Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nonfiction: Top 10 Reasons for Writing Nonfiction

One way to look at what writing non-fiction is the value of the book or article you’re authoring. One key of non-fiction, especially when writing about subjects that have already been written about, is to set your creating apart from the rest. The value may be educational or of entertainment value. The author may find it easy to define the value of the book or article, and sometimes the value may not be so easily defined.

I now present to you the top ten reasons writing non-fiction can be of value to the author and audience:

  1. The piece you are writing is unique in its approach and style. There is no other book or article like it, and that uniqueness can be a selling point.
  2. The topic has been covered in bits and pieces by other authors, but no book or article covers the subject comprehensively.
  3. The research you have done may not have answered your own questions, motivating you to write an article or book in the first place. Those questions you are answering in your piece, thus, are those that cannot be found anywhere else.
  4. The book or article answers questions that people ask you about the topic. For example, the book you write may answer questions about Civil War artillery that you’ve taken from your own inquiries andm in the case of a historical event, there are always new discoveries to be made no matter how much something is already written about and recent evidence may give a different interpretation of the past. When writing non-fiction, little-known research may uncover forgotten or lost information.
  5. Some topics are difficult for the average reader to understand. You may be able to make technical or scientific knowledge accessible and understandable to the general audience by writing about it in the simplest language possible while still keeping the points in place.
  6. In some fields, such as medicine or computers, change is constant. The book or article you write will be current with the most up-to-date information available.
  7. While keeping in mind that accuracy must be proven, the level of accuracy of your book might be better than others of the same topic.
  8. When writing about trends, keep in mind that the longevity of the book may be in question because of its topic. Trends come and go, so a book written about a trend may be outdated in a year or two. However, if you can convince a publisher the book will indeed still be timely two years from now, that can be a selling point. Ideally, the book should be timely or timeless.
  9. Your expertise will be recognized and the reputation developed from your expertise can be a selling point in itself.
  10. Unlike fiction, non-fiction works do not need audiences of millions in order to sell. The topic can help you focus your writing on the market segment you wish to reach, be it Civil War buffs, old-time radio fans or hunters.

Essentially, your book will fill a market. The market that the book fills is often the result of a writer who attempts to find that needed answer to a question where a gap in available resources has been found.

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