how to write a nonfiction book

How To Write A Nonfiction Book

Do you have a burning story to tell? Are you passionate about a particular issue? Are you an expert in a specific field? If so, you might be tempted to write a nonfiction book to share your knowledge with the world. Writing a nonfiction book can be a rewarding experience, but it’s also a lot of work. If you’re not sure where to start, this guide will walk you through the process of how to write a nonfiction book, from brainstorming ideas to marketing your finished product.

What is a nonfiction book?

A nonfiction book is a book that is based on facts, actual events, and true stories. Nonfiction books can be autobiographies, histories, or how-to guides. They are different from fiction books, which are made up of stories the author has made up. Nonfiction books can be about anything that someone has experienced or knows about.

Many people choose to write nonfiction books because they want to share their knowledge with others. Others write nonfiction books because they want to tell their story. Either way, writing a nonfiction book can be an enriching experience. If you have something that you want to share with the world, consider writing a nonfiction book!

Seven common types of a nonfiction book

There are many different types of nonfiction books that can be written. Below are seven of the most common types.

1. Autobiographies

Many people think that writing a nonfiction book is easy. After all, how hard can it be to write about your own life? However, the truth is that writing an autobiography is one of the most challenging types of nonfiction books to write. Not only do you have to capture your own story compellingly and interestingly, but you also have to be honest about your good and bad experiences.

In addition, you need to be able to capture the essence of who you are as a person without coming across as self-centered or narcissistic. While it may not be easy, writing an autobiography can be a gratifying experience. Not only will you be able to share your story with the world, but you’ll also gain a greater understanding of yourself in the process.

2. Self-Help

A self-help book is a type of nonfiction book that offers readers guidance and advice on improving their lives. Self-help books cover a wide range of topics, including how to overcome anxiety, achieve success, be happier, and make better decisions. While countless self-help books on the market, they all typically follow the same basic structure. First, the author introduces the reader to the problem or challenge they will address.

Next, the author provides actionable advice and tips for overcoming this challenge. Finally, the author offers encouragement and support to help keep the reader motivated. If you think you have something valuable to say on a particular topic, writing a self-help book could be the perfect way to share your wisdom with the world.

3. How-To Guides

A how-to guide is a book that provides readers with step-by-step instructions for completing a task. Whether learning how to bake a cake or fix a leaky faucet, how-to guides are designed to make the process as simple as possible. One of the most popular how-to guides is the DIY manual, which gives readers all the information they need to complete a project.

These books can benefit people who want to save money by doing things themselves. However, they can also be frustrating if the instructions are not transparent or the project is more complicated than it initially seems. In any case, how-to guides are an essential part of the nonfiction genre, and they can be a handy tool for anyone who wants to learn how to do something new.

4. Memoirs

Memoirs are arguably the most popular type of nonfiction book. Moreover, they offer readers a glimpse into another person’s life, told in a first-person narrative. Memoirs can be heartwarming or heartbreaking, funny or inspirational. They often focus on a particular event or time period in the author’s life and frequently explore themes of family, love, loss, and self-discovery.

While memoirs can be challenging to write – after all, they require that we bare our souls to the world – they can also be therapeutic, providing a way for us to make sense of our past and come to terms with our present. For many readers, memoirs provide an escape from their own lives, offering a chance to experience someone else’s story vicariously.

5. Personal Essays

Personal essays are nonfiction writing that allows the author to share their personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings on a given topic. Unlike other forms of nonfiction, personal essays are not based on research or factual information. Instead, they are based on the author’s life experiences and observations.

You can write personal essays on any topic, but they are often about issues close to the author’s heart. Common themes include family, relationships, etc. In addition to being highly personal, personal essays are also usually frank. The author is not afraid to share their true feelings and emotions on a topic. As a result, personal essays can be both moving and inspiring.

6. True Crime

There are many nonfiction books, but true crime is one of the most popular genres. A true crime book chronicles a real-life crime involving murder or other violent acts. To write a successful true crime book, it is essential to have access to reliable information about the case.

This can include police reports, court documents, and interviews with witnesses and law enforcement officials. It is also important to tell the story engagingly, keeping readers hooked from beginning to end. With these elements in place, a true crime book has the potential to be both captivating and informative.

7. Travel Writing

Travel writing is one of the most popular nonfiction genres, and it can encompass various topics. For example, some travel writers focus on describing the places they visit, while others focus on recounting their adventures. Many travel books offer practical advice, such as finding the best hotel deals or avoiding getting sick while traveling. Regardless of the specific focus, all travel writing shares one common goal: to inspire readers to explore the world for themselves.

