While a lot of new authors tend to see fiction and nonfiction writing as opposites, the fact is that both approaches require an equal amount of storytelling, creativity, and a robust understanding of the target audience.
As a new non-fiction writer, you need to take care of the fact that your story sparks a great amount of interest in the reader instead of just being limited to boring facts. Even though you’re writing about the true events and people, you still need to put a lot of imagination into your storytelling to make it interesting for the readers.
Mistakes To Avoid As Non-Fiction Authors
If you’re looking for some guidance on how to write a nonfiction book, here we are discussing some of the common mistakes that newbie non fiction authors make that you need to avoid completely –
Writing Without Identifying the Target Niche
As a new non-fiction writer, one of the most important aspects you need to figure out is to identify your reader base and write specifically for them. Don’t make the mistake of writing for just anyone and everyone without getting a clear idea on who these people are and what you can offer them.
Once you identify your readers, you then need to step into their shoes and look at the content or information you’re presenting from their perspective.
If you fail to identify exactly who your reader is or if you’re too broad in your approach, then you will never be able to get your message across to the audience you are writing for.
Not Fully Understanding Story Structure
Writing a non-fiction book is very different from writing in your diary. It requires a very different approach, unlike the free-flowing capture of thoughts.
And this is an area where many of the first time nonfiction authors make mistakes. They just begin the process of writing without understanding the story structure.
Whether you’re writing a motivational piece, self-help book, memoir, true crime narrative or telling someone how to conduct a meeting, you would require a solid structure for your story. The most common one that you can follow is a three-part structure, including beginning, middle, and end.
Failing To Pick A Style Guide
A style guide essentially is a detailed manual or set of principles to assist you to produce consistent writing. It can help you decide about multiple issues in your writing like punctuation and hyphenation.
Some of the other most important aspects that a style guide helps the beginner authors with include offering recommendations for sentence construction, making the choice of passive voice or offering guidelines on the word choices.
Apart from this, you also need to maintain consistency with headings, subheadings, and elements including the use of italics, dates, UK/US spelling choices, font size and styles, abbreviations, and size of graphics.
Unable to Grab the Audience Attention
Irrespective of how good your ideas are, you won’t be able to offer them to your readers unless you’re successful in catching their attention at the beginning with a strong hook.
When it comes to non-fiction readers, their minds are very selective. As an author, you need to give them a strong reason to pay attention to your content, and you can only do this by building on a very powerful beginning.
Not Writing a Proper Conclusion.
Similar to the above point, without a conclusion, your book can abruptly stop, leaving the reader hanging in the middle- no matter how good your content is. As a non-fiction author, you need to make sure that you provide a proper summary of what the reader has learned.
A proper conclusion will also make the reader proactively look for your next book, go to your website or follow you on social media.
Giving Too Much Information To The Readers
Offering too much information is a common mistake that non-fiction writers make. Many times, the author gives unnecessary information about a subject that the reader doesn’t know or hardly care about.
While it may sound interesting to you to give a lot of information to readers, make sure that whatever you offer to the reader is used to enlighten them and take your story forward in the right direction.
Remember that there’s always a very fine line between reinforcing information and just repeating yourself often throughout a nonfiction book. It is best to keep it concise without repeating the same information over and again. Keep the word count to the required minimum just enough to get your message across more precisely.
Mix Different Language Styles
Based on the topic of your nonfiction book, you can either opt for a formal or informal tone in the language you use. However, it is important to not mix different language styles and just stick to one or the other.
If you switch language styles often within or between chapters, it will definitely confuse the reader, and they will soon start losing interest.
Not prioritizing a logical flow of thoughts is a common mistake that a lot of new non-fiction writers make. When you are writing a nonfiction book, your approach needs to be clear and concise.
To be able to achieve a logical flow, make sure that the book is –
- Ordered chronologically and connects similar ideas
- Clearly guides the reader from a beginning point to an endpoint
- Follows a tried outline and repeats patterns throughout
You can also use the snowflake method here, which is considered as one of the best approaches for beginner nonfiction writers. The approach helps writers to create a solid outline by starting with the most basic information about the story and then working your way up to other important details such as the plot and the character descriptions.
Penning down a nonfiction book might sound like an uphill task to new writers, but it gives an excellent platform to educate, inspire and motivate others.
However, if you’re not careful and make the common mistakes, you could unknowingly end up doing a disaster to your nonfiction narrative.
By following the above tips, you can ensure to avoid all such common mistakes and improve your nonfiction writing and pen a captivating story for your readers.