11 Reasons to Write Nonfiction

why become a nonfiction writerThe majority of aspiring authors dream of becoming novelists. Fiction has an allure. It seems artistic, creative and fun. Yet, nonfiction accounts for approximately half of all trade books published. And nonfiction provides opportunities for aspiring authors to explore interesting topics and, more imporatant, to make a positive and meaningful difference with their words. As long as you can write well, formulate a marketable idea, and carry that idea to completion–including any necessary research, you can write and publish nonfiction.

Why Write Nonfiction?

If you aren’t convinced you want to write nonfiction, here are 11 reasons to give it a try.

1. Publication potential.

You can become a published writer quickly by writing articles. You have many options to write articles and essays, and find publications to publish them. Finding publications that will publish short stories is much more difficult.

2. Little upfront risk.

You don’t have to write an entire nonfiction book before peddling it to publishers. Unlike novels, nonfiction books are marketed and sold with a book proposal before the manuscript is complete. You need only have 25 sample pages to show an agent or acquisitions editor. You do have to invest some time into the proposal and sample chapters, but your risk (in terms of time) is much less than if you want to sell fiction.

3. More opportunities.

Today there are more places to publish nonfiction than ever before. From online publications to local newspapers to mass market trade journals, you can find a home for your articles and essays.

4. Less competition.

The majority of people aspire to become novelists. As a nonfiction author, you enter a less crowded space, which could mean you have an increased chance of selling your nonfiction book.

5. Increased Revenue Streams.

Nonfiction articles and books can be repurposed in a variety of ways. One article can be spun into five or ten. Each chapter of your book can become an article, a webinar, or a speech. That means you increase the number of revenue streams flowing from your work.

6. Create expertise and authority.

Writing nonfiction, whether it’s short pieces or full books, requires research and interviews with experts. As you publish articles and posts–and books–on a particular topic, you create expertise of your own. You become an authority. This makes it easier to land more writing gigs.

7. Pursue your passion.

If you have a passion, and can spin that interest or hobby into marketable book or article ideas, you can spend your work time immersed in topics you love.

8. Collaborate.

If you aren’t an expert in your own right, you can produce collaborative nonfiction. Pair up with a celebrity or expert. The association will help you sell the book to a publisher and readers as well. Your co-author might even be the one with the story or information to share; you could just do the writing. You might even get paid to write someone else’s story.

9. Compile.

If you don’t know what to write, or you aren’t sure you can produce a full-length book on your own, create a compilation. The Chicken Soup for the Soul series provides an example of a compilation. Sometimes people will even pay to be in a compilation if there are a few well-known people writing pieces for the book as well.

10. Earn a living.

You can produce many types of nonfiction–articles, essays, books, and blogs. Each one represents another way to turn you writing into a livelihood.

11. Make a difference.

Nonfiction informs, educates, inspires, motivates, and provides benefit and value to readers. It answers readers’ questions, solves their problems, and eases their pain. If you want to make a positive and meaningful difference with your words, transform lives, or start a movement, nonfiction provides you with an avenue to accomplish your goal.

Do you have another reason to add to my list? If so, share it in a comment.


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