I work with a lot of fiction writers. In fact, fiction writers make up the majority of my community at this point. And a common complaint I hear from them is this: I can’t write nonfiction.
While it’s true that writing nonfiction isn’t for everyone, it’s untrue that fiction writers can’t write nonfiction.
Nonfiction just means what you’re writing about isn’t made up, it’s something that comes from your own knowledge, skills and experiences. And every writer–including fiction writers–has knowledge, skills and experience in something.
The thing is, we tend to discredit this knowledge, these skills and those experiences, because they feel so normal to us.
For example, maybe you’ve been playing softball since you were 11. First you started off on a little league team, then you played for your high school’s team, which got you a scholarship to play in college. You played for a couple years in college and then go sick of the competitiveness of it, and so you stopped playing at the college-level, and instead took up a summer league that’s more about having fun than it is winning.
You’ve got a long-standing background in playing softball and being a softball player. So why not use your softball knowledge, skills and experiences to write a nonfiction book for people who want the knowledge, skills and experience that you have?
And not a boring textbook-style book on “how to play softball” (unless that feels good to you). But something that will allow you to stand out and reach a readership of people who need what you have to offer.
You could write a nonfiction book about how to prepare yourself to play college ball. Or you could write a book about navigating the politics of playing softball in high school. Or you could write a combo memoir-nonfiction book that tells some of your stories from playing softball, while sharing the life-lessons you learned and how to apply them.
It doesn’t have to be long or complicated. You don’t have to write 300 pages or even cover ever little thing there is to know. Especially if you plan on publishing it on Amazon, which now has entire categories dedicated to books that are short, fast reads.
The thing I want you to see in all of this, is how ripe for nonfiction most people’s lives are. At any given time there are thousands of potential things you could write a nonfiction book about.
I’ve written nonfiction books about writing habits (several of them), becoming creative on demand, having a pro writer mindset, journaling. All of these are writing-related topics, but I’m now branching out and writing nonfiction eBooks about life-related topics, on things like productivity (in general, not just writing), being multi-passionate, challenging yourself and more.
I basically just use the knowledge, skills and experiences I’ve acquired over my life so far and turn that stuff into written content that can help someone else do the same.
Not to mention, if you’re an entrepreneur, writing a nonfiction eBook is a great way to shine a light on your business, your processes and how you get results for your clients. I wrote a book called, Find Your Story, that walks you through my 6-part story planning and development process. Then I put a call-to-action at the end, letting people know I offer a coaching program that will allow them to go deeper on this process.
That 99 cent eBook has made me thousands of dollars through clients coming to me for coaching services, wanting to have me walk them through my process in a more official capacity. And it all started by deciding to write down my process and share it in eBook form.
The other awesome thing about nonfiction eBooks is that they’re actually much easier to sell than fiction, and you can make more money overall, which can then allow you to fund your fiction writing efforts.
How cool would it be to make a full-time income writing nonfiction eBooks, and be able to free up more time for writing fiction? How cool would it be to get your processes and ideas out into the world so other people can benefit from them? How cool would it be to have consistent money rolling in every month from eBook sales?
Pretty damn cool.
Now maybe you’re a fiction writer who only wants to write fiction. Fine if you are.
For most of my life I only saw myself as a fiction writer. I thought I would only ever write novels.
But toward the end of 2009, I realized I had built up quite a bit of knowledge and skills on being productive, so I decided to write my very first nonfiction eBook (Butt-In-Chair, published in early 2010). And then I fell in love with writing nonfiction and I’ve been doing it ever since.
If you’re open-minded and willing to use your writing talents for other types of writing, nonfiction eBooks can be a great way to leverage your knowledge, skills and experiences to not only help other people, but to make some money in the process (which can then fund other things you dream of doing, being and having).
Dream life or bust,