9 Lessons Learned from Writing Non-Fiction Writing
I have now self-published over 20 non-fiction eBooks on various topics from tennis, sports pyschology to self-publishing. With each eBook I have learned from previous experiences.
Lesson 1: Don’t Wait Until Your eBook is Published to Start Building Your Platform
Your author platform is how you reach, connect, engage and communicate with your target audience. It is how your ideal readers find you. I recommend that you start building your online platform as soon as you can. Start a blog and begin posting about your niche topic.
Provide a way you can capture your viewer’s details and start building your list. Imagine having the emails of 5,000 people in your target audience? Imagine the power of that list when you publish your eBook and then send out an email to your list notifying them about your eBook.
You can generate immediate sales and get your eBook off to a flying start. You must establish yourself as an expert or person of ‘influence’ in your chosen field if you want to become a top-selling author.
Lesson 2: Focus on Quality Not Quantity
I recently wrote a piece on how self-publishing and eBooks have revolutionized the publishing industry by allowing authors to write novellas. Non-fiction authors should write to inform, answer the reader’s questions and solve the problem that was promised in the eBook’s description.
Do not drag out the answer to a problem in your eBook just to increase the length of the eBook. A quality non-fiction eBook of 60 pages will be better received than a 400 page eBook full of useless text.
Lesson 3: Don’t Wait For the Perfect Time to Start Writing
When you lead a busy lifestyle that is centred around a full-time job it is hard to find that perfect moment to start writing. Life is full of distractions that can force you to postpone your writing. If you have been writing a blog for quite a while you will be surprised just how much you have written.
Many authors have used the content posted on their blog to form the foundation of their eBook. So if you have a blog start copying your individual articles or posts and then go and copy them into your planned chapter titles.
You may quickly find out that you already have enough content to use a base for your eBook. If you do not have a blog and are starting from scratch, then devote time every week or weekend and get started.
Lesson 4: You Must Learn to Take Criticism
Many authors believe they have written a best-selling eBook and that their eBook is the most informative eBook in their non-fiction category. It is a ‘disheartening’ feeling when a reviewer or editor tells you that you still have a lot of work to do. You must be prepared to go through several stages of editing and re-writing of sections of your eBook.
If you are too stubborn to take criticism on board then you may find that your buying customers will be your harshest critics which is not a result you want when trying to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
A better outcome is to take your editor’s advice on board and get your eBook right the first time. A string of bad reviews can quickly sink your writing career.
Lesson 5: Get an Editor!
I am one author that acknowledges my short-comings when it comes to grammar. I never allowed this to stop me from writing eBooks.
I also realized the benefit of having an editor look over my manuscript prior to publishing when my first manuscript was returned with ‘red marks’ throughout each chapter pointing out the possible issues. There is so much more to editing than such checking spelling and grammar.
A great editor will provide feedback with regards to the flow of your writing, its readability, checking facts and quality of content.
Lesson 6: Non-fiction eBooks Require Constant Updating
A non-fiction eBook can go out of date very quickly when new and more factual information is released. One of my first eBooks was dedicated to help international students with going to college in the USA. What I found was that the information on visas, loans and college contacts quickly went out of date.
So for my eBook to remain relevant I had to update it every year. On the other hand, my eBook titled ‘Mental Training for Tennis – Your Winning Mindset’ was an eBook that I was able to leave for years as it was based on my many years of experience and knowledge rather than dates and facts.
Lesson 7: eBook Marketing and Promotion Never Stops
The day you stop promoting your eBook is the day you start to see a decline in sales. Your eBook will slide down to the lower pages on the major eBook stores and be out of sight to your potential customers scanning the store for their next eBook to read.
Create a marketing plan to keep your eBook in front of your target audience for as long as you can. Your blog is a great place to start. Always list your eBooks on the front page.
Lesson 8: Writing Does Not Mean You Stop Researching
I always recommend that writers conduct some research into their chosen topic before they start writing. This could be just a few hours of searching the internet or online stores. This will provide you with an idea of what is already out there on your topic.
The key point here is that when you do start writing you should not stop researching your topic. You may come across some new information that requires you to update your facts. You may also gain a different point of view that allows you to add an additional chapter to your eBook.
One of the great aspects of an eBook is that at any time you can update your eBook and then re-upload it to the eBook store (or Aggregator).
Lesson 9: One eBook Can Lead to a Series
If you experience success with your first eBook then your readers may want you to write additional eBooks on related topics within your category.
For example; my ‘Self-publishing Success’ eBook series started with one eBook (How to Sell More eBooks – Self-publishing Success) and then because of additional requests I wrote two more in this series (‘How to Self-publish an eBook’ and ‘How to Build Your Author Platform). These eBooks compliment the material on my blog and also articles found in our Author Academy.