How to Write a Nonfiction Book

Remembering What It Takes To Write A Book

By Bobbi Linkemer

Successful authors agree that it takes certain principles to become a successful book writer. Although you may add others, here are six principles worth remembering for anyone who is in the middle of writing a book.

1. Desire. The following five principles are important, but without a lasting desire, you will not succeed. Keep the book writing flame burning strong.

2. A concept. Does your short explanation about your book (preferably one sentence) written at the beginning of your project still hold true? You may change it along the way, as long as you have based your planning on the new version. If your concept changes, review your initial book proposal to be certain it still reflects your main idea. 

3. A plan. As you continue, writing only when you have time will not work. It is important to establish deadlines. Decide when, where and how much you will write. Don't leave your book writing time to chance.

4. A long attention span. From beginning to end, planning, writing, publishing and promoting a book can take anywhere from months to years. Give yourself adequate time to plan, research, write, publish and promote. Along the way, stop to take stock of where you are. Sticking with a schedule and maintaining your enthusiasm is what is meant by a long attention span.

5. Self-discipline. Staying interested is one thing; actually writing is another. Creating a schedule is a good beginning, but the hard part is sticking with it. Self-discipline is making yourself do something even on those days you don't want to. It's meeting your deadlines, motivating and re-motivating yourself.

6. Support and guidance. If you were writing a thesis or dissertation, you would likely have an advisor to push, prod, guide and hold you accountable. If you have an agent or publisher for your book, you have a similar support system. If you have neither, there are other ways to build a support group. Look to writing groups, other authors, coaches, classmates, friends, and others who share your common interest. Seek out people who not only will give you advice and feedback, but who will also hold you accountable for living up to your commitments.

Writing a book takes time, energy, determination and perseverance. Remembering what it takes to write a book will help keep you focused on the task at hand.

[The majority of this post  was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from How to Write a Nonfiction Book, from planning to promotion is 6 simple stepswritten by Bobbi Linkemer. To visit her website, go to]

What Makes Up Back Matter In A Book?

By Bobbi Linkemer

Earlier in the year we published a post about what front matter in a book is. In this post, we will discuss back matter, the information that is published at the end of a book and follows the chapters or basic text.

Although there are no must-adhere-to rules, you will find that back matter generally includes specific information. The following identifies the most common information found in back matter.

Bibliography. If you have read other books and quote other authors and professionals, a bibliography is a way of acknowledging these sources - this in addition to noting the sources in your copy or with footnotes. A bibliography also gives readers a list of references to read if they wish to dig more deeply into your subject.

Appendices. Sometimes, you have so much background information or detail that if you included all of it in the main body of your work, you might overwhelm your reader. That is what appendices are for. Appendices offer a good place to put scientific data, charts, reports and detailed explanations without disrupting the flow of your text.

Glossary. This is an optional, alphabetically arranged dictionary of terms peculiar to the subject of your book. 

Epilogue. If you have "one last thought," this is the place to express it.

Index. When a book is filled with facts or topics a reader might want to find quickly, an index is the fastest way to find them. There are two types of indexes - subject matter and detailed. The best recommendation is to hire a professional indexer instead of using the index feature of your word processing program.

Building a book is like building anything else. Adding back matter to your book is one way to enhance the reading experience of your book.

[The majority of this post  was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from How to Write a Nonfiction Book, from planning to promotion is 6 simple stepswritten by Bobbi Linkemer. To visit her website, go to]

How Can A Book Coach Help You?

By Bobbi Linkemer

Perhaps you have never considered using a book coach to guide you in your book writing project. However, it is not uncommong for a writer, especially someone who is working on his or her first book to hire a book coach - and for a number of good reasons. Here are just some of the ways a book coach can help an aspiring author.

1. A book coach is a teacher, partner and personal cheerleader. You may not even know, when you begin, how much you may need someone to fill those shoes. A book coach can help you stay focused over the long haul.

2. There is a prescribed process for successfully writing a nonfiction book. A book coach will guide you through every step of the process.

3. Before you begin writing, there are questions you must be able to answer. A book coach will ask you all the right questions during the planning process.

4. Writing a book is a long-term project, and it is essential to set achieveable goals to mark your progress along the way. A book coach will help you set realistic goals and create a schedule for meeting them.

5. A book coach will work with you on polishing your manuscript. Regular feedback from your coach will not only keep you on track, but provide an objective and knowledgeable outside perspective.

6. A book coach will help clarify available book publishing options beyond just what conventional publishing may offer.

7. A book coach helps you promote your book before and after it is published. It is important to remember that whether you are snapped up by the best known of the "big houses" or start your own publishing company, much if not all of the marketing and promotion is going to be your responsibility.

If you are planning to write your first book, hiring a book coach may be a perfect strategy.

