Monday, July 20, 2009

6 Steps to Writing a Nonfiction Book

Almost everyone harbors a secret -- or not-so-secret -- yearning to write a book. Ideas range from memoirs to mysteries, from pamphlets to tomes. Books do not appear out of thin air; they are the product of much thought, planning, discipline, and effort. What follows are the 6 essential steps to take you from concept to completion of your nonfiction book:

1. Planning is the first and most important step. It means asking yourself all the tough questions about the book, from "Why am I uniquely qualified to write this book?" to "Is there a real market for it?" The most effective way to plan is by writing a book proposal, which has a dual purpose: to help you think through the book and to provide you with material you will use later in the process.

2. Writing is the nuts and bolts of producing a book, and it takes blocks of time. This is where all of your planning pays off. The chapters are the heart of the book and, of course, take the most time. They are the reason you are writing -- the cake. All the rest is frosting. Begin with Chapter 1, if each chapter is going to build on the one before it, or with your favorite topic, if it doesn’t matter what order you write them. The first chapter you write will help you find your voice, pace, and style. If you submit your proposal to a publisher, the chapter you attach must provide a sample of your best writing and of the caliber of the whole book. In addition to the chapters, you will also have to write the introduction, preface, table of contents, and "back matter."

3. Professional Assistance comprises all the people who help make a book come to life. You may not need all of them, but consider different kinds of editors, graphic designers, book reviewers, publicists, agents, and attorneys. If you self-publish, you will definitely need a graphic designer. If you prefer a conventional publisher, you will probably need an agent.

4. Production involves the elements needed to turn your manuscript into a book -- your computer and software, design and format, photos and illustrations, sidebars, endorsements, and more. These are the nitty gritty details you will learn if you decide to become your own publisher.

5. Publishing makes your book real, tangible. You have several options, including self-publishing, print on demand (POD), electronic, and conventional. There are pros and cons associated with each option. They include cost, speed of publication, rights, contracts, and profits. Learning curve, and control. Publishing is not a one-size-fits-all decision.

6. Promotion is the step many writers skip. It takes work to get your message into the hands of your target audience. No matter how your book is published, promotion is your job. You can send out advance review copies, tour book fairs, make presentations at bookstores and libraries, launch a Web site, or even hire a professional publicist.

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Ana - The Writer Today said...

Great steps! Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Glad you posted this. Actually, thinking about a book right now. Thanks!

clipping path services said...

I love the amount of details you gave in your instructions through this article. Looking forward to more from you.

Unknown said...

Well I was looking for something more simplified becuase I'm just a teenage girl. But I guess this might work. Thank you to whom this may concern!
You guys that are reading this comment might see my book in like two to three years if these steps work.