Being an editor is not an easy job. And if you are a development editor of nonfiction books, you are in a tight position. Development editing and copy editing is one of the brainstorming jobs in the creativity world. Every now and then, I come across the question what are the things to consider while writing your first nonfiction book. To help the upcoming authors who want to write their first nonfiction books, here are 7 things to consider while writing a nonfiction book.
Writing is like giving yourself homework, really hard homework, everyday, for the rest of your life. You want glamorous? Throw glitter at the computer screen.
Choose your topic well
There is a proverb in Assamese, “Know the water before you dive in”. Same thing applies to writing a nonfiction book. As a writer, it is up to you what type of a book you want to write. Taste your strength in writing articles/research papers on that particular subject for a considerable time. See the response and then decide. An ideal nonfiction book needs to be detailed in information, and being the author, you need to choose your topic well.
Research the market
Everybody wants their book to be bestseller. For it, you need to have a proper idea of the market. If you are choosing a common topic, get to know what type of chances your book will hold in the competition. It is also beneficial to know what type of competition your book is going to face so that you can make it stand among the crowd.
Be ready with the content plan
As you are now ready with the topic and loaded with market knowledge, let’s create a content plan for your book. The content plan will be your blue print in writing the book. There is no hard and fast rule of creating a content plan. It can be your chapterisation for the book or what points you are going to cover in your book. Suppose, you are writing a book on pottery, be sure you are covering points like prehistory of pottery in the Neolithic age to contemporary use of pottery and in between everything. Just jolt down the points and your content plan is ready.
A ready content plan will help you to know what point you are going to cover and what progress you are making along the way. It saves your time and makes your job a little easy.
Research and research everything
Do not write anything from guess or memories from a talk you had with an expert ten years ago. Nonfiction books are mine of knowledge and people do not take seriously if you mess with information. Research even the tiniest detail regarding any point you want to write about. Take a notebook (I am sure you do, just reminding to use it!) and write down everything about it. Do not forget to mark the reference separately. It will save you hours of hassle before organising your bibliography and reference list.
Keep a Thesaurus and Grammar book handy
Language can be very tricky and to rein it in, keep your wits sharp by regularly consulting a grammar book and thesaurus. I have often noticed people with good academic background to rack their minds with loss of words. Do not waste time; just invest in a good thesaurus and grammar book.
Discuss the topic with other authors
Discussing your topic with co authors and colleagues will give you an idea about how the common people think about your chosen topic. You need not to disclose about the book but a healthy discussion on a topic is regular among the colleagues and you can be benefitted from it.
Make a schedule
The main thing in writing a book is continuing writer’s consistency. Book writing can be very stressful at times and even the most optimistic person can lose hope. To keep yourself going, make a habit of writing at least a paragraph on a chosen topic every day. When you write regularly, it is easy to keep it moving out of habit. Read regularly too and share your knowledge with likeminded people. Maintain a schedule helps to keep your sanity intake (At least mine does!!).