Friday, November 14, 2014

The First Step to Writing a Nonfiction Book

by Suzanne Lieurance, the Working Writer's Coach

Okay, so you think you're ready to write a nonfiction book.

But unlike so many people who jump right in and start writing – only to never finish the book OR they end up with a book that no one wants to buy – you’ve decided to learn more about the process so you’ll have the best chance for success.

The First Step

So here’s the first step. Simply copy and answer the 12 questions that follow:

1. Why do you want to write this book? (what will the book do for YOU)

2. What is the intended purpose of your book? (what will the book do for readers)

3. Who is your target audience for your book? Be as specific as possible - give as many details about your readers as you can.

4. What qualifies you to write this book?

5. What competition exists for your book? (If you don’t know, look in bookstores and online for books like the one you wish to write. There should be some books similar to yours already on the market. If not, then there may not BE a market for your book.)

6. Do you want to self-publish your book or try to find a traditional publisher for it? Please thoroughly explain your reasons for your choice.

7. How much time will have you available each week for writing your book? Please describe the type of writing schedule you hope to establish for yourself.

8. What kinds of materials do you already have that you can use for your book – notes, speeches, articles, etc? Also, how would you describe your current nonfiction writing style and voice/tone? Is this the same style and voice/tone you hope to use for this book? Explain.

9. Do you know other experts in your field who would be willing to write a foreward for your book? Explain.

10. Have you already conducted interviews, done much of the research, etc. for your book, or will you be starting from the very beginning? Explain in detail.

11. How will you promote and market your book?

12. In what ways do you want to financially benefit from your book? Explain in detail.

If you take the time to answer these 12 questions, you'll be much more likely to finish writing your nonfiction book, and you'll also be more likely to write a nonfiction book people will want to buy.

Good luck!

Suzanne Lieurance is an author, freelance writer, certified professional life coach and writing coach, speaker and workshop presenter. She has written over two dozen published books and hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines, and other publications. Let her help you launch your career as a romance author - at the beach. Find out more at


Shirley Corder said...

Good points, Suzanne. Thank you for making this list for us.

Karen Cioffi said...

Suzanne, thanks for the tips. Planning first and knowing where you're heading is always a good thing.

Kathleen Moulton said...

As always, Suzanne, you give good instruction and guidance to keep writers on target. Thank-you!

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