So you’ve got an idea for a nonfiction book. Where do you begin to write? You’ve heard many people say that writing nonfiction might be easier than writing fiction. But, is it? It could be if you are organized and follow some careful planning. Here are several tips to get you through the process.
Identify your audience
Before you jump right in to writing, think about who will read your book. Knowing who you are writing for allows you to speak directly to that group and provide information that’s most useful to them.
Identify comparable books
Seek out other books that are similar to yours and articulate what makes your book different from those.
Develop a plan to write and complete your book
Creating goals and attaching target timelines to your writing provide guide posts to help you reach milestones, which gives you motivation and a sense of accomplishment as you write.
Create a working title and description
Give yourself some inspiration by creating a title that describes your book. Then, write a summary of your book. A summary aligned with the scope of the book guides you to maintain the focus of your book.
Research and gather information
Collect all the studies and source materials you need for your book. Compile all your notes and content like blog posts and articles. Keep them handy and organized for easy access when you begin writing.
Create an outline
A traditional outline would suffice, but if you want to have some fun and play around with your ideas, you can draw out a mind map or create a storyboard with sticky notes to shuffle topics around and organize them.
Begin the writing process
Now that you have an outline, you can start writing your first draft. Pick a place to start, such as from the beginning or any section from your outline that you feel would be the easiest place to begin transferring thoughts to text. At first, words may come slowly, but will eventually flow as you continue to jot down your thoughts and ideas. Try to refrain from revising or researching. The idea is to just get all your thoughts and ideas from your mind to written form. As you work on your book, you can refer back to your schedule to keep your book on track.
Self-edit, self-edit, self-edit
On the second pass, you can begin edits to revise, fill in, cut out, clarify, correct, or do more research. Continue with additional passes as necessary until you are happy with the book. Add other parts of your book such as sources, end notes, dedication (if applicable), and author bio. After several drafts, you might even want to share the book with a few other writers to get external feedback.
When you feel you have gone as far as you can revising your book, your final step in the writing process would be to enlist a professional editor to edit and/or proofread it. By this time, your book should be ready for layout and design.
Sabbithry Persad is a writer who tackles issues we face in the global community. Persad is the author of the Garbology Kids® waste management series for children, which includes Where Do Recyclable Materials Go?, Operation: Reuse It!, and We Can Reduce: Precycle It! She is the founder of Firewater Media Group and Green Solutions Magazine. Her new book is, What Is Coronavirus? How It Infects, How It Spreads, and How to Stay Safe (Firewater Media Group, Oct. 1, 2021). Learn more at firewatermediagroup.com.