If you’re thinking about writing a travel book, consider what you would like to achieve with your writing. Are you looking to share your personal experiences? Are you hoping to provide helpful information for other travelers? Or are you simply hoping to capture the beauty and wonder of the places you’ve been fortunate to visit? No matter what your goals may be, travel writing can be an advantageous experience.

Seven steps of how to write a nonfiction book

If you’re thinking about writing a nonfiction book, you’re in luck – because there are seven easy steps you can follow to make the process easier. Let’s take a look at what they are.

1. Pick a topic

The most important thing you can do is choose your topic wisely. Don’t just write about something because it interests you. Write about something that will affect others as well. You may have already done this when you decided what to blog about (if so, good job!). But if not, there are some easy ways to figure out what people want to read about.

One of the best ways is to look at what’s already out there and see what people are talking about on social media, forums, or blogs. These days there are even tools that let you search for popular questions on Google and Amazon, which can help give you ideas for topics related to those searches.

Another option is to ask friends and family members what they think would make an exciting book or topic for one — or ask them for specific suggestions based on their interests and expertise (if they have any). You can also see if anyone has tried publishing a book before with success; maybe they’ll be willing to share their secrets with you!

2. Research and take notes

Once you have an idea for your nonfiction book, it’s time to start researching. This is important whether you’re writing a how-to book, a history book, or any other type of nonfiction. Good research will make your book more accurate and authoritative and help you write more exciting and engaging prose. There are a few different ways to approach research for a nonfiction book.

First, you can read other books on the same topic. This will give you a good overview of the subject matter and help you to identify gaps in the existing literature. Second, you can interview experts in the field. This is a great way to get first-hand knowledge and to hear different perspectives on the topic.

Finally, you can conduct your experiments or case studies. This is especially helpful if you’re writing a how-to book, as it will allow you to show readers exactly how to do something. Whichever approach you choose, make sure to take detailed notes. It’s also a good idea to keep track of your sources, so that you can easily cite them later on. With a bit of research, you’ll be well on writing a nonfiction book that packs a punch.

3. Check your facts

During the fact-checking stage of writing your book, you’ll want to ensure that all of your manuscript’s information is accurate. This can involve doing additional research, verifying quotes and statistics, and contacting experts for their input. While it may seem like a lot of extra work, checking your facts is essential to producing a high-quality book.

Readers will be more likely to trust and engage with a book that contains accurate information, so it’s essential to take the time to get it right. Plus, with the relatively easy availability of information online, fact-checking has become easier than ever before. So if you’re ready to write a nonfiction book that accurately reflects the world around us, check your facts!

4. Outline your book

It’s time to start outlining your book. This is where you’ll decide what information to include, how to organize it, and what the overall structure of your book will be. The best way to start is by brainstorming a list of all the main points you want to cover. Once you have that list, you can begin organizing it into chapters and sections. As you do that, you may find that some points fit together better than others or that some are more important than others. That’s all part of the process – keep working on it until you have a structure that feels right.

Once you have a basic outline, you can start fleshing it out with more details. List the specific points you want to cover for each chapter or section. Then, add any supporting information, examples, or quotes you want to include for each point. Outlining may seem like a lot of work upfront, but it will save you time and frustration later. 

5. Write the chapters

Writing the chapters of your book is where the rubber meets the road. This is where you take all of your great ideas and turn them into a cohesive story. Keep a few things in mind as you write your chapters. First, each chapter should have a specific focus. Once you know what each chapter will be about, it will be easier to stay on track.

Second, your chapters should build on each other. Each new chapter should introduce further information that helps to advance the story. And finally, don’t be afraid to revise as you go. You may find that certain sections need to be expanded or rearranged as you write. That’s perfectly normal! Keep working until you have a finished product you’re proud of.

6. Edit and polish

Now that you’ve written all the chapters of your book, it’s time to edit and polish it. This is where you’ll go through your manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, fixing any errors and ensuring that the overall story flows smoothly. If you’re not confident in your editing skills, you may want to hire a professional editor.

But even if you do that, it’s still a good idea to give your book a final read-through before it goes to print. By editing and polishing your book, you’ll ensure that it’s the best it can be – and that readers will enjoy reading it from cover to cover.

7. Publish your book

You’ve written a book! Congratulations! Now it’s time to publish it. This can be done in several ways, depending on your goals and preferences. If you’re looking to get your book into bookstores, you’ll need to work with a traditional publisher.

But if you’re more interested in self-publishing or selling your book online, many options are available. Whichever route you choose, make sure you do your research and select the option that’s right for you and your book.

Five common mistakes when writing a nonfiction book

how to write a nonfiction book

There are many things to keep in mind when writing a nonfiction book. But you may make one of these five common mistakes if you’re not careful.

