It always surprises me that nonfiction writers don’t see themselves as leaders. Yet, each and every book, article, essay, or blog post they share sets them up as authorities, influencers, and role models.
In the Inspired Creator Community, I coach writers on the 12 Leadership sessions, which are part of the group Certified High Performance Coaching program. Often, they seem to struggle to wrap their minds around the concept of being a leader. They see leadership as a role designated to those who work in high positions in corporations, politicians, or small-business owners.
But nonfiction writers are, indeed, leaders in their own right.
Not convinced? Let’s look at a five specific reasons why nonfiction writers are leaders.
1. Nonfiction writers share unique ways of thinking.
Many nonfiction writers’ books showcase a unique way of thinking about a topic or situation. Their thinking lies on the leading edge of an industry, subject, or issue. For that reason, they become thought leaders.
Authors who learn about or research a specific topic area and share that knowledge via a book also become subject-area experts. Those interested in their subjects consider their opinions and perspectives worth listening to. An excellent example of such an author is Malcolm Gladwell. He has written such books as The Tipping Point, Outliers, and Blink. His research made him a thought leader on the topics of his books. These include viral trends in business, marketing, and human behavior; how successful people achieve success through the help of others, practice, and opportunity; and how we actually think without thinking and the choices that follow such thinking.
Additionally, nonfiction writers often express their views as bloggers. Let’s say you start a blog on a topic, like organic gardening, crystal healing, or parenting. The more content you share your perspective on your topic, the more likely it is that your readers will look to you as a leader in that niche.
As a result, readers consider you a thought leader. That’s what happened to Darren Rowse at Problogger.com. He also became the author of a book by the same name as his blog. The same thing happened to Jill Smokler, who became a New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of a Scary Mommy because of her blog, Scary Mommy.
2. Nonfiction writers start movements.
Books provide a perfect medium for sharing information related to a cause. As a result, one book can be the starting point for an entire movement—with you at the helm.
Recall Al Gore’s book, An Inconvenient Truth, which put the spotlight on climate change. More recently, young Swedish environmentalist Greta Thurnberg wrote No One is Too Small to Make a Difference. Such books motivate people to take action.
If you have a cause you want to promote, such as cleaning up the oceans, reducing stress, or eliminating child trafficking, a book can be a good way to do so.
Combine your book with a blog and a Facebook group or podcast, and before you know it, you’ll be leading a movement. At the very least, you’ll be leading your readers toward a change of some sort.
In Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, Seth Godin explains how people automatically congregate around similar ideas and beliefs. Your views and opinions will attract those people who have similar ones. Before you know it, you’ll have a community—at the very least—to lead.
3. Nonfiction writers empower others.
If you’ve ever read a nonfiction book, you likely felt empowered by the time you finished the last page. You were inspired or motivated to see the world differently, take new action, or change yourself in some way. That’s what leaders do—they empower others.
But you don’t need to be a CEO or have a team to empower others. You can do that by writing a memoir, how-to, or prescriptive nonfiction book. Each page helps your readers step into their power in some way. For instance, you might help them find the inner strength to improve their relationships, heal their money issues, or start their own business.
Think about all the books that have empowered you to be able to write and publish your work. Maybe you wanted to write a book proposal, so you read How to Write a Book Proposal. Or you wanted to learn how to be market a book and picked up Sell Your Book like Wildfire. As a result, you felt more able—more empowered—to pursue your goals.
4. Nonfiction writers offer solutions and answers.
Leaders are often the ones who have answers to tough questions or solutions to complex problems. That’s why people turn to them in need. They lead the way to change in any given situation.
The majority of nonfiction books address common questions and problems—like how to heal from heartbreak, make money online, or find God—and tackle significant issues—like global warming, the economy, and social injustice.
If you can write a book that offers new solutions and answers, you step up as a leader. Your knowledge and know-how put you front and center. And the next time there is a need for a solution and answer, you will be the go-to guy or gal.
#5. Nonfiction writers are service-oriented.
Most nonfiction writers start out unknown. However, they bravely set out to share their words of wisdom, knowledge, and personal or professional experience with one goal in mind: service. They want to contribute in a way that helps others.
Leaders are givers. They want to be of help.
Think of the leaders you know—at your church, in your community, amongst your friends and family, or at your workplace. They do their best to support others, right? The same could be said of nonfiction writers.
Writers give of themselves with each word they put on paper. They never know how what they write will be received…but they write and publish anyway. They brave criticism, judgment, and failure because their desire to be of service is greater than their fear.
Nonfiction writers have the hearts of leaders.
Step Up and Lead
If you’ve been holding back for any reason, stop. The world needs leaders now more than ever. You can lead simply by starting to write and publish.
You may initially feel as if your words are disappearing into the ethers—no one is reading. But stick with it… Eventually, you will find your tribe. And your writing will lead them forward.
Do you believe that, as a writer or author, you are a leader? Tell me in a comment below. And please share this post with other writers.
Would you like to write and publish nonfiction work, like articles, blog posts, books, or reports…and become a successful author? Join the Nonfiction Writers’ University. Get the basic education you need and the Author Coaching to help you succeed as a nonfiction writer. Enjoy a 30-day trial membership for only $1. If you’ve felt the desire to get coached and be supported as you pursue authorship, this program is for you.
Photo courtesy of Hanna Kuprevich
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