How to write a nonfiction book (outline)
Here is the exact process to outline your nonfiction book from A to Z even if you hate outlining.
The way I get information for some of the blog posts I write, is by answering questions that are posted in online writing forums, in groups, and on social media.
There is never a shortage of questions that are asked about writing a book. As this is my industry, thankfully I’ve got answers.
Aaron asked this question in Pat’s First Kindle Book writing group, “Is there any model outline structures that you guys use to write nonfiction books?” Please note I use the word eBook and book interchangeably.
I chimed in that I could get the info after which several other people quickly requested it also.
Coming up, I will share a book template that I gave to Aaron and others in the writing group to help them create a nonfiction book quickly.
As an author and ghostwriter, I’ve written or co-written hundreds of books for clients through online sites and independently. The books I’ve written have become hot new releases and best-sellers in their respective categories.
I’ve written the majority of the high-quality books quickly. The books I write for myself or as part of the writing team are typically short & sweet, packed full of meaty information.
On average they are about 25 thousand words while a few have been shorter or longer. The ideal size for a Book in the new writing and publishing Universe is 25 to 60 thousand words.
I write fast, and that’s because I have perfected a formula as a ghostwriter that allows me to meet deadlines and adhere to high-quality standards.
Honestly, I should pull back on stating that I write fast because I make a big fuss about making sure I produce well-written content.
What types of outlines and books have you created using this method?
(I’ve outlined, written, or consulted on each type of book below)
- Freedom Lifestyle
- Thought Leadership
- How to write a Fast First Draft
- How to become a minimalist
- How to lose weight by running with your dog
- How to repair a classic car
- How to Forex trade
- How to create a law in Congress
- How to write a living will
- How to increase productivity
- How to declutter your house
- How to get your boyfriend to marry you
- How to speed date online
- How to write a book about yourself
- How to write a nonfiction book proposal
- How to clean your house with natural products
- How to have great sex
- How to attend Self Publishing School
- How to write a memoir
- How to learn about software tools for writing books
- How to hire a ghostwriter
- How a hobbyist can monetize their knowledge with eBooks
- How to write a self-help book
- How to write a book about yourself
- How to write a short Kindle Book
- How to outline a nonfiction book
- Authority book
- Become an entrepreneur
- Teach people how to do something
- Evangelize your cause
- Position yourself as an authority
- Land clients in any industry
- Get leads and product sales (Lead magnet)
- Short nonfiction books
- Tutorial to outline online courses or eBooks
- Be your best resume ever
- Create wealth and fame
- Write a Bestseller
- Collection of essays
- Collection of blog posts
- True stories
- Personal accounts
- Breakdown guide of a popular book
- Resume Templates
- Self Publishing
How – To (As you can see, I’ve created some of every type of book outline and much more. The book below contains 37 Unique Outline templates that resemble mini- books)
Brainstorm. No brainer right? What to write and who is your audience?
***Pulling the big ideas from my mind, essentially doing a brain dump***
I write or type Chapter’s 1-10. This includes:
The titles of each chapter (don’t overthink this, as titles can be changed later)
The big idea, or must include ideas that should go in each chapter. (can be tweaked later)
What you intend to write about in each chapter.
I give each chapter a title and then brainstorm ideas to include in it.
If I’m writing a book about the proper way to run with my dog. I simply brainstorm ideas.
I start with an Introduction Chapter, the Body Chapters, and then Conclusion.
Here’s a quick example of how to organize a nonfiction book
- Proper way to run with dog
- Breed influences on running ability
- Building endurance
- Equipment required for the run
- Snacks needed before and after the run
- Injury prevention (Checking dog before and after run)
- Safety and socialization
- Pictures of running with dogs
The attention Grabber Introduction (WHY). Start by getting your customers hyped about reading your book. You want to snatch them inside your book and not let go.
Introduce Who You Are (WHO) who are you and why should they listen to you? Sell yourself and your story so that the reader gains confidence. Who are you and what is your brand?
Introduce Topic and Benefits (The WHAT) – What will they gain from reading your book? What are the benefits (WIIFT)? What’s in it for them?
Tell readers (HOW) they can get the most out of this experience
Body Chapters – (random unedited notes below)
Proper way to run with dog – Runners usually go through training, dogs should too. Train dog to respond to running commands. Run with the dog in formal heel position. Keep dog collar under the chin, high on the neck, behind the ears.
Breed influences on running ability – A dog’s ability to run is determined by its size, genetics, and or physical features. Many hybrid and mixed breed dogs are excellent for running, jogging. Working dogs can run long distance.
Building endurance – Measure your dog’s size and length because this needs to be determined to build the run. Start slowly with three times per week. Add 5 additional minutes each week. There are apps that you can use to help you determine run times.
Equipment needed for the run – proper fitting leashes, 3 to 6 leash should provide the correct amount of distance, there should not be too much space between dog and owner. Owner needs a place to store items like keys and cell phone. Need poop bag dispenser.
