How to write nonfiction books for beginners. Every beginner author will find this post valuable. Experienced authors can also find this guide on writing nonfiction ebooks useful.
I have included my practical experience in this guide. I have written and sold lots on nonfiction books online and offline over the years. You can check out our sales results at our About page on this blog
What are nonfiction books?
According to Wikipedia, Nonfiction (also spelled non-fiction) is any document or media content that attempts, in good faith, to provide accurate information regarding a real-world topic. Nonfictional content may be presented either objectively or subjectively.
How to write nonfiction books for beginners: A do-It-Yourself Guide
I receive lots of emails and I see the question being asked by different beginners authors about how to write nonfiction books they can publish and sell on Amazon.
There was one particular chat I had with a young guy. We have been chatting for many minutes and I could feel the excitement in his chat and conversation with me.
But then while I was about rounding the chat with him, he asked this line of question: “How do I write a book I can sell on Amazon?
I was surprised to read that question from him. I taught he already had a book written and he was looking for how to get it published on Amazon.
This conversation further propelled me to do this pillar post in the topic of how to write nonfiction books for authors.
You can write your own sellable nonfiction ebook
From experience and due to the many ways I have interacted with books over the years, I have discovered how lots of people value authors who have published books and they wished they could have books published to their names too.
Well, most times for most of these people, their ambitions have remained on the wish list for so long and may just remain there throughout their lifetime on this earth!
This guide is a great guide and it is a do-it-yourself manual. It is meant to give you step-by-step instructions on how you can write your first non-fiction book.
Everyone has a nonfiction book Inside
I believe everyone has a book in himself or herself. If you have been involved in a vocation for four or more years, you can push out a book to the world. There are people who want to know what you know and are even ready to pay you for it.
One of the cheapest and simplest ways to teach the precious treasures you carry in you is through the medium of books.
This guide will help you to get up and begin to do something about giving the world your first book. Even if you have written your first book, this guide will help you to keep on writing more books.
How to write nonfiction books for beginners: Important Things To Note
Relax, it’s easy: Yes you can do it. When you write the first book, and then the second, and then the third, you will get better and will always find it easy to write lots of other books. This was how I garnered my book-writing experience.
Don’t worry about spelling or grammar errors: You will be using your word processor spelling and grammar tool to correct a lot of these. An Editor will do all the other corrections that are needed. I use Grammarly tool extensively.
It is your experience or what you know that you are required to put on paper.
Whatever will be necessary to enhance the beauty of what you have written on paper will be done by these agents I mentioned above.
You have what it takes: Yes, you have the experience. This post is primarily built to help people to write books in the area where they have experience. Though you can write a book in an area where you don’t have experience, this guide will not cover this aspect of the book-writing practice.
You should look out for my upcoming book, 20 Ways To Write and Publish a Book In Any Niche of Your Choice. Join our free email newsletter to learn more.
I will be using my book examples all through this post: As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I will be using my deep and many years experience all through this post.
This is to show you practical ways I have used the writing instructions I will be sharing with you. I have written so many books. You can visit my website at All my books
I will also be using these examples of mine to show you how you can carry out some of the steps I will be showing you. This makes it easy for you to grasp the message I will be passing across to you.
Now let us go straightaway to the book-writing steps.
Writing your first nonfiction ebook: What is Your Experience?
This is what I mean. I was a math teacher for many years and I wrote a book called Silly Mistakes in Mathematics. What have you been involved in for some years now?
Please write this down. I know of someone who has been actively involved in the children department of her church for many years who wrote a book, How To Train A Teenager In The Way Of God.
You will be able to ‘think up’ book ideas by the time you get to the end of this guide. But first, you should write down all that you have been involved in for some years now.
Have you done that?
Now let us go to the next thing you have to do.
Write Book Ideas
This is how you can discover good book ideas where you can pick your first book title for your first book. You will need to answer some of these questions:
What are the issues that have given you much concern in your vocation for many years now? Please use a two or three-word phrase to write these down.
For example, in my case, the problem of common errors in mathematics on the part of students was one of the major concerns.
I noticed my students were always making some silly errors whenever it was time to solve questions in some of the foundational topics like BODMAS, Directed Numbers, Division of Decimals and the rest to solve questions at the higher classes.
You can write down as many concerns and issues as possible.
What are the specific problems you have solved personally or as a group in your vocation or industry over the years?