[The majority of this post  was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from How to Write a Nonfiction Book, from planning to promotion is 6 simple stepswritten by Bobbi Linkemer. To visit her website, go to]

What is Front Matter in a Book?

By Bobbi Linkemer

Front matter is the information about a book that appears at the beginning in "front" of a book's basic text or chapters. The following explains the specific elements that usually comprise front matter.

Copyright page. The copyright page usually contains information such as the book title, the author's name, the copyright date, a paragraph explaining copyright rules, the country in which the book is printed, the ISBN, a Library of Congress number, the publisher, its location, and contact information.

Forward. A forward should be written by someone other than the author and is particularly powerful when an expert in the field writes it. If the writer is a person with a recognized name or title, you might want to mention "Foreward by name" on your cover.

Introduction. Think of your introduction as a practical guide to using your book. It should explain what the book is about, why it was written and how it should be read. If you are expressing a point of view that will enhance the reader's understanding, include it in your introduction. This is your chance to explain your rationale.

Preface. The preface is written by the author and explains why and how you wrote your book. It can tell your story in a very personal way, if you wish.

Acknowledgements. Few of us write our books without help, no matter how well versed we are on the subject. There are hundreds of ways in which assistance is given, from people willing to share their expertise and knowledge to editors who turn your rough prose into pearls. Those who helped you deserve to be recognized, and the acknowledgement page allows you to do this.

To gain a better understanding of front matter, visit a bookstore and read some of the front matter material from several books. This should give you a good idea how other authors use front matter to enhance their books.

[The majority of this post  was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from How to Write a Nonfiction Book, from planning to promotion is 6 simple stepswritten by Bobbi Linkemer. To visit her website, go to]


9 Ways to Build An Author Platform

By Bobbi Linkemer

A new buzzword in the book publishing business is "author platform." Your platform is your sphere of influence, your ability to sell books to your market. It is organic: it grows over time. And it is valuable. If you can answer the following questions, you can build your own platform.

  1. Are you a celebrity or a household name? Have you been in the news? Are you a CEO of a well-known corporation?
  2. Are you a professional speaker? Can you attract audiences, and do they pay to hear your presentations?
  3. Do you have a popular blog or website that reaches thousands of people? Do they follow or subscribe? Do they leave comments, and do you respond, thus creating a dialogue?
  4. Do you have a way to capture email addresses and build a large list of subscribers - an e-zine, a newsletter, or regular promotions with free give-aways?
  5. Do you podcast to a large and enthusiastic audience? Can you promote your book to them?
  6. Are you on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube? Do you have lots of network connections?
  7. Are you already a published author with an established readership? Did you self-publish your book or books and market them effectively online or in the bricks-and-mortar world?
  8. Do you belong to organizations or associations related to your topic? Do you know other members? Can you access the membership list?
  9. Do you have raving fans, former students, clients, friends and family members who will not only buy your book , but also tell everyone they know how great it is?

These questions offer a great opportunity for you to examine how strong an author platform you may already have. If you answered yes to any of them, you have the beginning of a powerful platform. Keep building it!

[This post  was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from How to Write a Nonfiction Book, from planning to promotion is 6 simple stepswritten by Bobbi Linkemer. To visit her website, go to]

Do You Need A Book Agent to Promote Your Book?

Many of the larger book publishers will no longer accept a book proposal unless it comes from an agent. While agents don't guarantee that your book will be published, they can ensure that it gets a reading. They also will advocate for you throughout the process. You can find the right agent, if you know where to look.

A good place to begin is by looking online. The Association of Authors' Representatives, a not-for-profit organization of qualified literary agents can be a good resource. Other print directories, such as Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers and Literary Agents can also be helpful. Also, some hardcover and trade paperback publishers produce catalogs, which often include agents' names and contact information, that are sent to booksellers, libraries and sales representatives.

How can you get media exposure? If the media are hyping your book, chances are agents will find you. Your job is to be sure the media know about it.

Always be networking. Go where writers and agents are likely to be, such as writing classes, lectures, seminars, book signings, and conferences. Join writers' organizations. Talk to people who have published.

Also remember that literary agents specialize and have specific niches they work in. When you do your research, begin with your particular genre. 

The right agent will do the following for you:

  • Critique your book proposal and make suggestions before it is submitted.
  • Know which publishers are likely to be interested in your proposal.
  • Garner attention for your proposal.
  • Act as your business representative, protect your best interests, handle finances, and ensure publishers meet their contractual obligations.
  • Become your support system, guide and cheerleader.

In short, the right book agent can become your closest ally in the publishing process.

[This post  was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from How to Write a Nonfiction Book, from planning to promotion is 6 simple stepswritten by Bobbi Linkemer. To visit her website, go to]