Change Your Stripes – Part 1

I’m a novelist; cut me and I bleed story. Maybe you’re like me and would rather make stuff up than document real life. If so, bless you! Now let me tell you why you should write a non-fiction book anyway.

If you have friends outside your writing tribe, you’ll discover that only about a third are readers of any kind. Of those, only about half read books, and of those two-thirds, they only read non-fiction. Your results may vary, but not by much. Non-fiction dominates the lists.zebra

Ipso Facto, you should write a non-fiction book to increase your audience. And increase your possibility of speaking engagements, if that’s your thing, which it should be to grow your platform.

If your first thought was “blegh!” I was right there with you. I’d ghostwritten a dozen non-fiction books for others, but writing my own? YES! In fact, my non-fiction books will be hitting the digital shelves in a couple months.

There are a few things a novelist should be aware of when considering a non-fiction book:

  • This isn’t a permanent switch, you can be one-and-done… unless you love it and want to keep doing it, then go for it.
  • There is no template for non-fiction books. Who Moved My Cheese is much different than How to Swim with Sharks without Being Eaten Alive, which is different than Moneyball. You, with your boundless creativity, can create your own kind of non-fiction book!
  • It CAN be fun!

Did you know you can become an expert in a field by just reading three books about it? Not sure I believe it, but that still isn’t the approach I took. I am widely read in faith, science, technology, and weird stuff, and by being deeply conversant in many subjects that few people care about, I (and you with your passions) can find an aspect that no one has considered before that people do care about.

You don’t have to be a Ph.D. in a topic, but I do recommend being passionate about your topics and having a demonstrable deep understanding.

How can you bring together two or three of your deepest passions and come up with something amazing? For me, I have a constant soup of topics simmering in my brain. I might be developing non-mathematical models of the universe while also thinking about the miraculous thing that is… water (three states? There is more than a dozen when you add pressure and more unique properties than any other substance or fluid).

My soon-to-be-released book, Creativity Wears Boots, came about by my interest in brain science and art. In pondering them, I discovered something no one has ever thought of before (strong claim; read the book to see if I’m telling the truth).

Debi and Tom Walter wrote Cherishing Us! Their book culls romance tips from their marriage blog. Debi is also the author of Through the Eyes of Grace, her first (but not last) novel.

What are your favorite topics? What do you love to read about? What is your specific take on them? How can you mix and match them? You’ve got a non-fiction book in you, I know it!

Tomorrow, I’ll tell non-fiction writers why they should right a novel. See you then!