What are the various ways you have carried out your duties all these years. There are some people who desire books or information products that will describe how you carry out your duties.
For example, I wrote a book, Bible Secrets for Effective School Teaching. I was good in the class as a math teacher and I was helped by God to pick up good teaching secrets from the bible that described how I carried out my duties when I was in the classroom teaching math.
What major successes have you recorded in your vocation over the years? When you write these, you should not forget to write in front of these successes, the problems you solved.
You can also use the internet to obtain good book ideas. I will be listing below the various ways you can do this.
Watch video on how we research keywords for our titles on Amazon
Use keywords research tools
Visit and use online keyword research tools (You can search online for ‘free online keywords research tools’): Input the main keyword or key phrase that describe your vocation into the keyword box and search for key phrases that are related to your vocation.
I use this wonderful Amazon keywords research tool.
With these results you can pick out good ones that you can write down as book ideas. I have also used the google adwords keyword research tool for this purpose. You must register for a free google adwords account to have access to this.
There are many others but most of them put limitations into how many key phrases you can obtain from your search results except you subscribe to a premium service. I also use https://kwfinder.com.
The key phrases results you obtained represent the different searches search engine users have made over time. I am sure you know that most people use search engines to search for solutions to their various problems. This is where this tool can be useful to you. You want exactly the phrases they have searched for over time which were meant to solve their problems. These can be great book ideas for you.
Visit online forums
Go to online forums that are related to your niche or vocation and look at the various topics of discussions on these forums. Most users of forums come on board to ask questions or deliberate on matters that are giving them problems.
You can get lots of ideas in these types of forums. I wrote me best-selling book, You Can Stop Masturbation as a result of such visit to a Christian online forum.
I noticed this long thread on the topic and I took the decision to write a book on it which describes how addicts can use their mind resources to put an end to this practice by reading a simple story.
Go to the Amazon search box at https://amazon.com. Amazon has great control over the ebook publishing world. Any author who wants to earn passive income from ebook sales must be on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
If you are selling on this platform, you must learn to use the search box on the website to research keywords and book titles and book projects. When you type the main keywords, the search box will give other variations of search phrases that are used on the platform.
There are many other ways to find book ideas that you can work upon online. I will only stop here and may, in a future book, write a comprehensive book or post on this topic.
Start Work on Your First Book Idea
You can now pick the first book idea that you will work upon using this guide among the many you wrote down from the last section of this post. I want you to understand that there is a difference between a book idea and a book title.
You have only succeeded in putting together book ideas that you can work upon now and in the future and not the book titles.
Though the phrases you wrote down as book ideas may eventually become the book titles of the different book ideas without alterations.
However, sometimes, you may need to refine some of them.
For example, for my book, You Can Break Addiction, the book idea was a guide that will teach how addicts can end addiction. I ended picking this title, You Can Break Addiction after putting many things into consideration.
Have you picked one?
Define the Purpose of Your Book
What is the main problem your book is coming to solve? You need to write this out very clearly.
The step to do this started from the time you were researching the book ideas. Now that you have picked the first book idea, you need to write out very clearly the main purpose why you are writing the book.
Who Are You Writing For?
Who are you targeting or solving their problems. Who will be most interested in your book? You can have about three groups in order of relevance in this case. For example, for my book, Silly Mistakes in Mathematics, the main target are the parents of the students; the second are the schools while the third are the students themselves.
Note: The two immediate tips above will be extremely useful when you begin to write. They make you write effectively.
You will be using the right tone and the right language. You will also be using the inspiration you will be receiving appropriately.
Can You Coin a Title or Sub Title Now?
Coining out a good book title can also help you to write an effective book. A description of the purpose of your book and your target audience can really help you to write a good title and subtitle.
You may also have to play with lots of options before you can pick a final one. Before i picked the final title for my book I played with Common Mistakes in Mathematics, Silly Mistakes in Mathematics and How to Solve Students Errors in Mathematics as titles for the book.
There are many books out there on how to craft out a great book title. A good book cover attracts people to your book while a good book title must tell them at a glance what your book is all about and make them to take further steps to purchase your book.
Silly Mistakes in Mathematics is a great title that shows my would-be customers clearly what the book is all about and encourage them to take a buying decision.
Some people have also argued for and against short book title or long book title but this guide will not be going into this debate.
