Research is an essential part of writing almost any nonfiction book. Whether you want to back up an assertion with study findings, illustrate a point, or simply put your ideas in context, you will inevitably find yourself referring to the work of other authors or researchers in your own book.
When it comes to dealing with previously published work, you need to be very careful about how you use it and credit its origins. Whenever you quote another person, living or dead, you must attribute their words to them, along with a mention of where and when the quote first appeared (if it c... keep reading
Without research, there would be no studies for Brené Brown to base her claims on. Without research, the anecdotes behind Malcolm Gladwell’s stories would remain with their owners. And without research, every biographical or historical nonfiction title would be very, very short!
Since research is the foundation of knowledge, it needs to be done right, and that means interpreting your findings properly. I’ve put together a few common research pitfalls; get familiar with this list and avoid these at all costs.
1. Mistaking correlation for causation
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Who is your book aimed at? Too many new authors feel the answer should be “everyone”–but that really amounts to “no one”. As with archery, failing to take aim with a book pretty much guarantees you won’t be hitting any bullseyes. Here’s the truth: As tempting as it might be to believe your book is for everyone, that’s almost never the case. In fact, the more successful a book is, the more likely it was written for a niche audience. These books aren’t afraid to go narrow and deep in their message, which means they appeal to... keep reading
Books take us to new worlds–but when we’re writing them without a clear plan in place, it’s easy to overshoot the intended destination and get lost somewhere between Polaris and Ursa Major. To properly navigate the writing of our book, we need a solid outline–in essence, the itinerary for our writing voyage. And what better way to plot out an itinerary than by using a mind map.
Simply put, a mind map is a tool to capture and organize ideas, often in the form of a spider diagram. You might remember making them in elementary school, when they probably looked... keep reading
Your book contains some of your best ideas. But do those ideas add up to a streamlined, compelling manuscript… or a pile of disorganized thoughts? When you’re outlining your nonfiction book, it’s easy to get so caught up in the content that you neglect to plan the book’s overarching structure. This can be a real problem because many readers will give up in frustration when faced with a book that forces them to work too hard to understand it.
So how should you structure your book? Of course you could always just move through your material chapter by chapter, begin... keep reading
I don’t believe in writers’ block, any more than I believe in washing-dishes-block, or dealing-with your-taxes-block, or confronting-a-scary-problem-block. I’m not saying that writing will always come easily, or that you won’t sometimes stop and find it hard to start again. Of course you will. What I’m saying is that the reasons for halting your work are perfectly logical, therefore so are their remedies.
When your productivity dries up (and it will), do not deceive yourself that you’re the victim of some kind of creativity flu, or a passive vessel waiting to be filled wi... keep reading
What’s your word count today? Go ahead, take a look. Is it as high as you were hoping? If not, these graphics will guide you to more productive writing sessions–meaning more words, more books, and more time as an author. Happy writing!
Okay, maybe skip the bacon, eggs, and sausage, but countless sources state that eating a healthy breakfast can keep your energy up and your concentration steadfast. And don’t rule out dinner-time foods–fish and leafy vegetables are a great wa... keep reading
“Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” So goes the advice for which author and writing prof Anne Lamott named her classic instructional memoir.
Wise words if, like Lamott’s brother, you’re churning out a school report on ornithology. But the rest of us can learn a thing or two from her approach, too.
Writing a nonfiction manuscript is a big task. A year is a long stretch. At least one of those t... keep reading
Working on your author platform means wearing a lot of hats, so consider this list of online author platform tools your preeminent hat-rack. Whether you’re looking for something to measure your metrics, automate your social media, find the perfect website template, or craft your book’s Amazon page, you should find it here. Of course, this list could never be exhaustive; instead, we’ve tried to pick the best of the bunch for each topic. These ones are our favourites, but if you find a particular tool doesn’t suit your needs, try doing a Google search to find one you like better. ... keep reading
“Can you get me on Oprah?” As a book publicist, I must have heard that line a hundred times. And while the Oprah Winfrey Show may be off the airwaves now, many authors are still hopeful that their book will grab headlines and land them on top-rated shows. Of course, this isn’t always possible. As a publicist I could never guarantee how much media attention a book will receive, but I have found ways to increase the odds in my authors’ favour. Here is what I look for when assessing a book’s media potential.