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Successful Nonfiction: Tips and Information for Getting Published [Secure eReader]
eBook by Dan Poynter

eBook Category: Self Improvement
eBook Description: Chapter One starts with a lucid commentary on writing. Writing is a creative act. Building a nonfiction book requires planning, structure and lots of labor. Your intellectual property is a piece of art; it will not design itself or be created overnight. Writing a book is a journey, a trip to be enjoyed on the way to the reward at the destination. Learning as you research your subject is stimulating. The thought process of distilling the pertinent information for your readers is invigorating. Crafting just the right words to convey your message is energizing and provides the power to maintain your writing momentum. The published book is your goal but the process is fun. You are fortunate to be a writer. Chapter Two focuses on the rationale of writing. There are many justifications for investing your time and money in writing a nonfiction book. Some are fame, fortune, to help other people and/or because you have a personal mission. Chapter Three stresses need of a book. A nonfiction book is a product, an information product that is inexpensive to manufacture and easy to distribute. A book speaks with more authority than other media. Chapter Four explains a reader what to write. In First, decide whether to entertain or inform. In other words, decide between fiction and nonfiction. As you will discover, nonfiction is easier to sell. Chapter Five stresses on Research. Most of a nonfiction writer's time is spent in study. You must locate and read through all the relevant materials available in other books, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, interviews, museums, historical societies, public libraries, university libraries and special (law, medical) libraries.

eBook Publisher: Para Publishing/Para Publishing
Fictionwise Release Date: June 2004




"This book is so reduced, so concise, so easy to grasp--so if you're really serious about writing grab it."--Barnaby Conrad, Founder and Director, Santa Barbara Writers Conference

"The advice contained in this book comes from those who have succeeded in their writing careers. The sensible counsel in this well-written anthology has immediate and long-term benefits for the serious writer."--Ray Newton, National Coordinator,�Reader's Digest Writing Workshops

"(This book is) loaded with practical and inspirational tips for writing success."--Nat Bodian, The Book Marketing Handbook

"The information in this book is worth thousands of dollars. Don't even think about writing or publishing a nonfiction book without it!"--Jack Canfield, Co-author and editor of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul(R) series

"Dan Poynter is a wealth of publishing information. That makes what he's selected to share all that more valuable."--Gordon Burgett, Publishing to Niche Markets

"Dan Poynter's Successful Nonfiction is a must read. He gives many valuable tips that can move you light years ahead in your work. I plan to keep his book on my desk alongside my Chicago Manual of Style and Roget's Thesaurus."--Mary Embree, Literary Consultant and Founder of the Small Publishers, Artists and Writer's Network

"The main reason people don't finish their books is lack of motivation. If this book doesn't inspire you to finish your manuscript and get it into print, nothing will."--Robert W. Bly, Getting Your Book Published

"There are not many perfect books but this is one of them. It provides two of the three 'in words a writer needs to succeed--information and inspiration. The third is inner drive, but the writer must provide that himself. And Dan delivers it all with the greatest weapon a writer has at his disposal--fun. Dan knows how to entertain, so his reader enjoys the experience of reading."--John Tullius, Founder and Director, Maui Writers Conference

"Throw away your library of how-to-write books and grab this one. It's packed with ideas, tips and tricks to help you write and sell your book. I love it!"--Joe Vitale, author of� There's a Customer Born Every Minute

"I can't imagine a better gift for anyone who ever thought of writing."--Maryanne Raphael, Writers World

"This book is a keeper with practical insights on every page. It belongs in every writer's library."--Terry Paulson, Ph.D., author of 50 Tips for Speaking Like a Pro and 1998-99 President of the National Speakers Association

"Fun. Informative. Motivational. The perfect gift for your writer friends."--Dianna Booher, author of Communicate with Confidence,The Worth of a Woman's Words and Get a Life without Sacrificing Your Career

"Once again, Dan untiringly offers up more of his expertise and experience to the army of nonfiction warriors. This is a marvelous 'crack sealer'."--Raleigh Pinskey, 101 Ways to Promote Yourself and You Can Hype Anything

"Why settle for writing a good book when you can write a great one? This book shows how to create a great book even if it's your first. You will find wisdom on every page."--Terri Lonier, Working Solo


Chapter One
On Writing

Writing is a creative act. Building a nonfiction book requires planning, structure and lots of labor. Your intellectual property is a piece of art; it will not design itself or be created overnight.