Though I have my favorite (you need to look at the titles of most of my books to find out my favorite), I believe a long or short book title will do very well if it satisfies the basic requirements of a good book title.
Let me give you this suggestion: look through the popular, best -selling books you have at home and study how the author crafted their book titles.
A subtitle is sometimes used to show some more information about your book apart from what the book title has given. For example, with my book, You Can Stop Masturbation…Simple Story Illustration Shows You How. I discovered that the subtitle of this book, Simple Story Illustration Shows You How sold it more to the readers than the title itself.
I obtained this information when I changed the cover and left out the subtitle from the new cover at www.creatsapce.com (now KDP Print). The rate of the books sales stalled until I re-designed the cover again with the subtitle included again.
People love stories and they would love to read a simple story to solve such a problem, so the subtitle attracted them to the book.
I want you to look at another example:
‘Mathematics Therapy… How Parents Can Guide Their Children at Home in Mathematics.’ Every parent would love to learn how to guide their children at home in the subject. The subtitle gave further, attractive information to would-be customers.
Now based on these facts, I want you to take some time off to think up a title and subtitle for your book idea. Remember to put into consideration the problem you are solving and the audience you are targeting.
Note: Avoid professional terms or jargons except when you are writing a professional book that will be read majorly by professionals in a certain field.
Have you been able to put something down? Well, if you have not, don’t worry, you can still go ahead with your book-writing exercise and get the title-picking task done later.
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How to write nonfiction books for beginners: Get to the Body of your Book
This is just a practice that will help you to start your book from the ‘foundation’ to the final stage of it. It is like a building project which builders start from the foundation to the final stages of the building. You will be developing the working skeleton of the book with this step. With the main problem in your mind, begin to think of some related sub-problems and write them down. Do this freely and write as many as possible. You will still be able to pick the important or relevant ones later.
Let me show you an example from my book ‘You Can Stop Masturbation’
I want you to look at the sub topics I developed which later became the different book chapters:
- Just What Is Masturbation? 3 Parts Of Man
- This Will Help Your % Score This Is Also Important
- Reasons Why People Indulge In It Why It is Not Right
- Read This Story With All Your Heart! Solution Charts
- Your Mind is a Workshop Start a Relationship with God
- Clear Out “Wastes” From Your Mind Replace With Useful Things
- Begin Work Immediately
- Package the “Product” and Sell to the Public
It started with the Introduction (most books start with this) and then build its case up to the last stage in order to solve the problem it promised to solve with the book title.
Your experience will be relevant here.
Apart from the Introduction and probably the next one or two chapters which I will advise must contain carefully selected contents which should encourage your readers to read on (I will show what you write under these chapters later), other chapters should contain descriptions of solutions to identified sub-problems under the main problem your book is solving.
For example, if you want to write, How to Publish a Newspaper, you can have subtopics like:
- How to Get Trained
- How to Register ISSN
- How to Source Articles
- How to Obtain Cheap Printing Materials
- How to Find Good Freelance Writers etc.
Can you get the gist?
Note: You can also further use free internet keyword research tools to carry the step I described immediately above, for example, if you are writing how to publish a newspaper, you can type Publish Newspaper in the search box on these websites. Pick the relevant ones to the goal of your book.
You can also visit google.com and search for “publish newspaper + blogs” to see results of blogs that write on your topic. When you get to the blogs, try to look at the various categories they write on. You don’t have to copy anything here, just use these blogs contents to get ideas about the sub topics.
You should now pick the relevant ones from the various options you have written down. You can pick 8 or 10 more depending on how big you want your book to be and ensure you arrange them in a proper way that will show you are building a case for the problem you are trying to solve.
You should look again at the example for my book, You Can Stop Masturbation which I shared earlier:
This is how the chapters of your book will be arranged. This step will help your readers to get organized in their learning when they are reading your book.
Your Introduction And The First One Or Two Chapters
The Introduction section is what it is, an introduction! You are telling or summarizing the reason why you took a decision to write your book. You are building on what the title and subtitle did to the readers.
Tell a short story
Tell a short story on your personal experience that shows the problem. For example, for my book, Money Making Secrets in the Education Industry, look at the way I started the Introduction section:
“Only God could describe my feelings as I opened the letter that was handed over to me by the principal of the last school where I worked as a math teacher. The ever-smiling principal kept her eyes on me as I scanned through the contents of the appointment letter she just handed over to me and said, “I hope you are okay with the employment terms in the letter?”
