Well hello there, awesome readers!
This isn’t actually what I was planning to share with you when I sat down at my laptop today. My plan was to post a piece of writing that I wrote as a contribution to a larger project; a book for a not-for-profit organization. (I’ll get back to that later this week.)
Instead, when I sat down my brain went somewhere else. It went “here”. And by here, I mean what you’re about to read below. For some reason the Hamster wanted to talk to anyone that is thinking about writing a nonfiction book. Don’t ask.
But why would anyone want to write a nonfiction book?
I told you not to ask, but since you did here are a few reasons.
Sometimes people want to share their expertise or experiences.
Sometimes people want to position themselves as leaders in their field.
Sometimes there are words burning a hole in your brain and the only way to put out the fire is by telling the story.
Here’s the thing (What? You weren’t expecting a thing? Do you even know me???):
Before you can put pen to paper, you need to write a book proposal. I can hear you groaning from here, stop that.
Yes, writing a nonfiction book proposal is a PITA. (Pain. In. The. Ass.)
But here’s the other thing:
A well-written book proposal will help you plan out your content and serve as your roadmap during the writing process.
Here’s what you need to include:
Part 1: An overview of the entire book concept
- Why does this book need to be written?
- Who is your audience and what will they learn from reading your book?
- Are there stats you can incorporate regarding your audience?
Before I wrote my book SUPERWOMAN: A Funny and Reflective Look at Single Motherhood (Cynren Press: Fall 2020), I did some research and came up with a number: 8.5 Million. That’s how many single mothers there were at the time of my research. And that’s in the U.S. alone.
Part 2: A table of contents and summaries for each chapter
- You see? ROADMAP!
- This is where you get to plan out and compartmentalize each topic that you want to write about. Otherwise, your thoughts are a bulging sack of Scrabble letters and just the thought of writing the book makes you want to go lie down.
Part 3: A competitive analysis of other books similar to yours
- Rule #1 for this section: Do not be negative. In other words, do not put other books or authors down.
- Rule #2: Include proof-points that show how your book will be different or how it will fill the gap between what’s already out there and your vision of what’s missing.
Part 4: Author’s bio
- Why should YOU write this book?
- What is your experience?
- What are your achievements?
Part 5: Marketing plan
- In today’s world, writers need to be part of the promotional aspect of their books. (Except you, Stephen King.) On a positive side, this helps us get in front of our readers and potential readers. Engaging with them helps us know what their questions are. And thanks to social media, this is easier than ever.
Part 6: Sample chapters
- This is important if you plan to pitch your book to literary agents or publishers
- Show them your best writing!
And speaking of writing, here are a few tips:
- Write to one person, as if you were writing a love letter. (As I write this, I’m writing to one person and that person is YOU.)
- Read your writing out loud. This is important. Hearing your words and sentences helps to make sure that there is flow to your writing. And if you have a dog, read to your dog. You’ll feel less silly.
- Writing is REwriting. After you’ve written a first draft, set it aside for a day so that you can read it with fresh eyes. Trust me when I say that you’ll probably hate the parts that you loved yesterday. But that’s a good thing. It gives you something to start with.
- And most importantly, write with honesty. Write from the core of who you are. Don’t use words you wouldn’t use during a conversation. Pertaining to that … You see? I would NEVER say pertaining to that while talking to someone. It felt ridiculous to both of us: to me as the writer and to you as the reader.
So later this week I’ll be sharing that piece I mentioned; the one that I had planned to share with you today. The one that’s going to be part of a book and where all the proceeds are going to help people in need.
Subscribe to this blog and get notified when new posts are up. How do you subscribe? Just scroll back up and enter your email address in the subscription box in the sidebar.
Or you can follow this blog with Bloglovin.