This post is part of a short series explaining the options nonfiction authors have for their books. If you’re feeling stuck, have a read of these suggestions, and choose the option that seems the easiest for you.

What you need to write

Did you know you’ve got lots of options when it comes to writing your nonfiction book. You can choose an approach you feel comfortable with and get going! It’s a simple as that.

Nonfiction writing has the following properties that differentiate it from fiction.

  • nonfiction is narrated by a real person, the author
  • the author presents ideas, facts and figures, experiences, events, people, and places that are real, not invented.
  • the book is written for a clearly defined audience.
  • the material addresses a clear purpose for that audience
  • the author only includes information that is beneficial for the audience.
  • the author’s choice of words indicate their attitude toward the subject and the people who are interested in that subject

Although the material is factual, it doesn’t need to be bland and dry, There are 2 ways the writer can add interest to the subject they choose for their book.

How you need to write

Use your own tone of voice to your advantage

Use your own tone of voice to reflect your personality. You can choose a formal, or informal writing style. You can choose to use streetwise slang, or be perfectly proper. You can be serious, playful, friendly, sarcastic, humorous or authoritative. Build rapport with your audience. Don’t try to be something you’re not, try to write as you speak, so you can be natural and avoid any awkward disappointments when your readers meet you in real life.

Be honest and truthful about your topic

Using your own tone of voice and turn of phrase is a fantastic way to give your perspective, viewpoint or opinion on your subject. This can be done directly, by saying exactly what you mean, or indirectly, and letting the reader “join the dots” and “read between the lines”.

Be careful you don’t go too far when giving your take on your topic to avoid the risk of introducing bias. Avoid making your analysis or explanation too one sided. Always include relevant facts or principles—even the awkward ones! Be honest and complete in your work.

Avoid using biased, emotionally charged language to negatively influence the reader, or giving them a false sense of confidence or incorrect understanding. If you are recommending a process, provide a warning in advance if there are potential negative consequences if the reader makes a mistake. For example, the author should recommend someone backs up their computer before making big changes to their system.

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