“I am okay with it ma,” I replied trying as much as possible to conceal my excitement. “I may not be able to resume work until three days after the date specified in this letter ma, I hope this is okay with you?”
“It‟s okay Mr. Oguntade, we will be expecting you”, she replied”
I secured an appointment with one of the leading private secondary school in Nigerian and I was blown away by the package, which tripled the stipends I was earning before the new job offer.
It was my second (and the first big) appointment since I finished youth service (the first one, secured six months earlier was also a teaching appointment in a secondary school) and then I was surprised to see a school pay that much to an almost fresh graduate like me and a new intake for that matter.
Well, this first “appointment letter” experience and subsequent work experience in this school and in the education industry at large opened up my understanding to the large amount of money that goes in and out of the education industry on a yearly basis. Even the pay package that got me excited was just a minute percentage of what comes in and out of this school.
The good thing is that this “cake” is begging to be cut by anybody who cares to dare. This book has been prepared to push you to “sharpen your knife for the cake cutting experience in the education industry”.
This story was meant to sustain the interest of readers of my book. The story described in a conversational story style what the book is all about.
Though you can decide not to use a story. It depends on you. I believe a practical story captures the attention of the readers and they want to read more.
I have seen bookstore visitors scan through the Introduction section of a book before they take a buying decision. With a practical story related to the main problem your book is solving, you will capture the attention of the people and that is more book sales for you.
Show your qualificationsl to write the book
After your practical story, you can then show how you are qualified to write the book. One paragraph is okay for this. For example for my book ‘Silly Mistakes in Mathematics’, I included this:
“Having taught Mathematics for many years at all levels…”.
I believe that apart from the practical story you started with, your readers also want to know whether you are capable of writing a solution to the problem your book is solving.
I want you to look at another example from my book, Bible Secrets for Effective School Teaching:
“Some years after taking up this teaching job, the Lord began to open my eyes to problem areas in the education industry and leading me to provide solutions to them. This development led to the compilation of the following materials to address some problem areas in the industry:
- Silly Mistakes in Mathematics (a paperback published book).
- Money Making Secrets in The Education Industry (a paperback published book).
- Mathematics Therapy – How parent can Guide their Children at Home in mathematics (an ebook).
- 20 ways to Parent Your Child in the Boarding School (an ebook).
- 15 ways to Avoid Cultism Traps in the university (an ebook).
- How Schools Can Make More Money In the School Business (a paperback published book)”
The statement above was included under the introduction section to pass a simple message across to the readers of my book and that message was: I’m capable and qualified to write the book you are holding in your hands!
Summarize main contents of other chapters in your book
Describe or summarize the main contents of each chapter that should interest the reader. This is optional though. You may decide to go to the first chapter of your book after completing the first two steps above. However, if you can include this, go ahead and do it.
Writing The First Chapter
The first chapter can share more practical stories. This time around it can be the story of others that are related to the problem your book is solving.
It can be the story of a problem you solved for someone and which you have obtained their due permission to share in your book. Even if you have not obtained any permission, you can still share the story but you should change the names of the characters involved in the story.
I want you to look at the story I shared in the second chapter of my book, You Can Break An Addiction:
Please Read This Story:
“I have been with my boyfriend for about a year now, I found out about three months ago he has a problem with a hard drug. I was troubled when I found this out. I love him and he is intelligent and funny, I see past his disease and the person he is.
I tried to help him but I don‟t want to encourage him.
First, he denied it then finally confessed. Recently he entered a medical detox place and they gave him saboxin for 10 days. The first few days he was home, he was fine and this morning I caught him doing it again.
As much as it hurts me I feel like I can‟t take him back in here, its full time job watching him. I want him to get the help he needs but am I wrong to tell him to go or should I let him stay until he finds a bed open? I know it‟s a sickness but it‟s so hard to trust him right now”.
This strategy will build the interest of the reader. You shared a practical story that involved you and that showed you as an authority on the problem your book is solving under the Introduction section.
You have also followed it up with a practical story of another person that is related to the theme of your book. You are already getting your readers in the mood to read the remaining part of your book.
Note: You may also decide not to use another story in this part of your book. You can just go straightaway to provide solutions to the problem your book is meant to solve using the subtopics you have written down.
