Most people equate writing a book with writing a novel, which is a fiction story. This is not the case when it comes to writing, especially writing today. There is a very big market for non-fiction books as well. Cookbooks, how-to books, motivational books and biographies are all examples of non-fiction books that sell very well and are often self published. In order to get a book published by mainstream press that is non-fiction, you have to have a well known name or a very unique idea. You also need to be extremely lucky as there is heavy competition in the mainstream press for authors, especially unknown authors.
Fiction books tell a story and have a conflict and resolution. Non-fiction books do not follow along the same lines. There is no conflict in writing a cookbook, for example. There is a calling for all types of non-fiction books and this can be an easy way to publish your first book.
If you are writing a non-fiction book, you need to do a lot of research and be very well versed on the topic of which you are writing. You should also have an angle to your book that makes it unique from others. Motivational books are a good example as there are many of them on the market right now. What can you do to make your book different?
One example of a different type of motivational book is the Laws Of Attraction series books. This took an old idea, put a new spin on it and created a series of very successful motivational books.
Biographies do not always have to be about famous people. You can write a biography about anyone who has led an extraordinary life or influenced many people. Cleverly crafted biographies about ordinary people who prove to be inspirational to others are very popular today. You need to have permission of the person about whom you are writing or their estate in order to write a good biography. There have been unauthorized biographies that have made a sensation, but still required the person to do a lot of research on the subject, although they are not given the same amount of respect as biographies that are done with the consent of the author. You also risk running into a lawsuit, such as is the case with Kitty Kelley who wrote a slew of unauthorized biographies about famous people and found herself being sued by the late Frank Sinatra.
Cookbooks are very popular, especially when it comes to self published books. Your cookbook needs to have something different, a unique angle, in order to sell. Why would anyone buy your book of French recipes when they can get the same from Julia Child’s cookbooks? One way to make yours unique is to add a bit of the French countryside and perhaps some fiction in with the recipes. This will prove to be entertaining to the reader as well as informational.
If you are going to write a novel, then you have to prepare as outlined in the previous blog post (Research Your Book). Your novel should be of a genre that you like and most of all, something that you would buy yourself if it was available in the bookstore. You can put a lot of creative passion in your novel and turn it into something that will stand out. Many people self publish novels because the competition is so great to get a novel published by an unknown author in the traditional press.
When you self publish, you do not need an agent to help you get your book to the publisher. Working with an agent is a good idea if you are trying to publish in this way, but the Catch 22 is that some traditional publishing companies will only work with an agent. And most agents will only want to work with a person who has a previous novel published. Needless to say, this makes it very difficult for someone to break into traditional publishing with their book.
Even if you did manage to get a book published by a publisher, you would still have to market the book on your own. If you self publish, you can do the same type of marketing. Because so many people today buy books online, self publishing is quickly becoming the publishing form of choice for authors writing fiction and non-fiction.
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction is up to you. If you have a lot of creative energy and can make up plots and characters in your head, fiction writing may be for you. If you consider yourself an expert in a certain field, non-fiction writing is for you. You can use self-publishing for both non-fiction and fiction books.