Tips for Writing Nonfiction (Really) Fast!

 

Social Media Just for Writers by Frances Caballo

I recently joined Nina Amir’s Nonfiction Writers’ University. If you haven’t heard about it and you write nonfiction, consider the following questions:

  1. Do you want to pursue a career as a freelance nonfiction writer?
  2. Would you like to be more successful in your freelance writing career?
  3. Are you interested in becoming known for the nonfiction books you write?
  4. Would you like to turn your books into a full-time business and become a successful “authorpreneur”?

If you answered the above questions with an unqualified “you bet,” then joining the Nonfiction Writers’ University will undoubtedly help you steer the course of your publishing pursuits and your writing career.

Does it sound expensive? It isn’t. Membership is $9.99/month, or as Nina likes to say, the cost of two Lattes a month.

Conversation with the Ultimate Book Coach, Kristen Eckstein

Every month, Nina hosts a teleseminar with an expert in the field. Nina’s guest for the March teleseminar was Kristen Eckstein, a book coach (her business is I am Published!) who is famous for writing 18 books in 18 weeks.

This is how Eckstein accomplished that feat. Instead of waiting to publish a comprehensive book, Eckstein wrote and then immediately published the chapters of what would eventually constitute a showcase book.

Each e-book she wrote was between 4,000 and 7,000 words, and she divided each e-book into chapters. As soon as she completed a chapter for her larger book, she immediately published it as an e-book. (I checked her e-books on Amazon and she priced them between $0.99 and $2.99.)

Eckstein says that writing 18 books in 18 weeks catapulted her business and her book sales. The writing marathon also provided her with marketing traction on Amazon, money to finance future books, and chapters for her bigger book.

In addition, she created a lot of content that she could immediately repurpose into blog posts, webinars, PowerPoint (and SlideShare) presentations, and speaking engagements. If you’re familiar with Nina Amir’s How to Blog a Book, the process is similar.

In the end, all that writing didn’t turn into one showcase book; it turned into three books.

3-24-14 bHow to Fuel a Writing Marathon

What kept Eckstein going throughout those 18 weeks of writing madly? She hired a business coach who kept Eckstein accountable to her stated goals. She also says that she didn’t sleep very much, and she confessed to eating quite a bit of chocolate.

The reason she embarked on this ambitious goal was so that she could call herself an expert, despite the fact that she has been working in the publishing field for some time.

Before deciding to write 18 books in 18 weeks – or three books in three months – Eckstein advises writers to make a decision about their niche. Do you write about how to survive cancer,  manage Little League teams, or travel on $50/day? Whatever your niche is, nurture it, write about it and brand it.

There are four crucial questions that Eckstein recommends you consider:

  1. What is your passion? What makes you excited about life?
  2. What topics have you studied the most?
  3. What is your experience on your preferred topic?
  4. Do you have substantive knowledge to share?

She described a simple exercise she completes. On a sheet of paper, she writes Topics in the left column and Passion in the right column. She then assigns a point value (1 – 5) to each topic according to how passionate she feels about it. Her rule is that she can’t use any one number more than once. Completing this exercise enables her to identify which topics she’s truly passionate about and which book she should write first.

Eckstein has several tips for writing nonfiction. First, once you’ve selected a topic to write about, establish a goal. If you plan to write a book in one month, Eckstein recommends that you sequester yourself in a hotel, retreat center, or at the library whenever you can so that you can have uninterrupted time to write. When you write from home, put a sign on the door that informs your family that you’re writing, and unless there’s an emergency, you can’t be disturbed.

Once you complete your goal, go see a movie or take a drive to the beach. It’s important to reward yourself for the mini-goals you assign for yourself and complete.

If you’ve written nonfiction, how long does it normally take you to write a book?

Also see:

7 Tips for Marketing on the Social Web (Part 1)

7 Tips for Marketing on the Social Web Plus Apps and Plugins (Part 2)

About the Author: Frances Caballo is a social media manager for writers and author of  Avoid Social Media Time Suck: A Blueprint for Writers to Create Online Buzz for Their Books and Still Have Time to Write, Social Media Just for Writers: The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books and Blogging Just for Writers. Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. You can find her on FacebookTwitterLinkedInPinterest, and Google+. 

Practical Tips for Marketing Your Books on the Social Web