Snacks needed before or after the run – Discuss this with a vet.
Injury prevention – Check dogs paws before and after run. There are things like dog clogs and barrier wax to treat injuries.
Safety and Socialization skills – Only run in areas that are safe and not full of debris. Sometimes when dogs are in crowds or around other dogs, they get nervous. Dog should be trained with socialization skills.
Conclusion – Wrap up, give the last piece of advice, end call to actions, uplifting parting words.
Pictures of me running with dog – Pictures are put in to increase interest in book.
Conclusion – Final thoughts. We recap key points, no need to rehash.
Step 2: Research
Now that I have brainstormed, it’s time to do research. I research using books, Google, blog posts, books, and articles. I listen to news stories and podcasts.
I talk to people (vet doctors, pet store owners). Depending on the subject matter I may discuss the topic with kids in my family (if appropriate). Kids are incredibly smart, and they know the true meaning of thinking outside the box.
For statistics, facts and figures I might go to sites like StatisticBrain, ZanRan, and WoframAlpha. I also use other quality resources.
As I research, I take notes and start plugging information in appropriate chapters.
Step 3: Write. Write on!
Start with an introduction that tells who you are.
You don’t have to be an expert to write a book, but there needs to be something that qualifies you to write about the subject matter. That something could simply be that you’ve experienced it, i.e. you’ve experienced traveling on a budget, you’ve experienced training and running a marathon, you’ve experienced starting a successful online business. You run with your dog. Get the point?
Next, you want to explain, how the information will be helpful to the reader. In writing your introduction chapter you don’t have to be paint-by-numbers, but do try to answer pertinent information.
To glean information look at the introductions in various books.
Next, write the body chapters.
Finally, write the conclusion. Again you don’t want to be paint-by-numbers, but you do want to summarize important BIG concepts in the book.
Ideas to fill your book manuscript with content:
Answer the most frequently asked questions on your topic. If it’s a field you are in like, say, real estate, what questions do your clients frequently asks? What questions should they asks? If you answer 10-30 questions, you have material to fill a book.
Tell stories. There is truly nothing new under the sun. Meaning the topic that you are writing about has probably been written about to death. Therefore, how you can breathe fresh life into a topic is to share stories about yourself or someone you know. If you are writing a nonfiction book about running with dogs, you might share personal stories of running with your dog or of friends who run with their dogs.
Repurpose content. If you think really hard you probably have material that you can use that you’ve used before. This is not to say that the material does not have to be tweaked or rewritten, but you should have material. Did you do a speech on the topic? Did you write an article or do a guest blog post? Did you get interviewed on a podcast?
Jokes. Do you have a story or a joke that you tell to every client? If so, any of this information can help fill a book.
And there you have it, folks, a quick & easy method to outline your nonfiction book.
I trust that this basic nonfiction outline template has given you enough juice to get started.
In this BOOK OUTLINE, I share the step by step detailed process of the “thick paragraph” method I use that demonstrates more ways to outline books.
(Below are more outlines I’ve written or provided consultation)
- 1, Dating Marketability
4. Failure outline
5. Failure (how to overcome setbacks)
6. Facebook outline
7. Global warming
9. Hate Your Job Outline
10. Identity theft outline
11. Information Products Outline
12. Kids and Leadership
13. Kick start New Year, new you
14. Lift up Your day
15. Life Coach
- Marriage Project
- Mobile Marketing
- Healthy Hair Project
- Eyebrow threading
- Magically manifesting your dreams
- No Poo (shampoo)
- Single Women project 2
- Self Help
- Papua new Guineas (traveling)
- Rainy day (kids activities)
- Run with your Dog Project
- Turbo Charge your life
- Staffing Agency
- Thou Shalt outline (sins of the other woman)
33. Women’s Empowerment
34. Vegetable Garden Project
- Tip Magnets Project (restaurant worker)
- Fatigue Project (eliminate fatigue)
- Shyness (how to overcome it)
- Motivational Makeover
- Nonprofit project
- 5 2 and paleo (diet)
- Get your life on fast track – turbo charge it
- Personal crisis
- Identity theft outline
- How to silence your inner critic
- Project Mgmt
47. Coconut Oil Fractionated project (and benefits of coconut oil)
49. Publicity for Authors
50. Speak Life (empowering, spiritual)
51. Women’s Empowerment
52. Virtual Assistant outline
53. Staffing agency eBook (starting one)
55. Kids veggie outline
56. Amazon pre-order
57. Salt (what’s good and bad about using it)
58. Job Search Outline
As you can see, I’ve written, consulted or been heavily involved in the process of writing nonfiction books for quite awhile. I know the best steps and the first steps of writing. If you are preparing to write, I have given you the guidelines.
C’mon aren’t you tired of just “thinking about” writing a book?