Non-Fiction Book Writing Tips

by Silvia Hartmann


 60s Model For Writing A Non-Fiction Book - Non-Fiction Structure - "The A-Z Of ..." - Fastest & Easiest Way To "Write" A Non Fiction Book - Write A Non-Fiction Book By Charting A Journey - Write A Non-Fiction Book By Following The Structure Of Your Topic - Non-Fiction Books & Modular Writing - 7 Top Tips On Non-Fiction Book Writing - Non-Fiction Book Idea


I have just completed an astonishing TOME - a collection of 365 exercises for wealth creation. It's the biggest manuscript I've ever handed in, and it just "happened" alongside my ordinary life without me noticing that much. The 60 Second Wealth Creators project came about more or less by accident, but in hindsight, it makes for a very useful model that can be used in non-fiction writing AND marketing (those two are one and the same, in the end!), so I wrote it up for MindMillion list.

There are other models that make organising and writing a non-fiction book a whole lot easier and faster than most people would ever believe, so I've added those to the article.

If you are thinking of writing a non-fiction book, possibly even a non-fiction ebook for sale on the internet, fear not. If you use the right structure and approach, you'll find that writing non-fiction books is easy, logical and fits right in with your life.

 

The 60s Model For Writing A Non-Fiction Book

I was just thinking that out of all the many ways I've found to "write a non-fiction book" over the years, the 60s model is in many ways one of the most interesting.

The model would be as following:

1. Pick a topic.

2. Get an autoresponder.

3. Start writing daily self contained segments on the topic.

4. When you have a head start of twenty or so segments, start advertising your autoresponder COURSE - free or charge for it. Start collecting subscribers.

5. Keep slightly ahead of your pack of readers (this forces you on! LOL!) until the whole thing is complete.

6. Now you have a course or a non-fiction book, in handy segments, each one of which could conceivably be placed as a separate article, in a series, in a magazine, in an ezine, on separate SEO web pages, as exerpts, as tasters that you can sell yourself or find a middleman to sell for you.

That is, as far as product development is concerned, one of the most interesting, modular and potentially useful integrations of creating material (a lot of material) in a short space of time, with feedback WHILST YOU ARE WRITING IT, which is also extremely neat, and all the components of marketing and advertising built right into the structure of it.

Very, very neat model, I'd say.

Here are some more tips on how to write a non-fiction book easily and without any hassle.

We had the method of "a lesson per day" (or week, or even month). That works well and there are variations on this.

 

Non-Fiction Structure - "The A-Z Of ..."

One particularly neat format for non-fiction is the evergreen "A-Z of ..."

I used that method in Adventures in EFT. I love this because once again, it is very modular and thus, extremely controllable.

You just sit down and brainstorm a list of (totally unrelated!) topics that YOU find exciting. Let's say we're writing a non-fiction book on oil painting:

Brushes
Knives
Paint Thinners
Canvases
Primers
Gessos
Pallettes
Clear Varnish

... and whatever you know anything about. Then all you do is fill in the topics by writing a few concise paragraphs on each one, one or two a day as and when you feel like it, sort them out so they're alphabetical and HEY! presto, we have a cool and useful book that is extremely easy to write.

This method lends itself amazingly well to ebooks, because of the structure, you can ADD new sections ad infinitum, and each time you do, you have a new version (edition) you can offer for existing customers to download for free.

That really worked a treat for Adventures.

 

The Fastest & Easiest Way To "Write" A Non Fiction Book

The problem with most people who want to write a book is that they get themselves bogged down in endless chapters and structures, and when they find they've forgotten a bit somewhere in the middle, it becomes a nightmare to insert it.

But there are other good fun shortcuts to book writing.

The fastest way to "write" a book is to give a speech, tape it and then transcribe it.

I've used this method for EmoTrance 2 and 3, as well as in EmoTrance 1, the "developmental history" section which could have foreseeably bored the pants off me, and then the bra, the T-shirt ...

As it was, it is a transcript of a two hour lecture. It is fact filled, fun packed, lively and interesting - zero hassle, really.

I also used this for the "EmoTrance Healing Circle" document, which isn't a full length book but a useful bonus document, and that was recorded in exactly 30 minutes, then transcribed.

If you can talk, you have ENDLESS books inside of you, and that process is only held back by the typing speed of the transcriber!

(One slight addendum to this might be that it helps if you a) have something to say, and b) you know what you're talking about! lol)

 

Write A Non-Fiction Book By Charting A Journey

Another good way to structure a book is simply to chart a journey.

Depending on the market, there can be degrees of how personal you make this, or how structural.

