How to research for your nonfiction book (or other project)

The first port of call in any nonfiction book’s research journey must always be the book’s potential readers. By knowing these people well and understanding their issues and problems, you may even find that the book’s structure and content suggest themselves. So how do you go about it?

how to research for a nonfiction book

Start at your desk with some common sense.

There’s no great mystique to it. If you want to get to know your readers, simply go and talk to them. That’s what I do. But I don’t always follow the most obvious route. [Read more…]

Writing a nonfiction book: does it help to work with a buddy or two?

The prospect of writing a full-length nonfiction book can be a lonely one. Here are some options that could help you on your journey, involving a choice of partnerships…

Co-authors

If you are considering writing a book with one or more others, it’s worth working into your planning process exactly who does what, and on what criteria you will agree on structure, content, editing and so-on. (Saves arguments later!)

I have the experience of working with a co-author on two of my books. In both cases we split the proceeds 50-50, and I believe that’s customary when both co-authors contribute equal amounts to the project. This issue can be a tricky one if you don’t know what to watch out for, especially as people are likely to have differing views on what constitutes 50% of the effort.

One expert and one (topic-literate) writer: [Read more…]

A trip down Book Scam-mory Lane

If you think I’ve been making all this up about unscrupulous publishers fiddling the Amazon Sales Ranks to create instant Amazon number 1 bestsellers, have a read of the following.

I tripped over this chirpy email the other day while decluttering my old email archives, received from – I’m ashamed to say – a publisher who did three of my own titles (without scams). Here it is, with only the names and date redacted…book publishing scam

A lovely scam-vitation from several years ago

Hi Suze

As the last email stated, we have a plan for making
(book’s title) a bestseller on www.amazon.co.uk [Read more…]

How to write a great nonfiction book title: update

Writing a book, or looking into to options to do so? Book titles and taglines are even more important now than they ever were before. Why?

book titles and sales

If your book is going into bookshops and it’s displayed ‘spine out,’ all people will see is the title on the spine – not the tagline.

SEO. Much as we love to communicate directly with our readers we, as authors wanting to promote our books online, have to buckle down and accept that we’re communicating with ‘bots’ and other digital machines … not just humans, although they are still important.

Sets the scene for your writing project 

Some people like to leave the title until last, rather in the way that you ice a cake: the concept here is that you can’t ice a cake until you have prepared and baked its innards. But there are a couple of good reasons for creating the title right at the beginning of your book writing project. Here they are: [Read more…]

Is your new book’s content already on Google?

If readers can find easily, on Google, all or most of the information you intend to write in your book, don’t bother writing the book.

book content on Google

Can most or all of your book’s information be found on Google?

This is a somewhat hard lesson we authors have to take on board, but here it goes: if you want your book to sell make sure it offers readers a lot more than they could find just by searching for the information on Google or other search engines. [Read more…]

Introductions and preambles: enough already

HTWB introductions 1Have you noticed how introductions and preambles in nonfiction books, sales videos, training manuals etc. are getting so long they take up more words and bandwidth than the actual information itself? [Read more…]

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