1. Not fact-checking

One of the most common mistakes writers make when they set out to write a nonfiction book is not fact-checking their work. In the heat of writing, it can be easy to get caught up in the flow of the story and forget to verify details. However, this can be a costly mistake. Publishing a book with factual errors can damage your credibility as an author and make it difficult to sell your book.

To avoid this pitfall, it’s essential to take the time to fact-check your work before you publish it. This means verifying details like dates, names, and statistics. If you’re unsure about a particular detail, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and leave it out rather than risk including incorrect information. With a little extra effort, you can ensure that your book is free of errors and that readers can trust the information you’ve included.

2. Poor organization

Poor organization is one of the most common mistakes when writing a nonfiction book. Without a clear plan, it can be easy to get sidetracked and end up with a disorganized mess. However, a few simple tips can help you keep your writing on track. First, create an outline of your book before you start writing. This will give you a roadmap to follow and will make it easier to keep your thoughts organized. Second, try to break down each chapter into smaller sections.

This will help you focus on one topic at a time and prevent your writing from becoming too scattered. Finally, don’t be afraid to revise your work as you go. If you find that your book is starting to veer off course, don’t hesitate to go back and make changes. By following these simple tips, you can avoid making the mistake of poor organization and ensure that your book is well-written and enjoyable to read.

3. Dull content

If you’re thinking about writing a nonfiction book, there’s one mistake you want to avoid: stale content. Unfortunately, this is a mistake that many would-be authors make. They assume that because they’re writing about a factual topic, they don’t need to worry about making their book enjoyable. But the truth is, even nonfiction books need to be engaging. After all, no one wants to read a dry, monotonous account of events or facts. So how can you make sure your book will be interesting?

The key is to focus on the human element. Instead of simply recounting data or events, Tell the stories of the people involved. Describe how they felt, what they thought, and what they did next. This can turn a dull topic into an exciting page-turner when done well. So if you’re working on a nonfiction book, don’t forget to focus on the human element. It could be the difference between a bestseller and a failure.

4. Lack of focus

When writing a nonfiction book, it’s crucial to maintain a clear focus. This means deciding on a specific topic or angle and sticking to it. Covering too much ground can make your book feel scattered and disorganized. Worse, it can make your book seem like an unfocused mess. So how can you avoid this mistake?

The key is to be selective about the information you include. Don’t try to cover everything related to your topic. Instead, focus on a few key points that you want to make. By keeping your book focused, you’ll ensure that it is well-organized and enjoyable to read.

5. Self-plagiarism

Self-plagiarism is a serious issue that can damage your credibility as an author. So what is self-plagiarism? It’s recycling your work and passing it off as new. This might seem like a harmless shortcut, but it’s considered dishonest. And if you’re caught doing it, you could face serious consequences.

So how can you avoid self-plagiarism? The best way is to ensure that any material you use from your previous work is clearly labeled. For example, if quoting yourself from another book, include a reference to the source. By following this simple rule, you can avoid any potential problems.

Frequently asked questions

Here are answers to some of your frequently asked questions about how to write a nonfiction book!

How many chapters should a nonfiction book have?

There’s no easy answer regarding how many chapters a nonfiction book should have. It depends on the subject matter and the author’s unique approach to storytelling. In general, most nonfiction books fall between 10 and 20 chapters. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule.

Some books may have fewer chapters, while others may have many more. The important thing is that each chapter serves a purpose and helps to move the story along. By carefully considering the structure of their book, authors can ensure that their readers will have an enjoyable and insightful experience from beginning to end.

How long does it take to write a nonfiction book?

A nonfiction book generally requires less research than a fiction book, so that the writing process may be shorter. However, the length of time will also depend on the author’s experience, the complexity of the topic, and the amount of time the author can dedicate to writing. Generally speaking, it takes most authors several months to complete a nonfiction book.

But some authors have been known to finish a book in as little as six weeks, while others have taken years to complete their work. So ultimately, there is no hard and fast rule for how long it takes to write a nonfiction book. It all depends on the individual author and their unique process.

How do you pitch a book to a publisher?

Start by finding out which publishers will likely be interested in your book. Then, read their submission guidelines carefully and make sure that your book meets their requirements. When you are ready to submit your book, send a brief synopsis, a sample chapter, and a cover letter outlining why you think your book would be a good fit for the publisher. If all goes well, you will receive an offer from the publisher and your book will soon be available to the public.


Writing a nonfiction book can be a rewarding and challenging experience. By following these tips, you can ensure that your book is well-written, engaging, and informative. And by avoiding common mistakes, you can help to ensure your book’s success. So what are you waiting for? Get started on your nonfiction masterpiece today!

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