Many novelists are purists. They only want to write fiction. They don’t realize that their writing careers would benefit from writing nonfiction.
Crossing over to nonfiction—even for one book—benefits a fiction author by:
- Making you an expert.
- Providing more ways to build platform.
- Landing you more speaking engagements.
- Making it possible to sell more books.
- Helping you develop a clearly defined brand.
I’m not a novelist. (Well, I do have one completed fiction manuscript that needs a fabulous edit, but I don’t write fiction on a regular basis.) Nor do I ever call myself a fiction specialist. I do, however, know a thing or two about developing a lucrative writing career and selling books. What I know applies to fiction as well as to nonfiction writers.
If you are a novelist, here are five reasons you should consider writing nonfiction as well. (That’s right. Don’t give up your aspirations as a novelist; just add at least one nonfiction book to the mix.)
1. Nonfiction writers are experts in a subject area.
Nonfiction writers are authorities. They become thought leaders in a subject area. Therefore, they are: – asked to speak – followed by those interested in the topic – receive higher pay – become sought-after consultants and coaches.
2. Nonfiction writers find it easier to build author platform.
While it’s true that people follow novelists online, more follow nonfiction writers. The reason why is simple:
- They want answers to their questions.
- They seed solutions to their problems.
- They value expertise, wisdom, and experience.
Therefore, nonfiction writers attract those who are interested in their subject and their knowledge.
Plus, it’s easy for a nonfiction writer to share on social media sites. They can share their own and curated content that gives their audience exactly what they want: answers, solutions, and information. Plus, they have more topics about which to blog.
3. Nonfiction writers land more speaking engagements.
Today, few organizations and bookstores want to bring in someone to do a reading from a novel. They want speakers who are:
- Lend their expertise—their authority—to a topic
In short, they want speakers who can transform the audience.
As experts, nonfiction authors become valuable speakers. And, the more books a nonfiction author publishes successfully, the more he gets paid to speak and the more she become an in-demand speaker.
4. Nonfiction authors have more ways to sell books.
As a nonfiction author, you can sell your book at venues that deal specifically with your topic. – If your book is about health, you could sell it in a doctor’s office or health club.
- If your book is about orchids, you could sell it in an orchid store or at an orchid show.
- If your book is about standing stones, you could sell your book in metaphysical stores or travel agencies.
If you write novels about a nurse, you could write a nonfiction book about how to land better nursing jobs or how to survive the night shift. Then speak to nursing organizations or in hospitals, and sell your book at the back of the room. You will sell more novels when you speak about a nonfiction topic than you ever will by doing a reading at a bookstore—unless you are Stephen King or J.K. Rowlings.
5. Nonfiction authors can develop a clearly defined brand.
Most authors fail to brand themselves and their websites. However, branding helps you:
- Build platform
- Attract readers and book buyers
- Become discoverable
- Let potential readers and site visitors know what benefit and value you provide
Novelists who write about a variety of topics and themes find it difficult to brand themselves. Those who include the same theme or topic in every book, like knitting, a setting in an Amish community, travel through standing stones, motherhood and parenting, relationships, or psychic abilities, can brand themselves based on their fiction. If they add a nonfiction book on the same topic or theme, branding becomes even easier. Your brand flows out of the topic or theme and the value that offers to readers.
Nonfiction Writers Can Write Fiction
If you write nonfiction but have dreamed of writing a novel one day, you, too, can cross genres. If you plan your novels so they spin off from your nonfiction topics, your nonfiction readers will buy the books! Plus, you’ll attract fiction readers interested in your nonfiction books.
Anyway you look at it, writing both fiction and nonfiction can prove satisfying and lucrative.
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Franklin White says
I like how you said non-fiction writers can sell their books at specific venues that are related to their topic. I think this is great for the reader because they can find a book that will help them exactly with what they want. I would love to find a book about the world and what it is like to explore it.