Writing a book is a journey, a trip to be enjoyed on the way to the reward at the destination. Learning as you research your subject is stimulating. The thought process of distilling the pertinent information for your readers is invigorating. Crafting just the right words to convey your message is energizing and provides the power to maintain your writing momentum. The published book is your goal but the process is fun. You are fortunate to be a writer.

This chapter will take you through the four nonfiction drafts with dozens of tips from the best in the business:

• Rough draft
• Content edit
• Peer review
• Copy edit (including fact checking)

Writing is creative, writing is fun. Good writing begets better writing -- so practice.

Write a Page-Turner

Get the reader past page eighteen.

Start your book off with an action chapter; make it exciting. Like the introductory part of a speech, Chapter One should arouse the reader and whet his or her appetite. Too many authors want to start from the beginning and describe their research or put a boring history chapter first. The reader wants to know where to and how to. Do not sedate the reader in the first chapter; encourage him or her to read on.

It has been reported that most book buyers do not get past page 18 in a new book. They buy it, bring it home, begin reading, and then put it down on the bedside table. And they never get back to it. Your book has to be exciting in the initial pages to keep the reader involved and reading.

Getting a customer to buy your book is not enough. You want your buyer to read it, underline it, highlight it, talk about it, move to action and profit from it. A satisfied reader will recommend your book to friends and your fan will buy your next book.

Hit the page writing.

"It is the writer's fault, not the reader's if the reader puts down the book." -- David Halberstam, author.

Don't Allow Interruptions

God made the earth in six days and then he rested. He could have done the job in just four days if it had not been for all the interruptions.

Good writing requires concentration. Interruptions often occur when you are deep in thought and producing your best work.

Emergencies such as earthquakes, fire, and flood are interruptions we can accept. We may even weave the unexpected experience into our future work. Telephone calls, visitors and unnecessary questions are interruptions that may make a writer a bit snippy. This is perfectly normal. If people do not want to hear you yell at them, they should leave you alone.

Novelist Judith Krantz places this sign on her door:

DO NOT COME IN. DO NOT KNOCK. DO NOT SAY HELLO. DO NOT SAY I'M LEAVING. DO NOT SAY ANYTHING UNLESS THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE.

Explain to your housemates: "I love you but I am working now. Working requires concentration and one brief interruption can cause me to lose a train of thought and lose an hour or more of time. Your brief greeting or question could cause me to lose a valuable thought that will affect our income." Set boundaries and unplug the telephone.

Sue Grafton lives in Santa Barbara. In 1993 she returned to the University of Louisville to accept an honor. On a lark, she went to look at houses -- and bought one. Now she writes in both places. She says "It's really quiet in Kentucky because no one knows when I'm there."

"Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking." -- Lawrence Clark Powell, author.

Take Your Time

How long does it take to write a book?

That's like asking "how much is a car?" It depends on a great many things.

When Maryanne Raphael first read about the international Three-Day Writing Contest, she thought it was a joke. But the idea of writing a book in three days fascinated her. So several years later she signed up, got a sponsor, and arranged to spend Labor Day weekend at her keyboard day and night.
She began writing as fast as she could, doing her best at all times because there was no chance for rewriting. The subconscious was in control with the conscious mind in the dark much of the time. The same powerful curiosity that keeps readers turning pages kept her writing them. She finished the manuscript, The Man Who Loved Funerals, by the deadline with short breaks for stretching and naps. It is now in New York with her agent who thinks it is her best work. And she has spent ten years writing her nonfiction book, How To Write a Novel in Three Days."

