Indie Author Weekly

101: What to think about when writing a non-fiction book

March 02, 2021 Sagan Morrow Episode 102
Indie Author Weekly
101: What to think about when writing a non-fiction book
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Indie Author Weekly
101: What to think about when writing a non-fiction book
Mar 02, 2021 Episode 102
Sagan Morrow

Have you ever wondered where to begin with writing a non-fiction book? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!  

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN to get 5 tips for what you need to think about when writing a non-fiction book...   

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever wondered where to begin with writing a non-fiction book? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!  

This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.   

TUNE IN to get 5 tips for what you need to think about when writing a non-fiction book...   

Resources & links mentioned in this episode:  

Let's chat about this episode:  

Support the show (https://saganmorrow.com/secretpodcast)

Hello and welcome back to Indie Author Weekly! I’m your host, romantic comedy novelist and productivity strategist Sagan Morrow, and this is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. 

Now, have you ever wondered where to begin with writing a non-fiction book? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!

For our new and returning listeners, you can now get all Indie Author Weekly podcast episodes plus book and writing updates delivered directly to your inbox each week at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes—link is in the show notes.

Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share 5 tips for what to think about when writing a non-fiction book. 

We tend to focus a lot on fiction in this podcast, because that’s my current focus of what I’m writing. But you might not know that I actually started out as a non-fiction author! 

That’s right: my very first published book was The Business of Writing & Editing: Practical Tips & Templates for New Freelancers. I published it two years before I started writing and publishing my Polyamorous Passions romantic comedy series. 

I’ve also written a couple other business books since then, including Begin Your Biz in 15 Minutes/Day: Your Freelancing Tips Starter Kit. Both of those non-fiction books—The Business of Writing & Editing and Begin Your Biz in 15 Minutes/Day—were written as a direct result of an expressed need in my community. You can learn more and grab both of those books at SaganMorrow.com/books (link is in the show notes), or search for either of them at your favourite e-bookstore.

Some backstory: I started my business as a freelance writer over a decade ago. I was side hustling for a while before I took it full-time. And at that point, I was inundated with requests from aspiring freelancers to give them the inside scoop on how I started my freelance business, and how they could do the same. 

That’s when I wrote The Business of Writing & Editing, and it received such positive feedback that I knew I had a lot more to give in that area! That’s when I began teaching online courses about how to work from home effectively, which has since evolved into teaching about productivity and time management for multi-passionate creatives and solopreneurs. You can learn more about that at SaganMorrow.com/powerhouse — link is in the show notes.

I wrote Begin Your Biz in 15 Minutes/Day shortly after I started writing romcom novels, and it was the “book form” of my old Facebook group for freelancers. So that’s the quick gist of those two non-fiction books.

By the way! I don’t know if I’ve shared my full business journey with you here on Indie Author Weekly before… So, let me know if you want me to do an episode on that! I’d be happy to tell that story if you’re interested. Connect with me on Twitter or Instagram to let me know—my handle is @Saganlives. 

Okay, so, if YOU want to write a non-fiction book, what exactly do you need to think about? 

I have 5 tips for you to help you get started…

Tip #1: Keep a central focus in mind for your book. 

What’s the purpose or goal of your book? 

For example, with The Business of Writing & Editing, the purpose is to provide an overview of what you need to know about starting your business as a freelance writer or editor.

And with Begin Your Biz in 15 Minutes/Day, the goal is to empower freelancers to make progress with their business even on a time-crunch, through actionable steps they can take every single day in just 15 minutes or less.

Understanding the main point of your book will help you figure out what you want to include in it.

Tip #2: Identify exactly who your reader is before you even begin. 

If you don’t know who you’re writing your book to and for, then you might be all over the place with your content, voice, and style. You want this to be super clear when you are writing non-fiction!

If you’re all over the place with who your reader is, then your book won’t make any sense. If I had been thinking about new freelancers and established freelancers when writing The Business of Writing & Editing, for example, then my book content would have been both too basic and too advanced for readers depending on where they were at in the journey, and it would have frustrated them. That’s why it is very clear to readers immediately whether or not my business books are designed for them.

Tip #3: Map out the main components necessary to help your reader get to that end goal. 

For example, with The Business of Writing & Editing, I had to think about, “What does a reader need to know to start their freelance writing or editing business?” Well, first of all, you need to know if the freelance life is right for you, how to prepare for it and create a plan, how to launch your business and how to ensure you set yourself up for success. As a result, the chapters align with each of those steps.

And with Begin Your Biz in 15 Minutes/Day, I wanted to ensure that readers have an entire year’s worth of daily action steps they can take to make progress with their business. That’s why I mapped it out with 12 chapters featuring different themes, each with 30 15-minute action steps. The order of these chapters was important, too! It starts with goal setting and business planning, then leads into ideal clients and marketing, then moves into pitching and retaining clients, and then glides into streamlining your business and reducing overwhelm.

So, think about the steps your reader needs to take in order to achieve the goal of the book, and work backward to create your chapter outline.

Tip #4: Decide what approach you’ll take for this book. 

For example, with The Business of Writing & Editing, I really wanted to incorporate a lot of personal anecdotes and real-life examples. As a result, it reads very much as part-memoir, part-how-to guide. 

And with Begin Your Biz in 15 Minutes/Day, I wanted it to be focused completely on the daily action steps so that readers can pick up the book and see exactly what they should work on to grow their business, every single day over the course of an entire year. So each chapter focuses specifically on the daily action steps within a particular theme.

What approach do you want to take? Do you want it to be informational, educational, conversational, instructional? What voice do you want it to have—no-nonsense versus motivational and inspirational, and so on. Think about all of that before you start writing so it can help guide your own writing process.

Tip #5: Think about additional supports for your book.

I am NOT a fan of adding random fluff just to fill a book… But I DO think it’s important to add additional pieces to support your main message. 

For example, with The Business of Writing & Editing, I include 8 appendices at the back with awesome resources like a sample business plan, invoice, and contract template. They are really useful basics for every freelancer when starting their business, and a lot of readers mention how much they love those templates when they review that book.

In another example, with Begin Your Biz in 15 Minutes/Day, I include two chapters at the front of the book to prepare the reader with diving into the following chapters, so that they don’t get overwhelmed with all of the content. That felt really important since the book is packed full of action steps.

There you have it! Five tips for what to think about when writing a non-fiction book. To recap: 

  1. Keep a central focus in mind while you’re planning and writing your book
  2. Identify exactly who your ideal reader is
  3. Map out the main points necessary to help your reader get to that end goal
  4. Decide what approach, voice, and style you’ll take
  5. Think about additional supports you can include for your book

Do you want to read The Business of Writing & Editing or Begin Your Biz in 15 Minutes/Day for yourself? You can grab your copy of both of these books at your favourite e-bookstore, or visit SaganMorrow.com/books — link is in the show notes.

I hope this episode helps you out if you’re considering writing a non-fiction book. They’re a lot of fun to write, and it’s so valuable for others to learn from your expertise, whatever that may be. 

And that, my friend, is a wrap for today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly! Access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources, at SaganMorrow.com/podcast.

Thank you so much for tuning in. Please take 2 minutes to rate and review Indie Author Weekly on Apple Podcasts—I really appreciate your support. 

Until next week, this is Sagan Morrow, signing off the Indie Author Weekly podcast.