The choice is yours. Remember that it is your book!
The next chapter will share how you can develop the various sub topics or chapters of your book.
Now Write The Contents Of The Sub Topics
You should now begin to write the contents of the various sub topics you listed earlier one by one. Remember that these are the chapters of your book. Since you are an expert, you should have a lot to write here.
Steps to Write These Sub Topics:
Write out the sub topic on a plain sheet of paper. For example, How to Get Trained as a Newspaper Publisher.
Take this sheet of paper with you everywhere you go and roll over the subtopic in your mind all through the day. If you can find a quiet place during the day, you should be able to put down ideas as they flow through your mind. Even if you can’t find a quiet place, ideas can still flow through your mind at any time during the day.
You should ensure you write them down immediately on paper under the written subtopic. It is like you are developing the subtopic as a book itself. Subtopics or chapter contents are books under a book themselves.
When you get home and alone you can look at what you have written down under the subtopic. For example under the subtopic above, I can have
- Why you must be trained
- Where you can be trained
- The training requirements
- The duration of training Can you get the gist?
You should now begin to develop these points one by one. You can write one at a time when your mind and thoughts are in a good condition to put facts on paper.
I love to carry out this step in the morning before 12 pm or in the middle of the night or in a place where there is less noise. You should find out the best time that is okay with you.
Learn to Write Freely
There is nothing to be scared of. It’s easy, remember that you are an expert. The editor with the help of other tools will polish your book and make it a treasure the people will love.
You should just ensure the contents you are putting down actually solve the problem your book is solving. Of what use is a properly written book if it is not solving the problem it is meant to solve? Do the same to develop other subtopics of the book.
“Marry” Your Points
When you have finished the step above, you should now go over your work from the introduction to the last chapter to bring the contents together. I call it; ‘Marry’ your points.
At this stage, you may find out you have unnecessarily repeated the same idea twice or thrice under the same chapter. You may even find out some points that are completely irrelevant which you have to delete.
If you carry out this step, you will be able to do a lot of refining to your book contents before you send it to the editor. I usually carry out this “marrying” duty twice (and sometimes thrice) on some of my books before it is sent to the editor.
Get it typed, print and read through again. You may still need to delete or add some points.
Write the Conclusion of your book
This is usually not a big deal except for the fact that you have to say thank you to your readers for reading your book. You can also ask them to contact you if they have any comment or suggestion for your book.
You will be surprised to see the number of people that will send their comments to you. Some will even go to your blog or website to give their comments. These comments can really help you to write an improved version of your book or to write a new book.
The Promotion Pages
About the Author
As much as possible, write about what you are and who you are. This should, as much as possible, promote your brand. I want you to look at my ‘About the Author’ page for my Christian books:
“Sesan Oguntade is an insightful teacher of the word, bible success researcher and author of many books amongst which is the popular “Jesus and Your Success” (available free at
www.sesanoguntade.com). He believes that the solution to ANY problem lies in the WORD of GOD. His central message to the world is “without Jesus, you cannot succeed” (John 15:5b).
He presides over Success Christian Home, headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, a Christian organisation with the vision of raising problem solvers in the society.
He is also the founder of The Success laboratory International Seminars, a platform where pure bible principles that solve practical societal problems are taught.
You can follow him on twitter, @SesanOguntade
He is married to Olutoke Success Oguntade and they are blessed with children”.
Our Other Books Section
If you don’t have another published book, you can state the services you render. If you don’t have a service or services you render, you can include a website you own. If you don’t have a website, you should describe a future book you hope to write.
If you don‟t want to share this or you don‟t have one already, you should promote good and relevant affiliate products (affiliate products are products of other people which you can promote and earn a commission on any sale you make).
You can search on google.com for “popular affiliate products + (your topic)” for options. You should carry out your due diligence before you sign up to promote any affiliate product.
Thank you for going through this post in how to write nonfiction books for beginners. I hope it helped you.
Just like I said earlier, it is easy to have your name to a book. You have what it takes because there is an experience you have that can be sold in a book format.
Some people are out there who wants to pay you for these treasured ideas and experience you possess.
I want to read from you and I would love to see a copy of the book you will write as a result of your encounter with this book.
In case you still don‟t want to go through the process of manually creating your book from the scratch, you can get in touch with us, our Ghost writers can do a good job for you. This is our direct WhatsApp line: 08034300979.
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