According to Brenner Information Group, on the average, it takes 475 hours to write fiction books and 725 hours to write nonfiction.

For many authors, the writing of the book is a journey to be enjoyed.

"You've lived 78 years and you expect me to ghostwrite your memoir in a week?" -- Gail Kearns, writer and editor.

Allocate Time

Does your writing come first or last?

Many writers like to set aside a few hours for their writing each day; they establish a schedule and stick to it religiously. A few have the luxury of writing full-time or of getting away to concentrate on their writing. They find marathon writing is more fun and avoids the challenge of getting back to the manuscript each day. Still others have to fit in their writing whenever they can.

Nat Bodian decided to write his first book in 1979. Finding time was difficult because he worked full-time as a marketer at a New York publishing house and commuted from New Jersey. He did some writing on the bus to and from New York, some was done on a pad of paper walking across Manhattan and some was done during his lunch hours. Then, evenings after his kids were in bed, he continued in a basement typing room until the wee hours of the morning and on weekends.
The Book Marketing Handbook was published by R.R. Bowker 20 months later and it is still selling. This and several more industry books led to his nomination to the Publishing Hall of Fame.

Subscribers to Writer's Digest magazine spend 12.64 hours writing each week. Beginners spend seven hours a week and advanced writers spend 30.5.

Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King wrote powerful articles and books about their activities or causes while behind bars. Make effective use of your most valuable asset: your time.

"Writing has to come first." -- Sue Grafton, author, "O" is for Outlaw.

Overcome Writer's Block

If you wait for inspiration, you are a waiter not a writer.

If you are having trouble getting started, look at other books. Go to the bookstore, library, and surf the Web. See what is available on your topic (and what is not). Read about writing and about your subject. More research will give you more ideas.

Paul and Sarah Edwards, the nation's "self-employment experts" and authors of eight books say, "We non-fiction writers do not get classic writer's block. We get brain block. We get disconnected from what we have to say. So, when you get stuck, ask yourself 'What do I have to say about this?' or 'What do people need to know?' Then start writing down whatever comes to mind.
"If you draw a complete blank, check out what others think about the topic by reading what they have written or doing a few interviews. Then write out what you think about what you have heard or read. What conclusions have you reached? Do you agree or disagree? Is your experience similar or different?
"What are others overlooking? What can you add? Write it all down and you are underway.
"When you have difficulty writing, try talking. Talk about what you would like to say. Tape it if that will help you remember. Then write down what you just said."

If you can't seem to write just now, do something for your book, anything. Exercise your mind; take your brain for a book walk. Go somewhere either book or subject related.

"To overcome writer's block, get something -- anything -- down on paper. Don't wait for perfection to issue forth. Since the key to good writing is rewriting, give yourself something to edit." -- James Freund, author, Smart Negotiating: How to Make Good Deals in the Real World.

Respect Your Reader's Time

Time is not money. Today, most consumers have more money than time.

Your reader wants your information but must fit it into a busy schedule.

Everyone is trying to save time. The need for speed has given rise to McDonalds, Fed Ex and Kinko's. In fact, more food goes out the side window at McDonalds than through the front door. McDonalds is a "drive-through" restaurant. Diners not only want fast food, they do not have time to sit down at a table to eat it.
Many people save time by doing two or more things at once. You can see them on the freeway, driving, eating, talking on the phone, and combing their hair -- all at the same time.

Research, compile the information, and condense it down to just the nuggets. Do your best for your reader by writing the solution to his or her challenges in as few words as possible.

Use brief wording and paragraphs. Your reader wants the information; he or she is not reading your nonfiction book to be diverted.

"The writer does the most who gives his reader the most knowledge and takes from him the least time." -- Charles Caleb Colton, Lacon, 1825.

Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2003 by Dan Poynter


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