I wrote a MASSIVE tome on dog obedience instructing once, and got totally bogged down. So eventually, I threw it all out again and started afresh, with that moment when someone told me I was to take a class and I was shitting myself, and took it from there forward through time, having the experience unfold from the basics as the book goes along.

It thereby starts with someone who knows nothing, and ends up with tips on the most advanced exercises in the most advanced classes - a great format that isn't used enough in self help.

 

Write A Non-Fiction Book By Following The Structure Of Your Topic

Sometimes, your topic gives you a structure that you can just fill in, starting at the beginning and working through to the end. For example, most processes and activities have step by step components which you can break down into modules by dealing with one step at a time, from the beginning to the end of one process.

I used this structure to organise the mass of materials in Advanced Patterns of EFT,  a non-fiction book for therapists who want to treat psychotherapy clients with EFT. It logically starts  with what we need to know before we even meet the client, then works forward through all the stages of the session, from the first "Hello" to the final "Farewell".. That forms the central core of the book, and other patterns are added in "addendum format".

This is one of the easiest and most useful ways in which to organise a non-fiction book that is an instruction manual, or a "How To", and a good start for beginners.

 

Non-Fiction Books & Modular Writing

The most important thing about writing a book is to understand it as being a modular unfoldment over time.

It is surprising how quickly you can create a book if you just spend one hour each day working on that.

I did one or two 1 1/2 hour sessions per day and brought Vampire Solstice home complete with addendi in 29 days. It's not that long, 75,000 words total, but that's a whole lot more than most ebooks on the market these days.

The book being modular is a general way of thinking about writing both fiction and non-fiction. At the end of the day, if your structure is basically sound, then we are left with simply writing one good sentence at a time, one good paragraph at a time, one good section at a time.

A book that is made up from good sentences, paragraphs and sections can't fail to please!

Keeping your writing tight, modular and contained also avoids the greatest problem in all writing - getting bored, getting bogged down, getting lost and not wanting to add to the manuscript any longer. You get a lot of little successes as you "finish" each paragraph, each chapter; and also, you get a fresh new start on each new module. It makes the editing process much easier, and finding excerpts to publish, as well.

 

7 Top Tips On Non-Fiction Book Writing

Further good advice is as follows:

1. Just start. If you don't, there's no chance there will ever be any book!

2. Don't take it so seriously. It's only one book (of many). In every sense of the word. Just do your best with it.

3. Keep it modular and contained. Work on a chapter or a section at a time and make sure that works well, then move onto the next. That way the thing happens as if by magic.

4. Don't re-read what you have already written, work forward, do NOT ever edit during the writing phase, and turn those GODDAMNED spell check and grammer check SQUIGGLES in MS word OFF OFF OFF!!!! Just get your words on the page, get them flowing, get GOING FORWARD. Once you have the text down, you can edit to your heart's content later. Without the text, there's nothing to edit.

5. Spend some time on the "Introduction to ..." paragraph. That's your set up, where you explain who this book is for, and what it contains. It helps to know that up front. <g>

6. Spend 15 minutes doing it EVERY DAY, come rain or shine, and as a priority, like first thing when you get up, and NOT at the end of a dreary day when you're all worn out and brain dead. That's a matter of discipline and valuing your work but extremely important so your writing stays sharp and focused all the way through.

7. Start thinking of ways to market or sell your manuscript long before it is finished. This may actually allow you to INCLUDE segments that will appeal to a specific market which will help later with the advertising, and it keeps the whole thing reality bound in a very nice way.

 

Clarify Your Non-Fiction Book Idea Before You Start!


One last tip.

To get a good idea for a book to write, write the sales page for it first.

Put down the benefits, the main topics that will be discussed, who it's for, what they will gain, how they'll be surprised.

In writing the sales page, the product BECOMES. That's a magical process and very cool indeed, and one the easiest ways of SHAPING a book before the first word is ever written.


Good luck all around,

SFX

 

* This article was first posted to the MindMillion group, July 2006
 


References:


 60s Model For Writing A Non-Fiction Book - Non-Fiction Structure - "The A-Z Of ..." - Fastest & Easiest Way To "Write" A Non Fiction Book - Write A Non-Fiction Book By Charting A Journey - Write A Non-Fiction Book By Following The Structure Of Your Topic - Non-Fiction Books & Modular Writing - 7 Top Tips On Non-Fiction Book Writing - Non-Fiction Book Idea


Non-Fiction Book Writing Tips by Silvia Hartmann

July 2006. All Rights Reserved.


Author Dr Silvia Hartmann On Writing

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