 out of 10 Guru's online suggest you do. Because,

  • It's intellectually lazy.
  • It proves you really don't know what you're talking about.
  • Worse, if you use that method in the beginning, what you're really doing is writing someone else's book that's already been written. It's one thing to strengthen your own writing, it's another to copy the format and structure of someone else.
  • Do as your heart dictates, but know in advance, this is what separates the pros from the hacks. The pros already know it, and your audience is going to sense it.

Maybe in some subjects you can get away with it, general consumer nonfiction (Scrapbooking, diaper changing) maybe. But it still will make you look, and worse, FEEL like an amateur.

Once you have your outline completed, if you know your subject as well as you should and have something original to say, writing the book itself is a matter of "filling in the blanks" from this stage on. Truthfully, you'll be amazed at how easy it is if you've done the above, even complex subjects.

Here are some general rules to keep in mind, or some pitfalls to avoid.

  • In your first nonfiction work, use a pen name.
  • Use humor wherever possible, but be careful, depending on the subject, it can backfire.
  • Use personal stories and experiences if possible.
  • Illustrate your work as much as possible. Use noncopyright, or royalty free sources, if possible.
  • Use a lot of white space in your writing. (Double spacing between paragraphs)
  • Don't use dense, long paragraphs.
  • Resist the urge to use your own opinions. Keep it factual. (Unless, the subject calls for it.)
  • Don't politicize your writing. Lots of areas these days are contentious. If your nonfiction is in one them stay above the fights and squabbles of other writers and academics.
  • Lay out any arguments, or points of contention as succinctly as possible, and move on.
  • Don't editorialize as to why YOUR book is so much better than all the others out there. Trust me, it will sink or swim on its own merits. It only looks like pompous self-agrandation in print.
  • If you're drawing on technical nonfiction sources in your work, cite them in a bibliography, either at the end of a chapter, or at the end of the book. This doesn't have to be a full scale, academic index, but let people know you aren't spouting off a bunch of crap you made up as you went along. This one thing will do more to silence your critics than anything else.
  • Never take criticism personally. (Not easy)
  • Never reply to criticism on an open forum. Why?

    • One, it looks petty.
    • Two, there are a lot of "haters" out there. They are composed of failed writers, academics, opinionated idiots, (who I call the "Ignorati") and just the basic losers of society who have nothing better to do since the internet came along. If you don't believe me, go to, click on any story, and read the comments.
    • "Never argue with idiots. It makes you both look stupid." Is the way my father put it.
    • Three, everyone is entitled to their opinion. Live with it.

I hope this helps,

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