Post by Nina Amir (@NinaAmir)
You’ve got an idea for a blogged nonfiction book. Maybe you’ve even brainstormed some ideas for content, completed a mind map or come up with a tentative outline. Now you’re wondering about how to structure your book.
It’s really not that difficult to create a structure for a nonfiction book. Although not all nonfiction books follow the same structure, if you spend some time looking at a variety of them, you will discover their basic format is pretty similar.
Find a Model
For this reason, one of the easiest ways to create a structure for your nonfiction blogged book involves studying the bestselling books in the category in which your book will reside. You can also find books in that category that you like. Make note of the similarities in structure. Then copy that structure as you design your own book.
Stick with the Basics
If you don’t want to look at what other people have done, stick with the basics. The majority of nonfiction books have between 10 and 15 chapters. Each has a title that indicates what the chapter is about. The chapters are broken down by sections with appropriate subheadings or subtitles, which also clearly tell the readers what information they can find in each one.
You might also have an introduction and a conclusion.
Consider Adding Special Features
Many nonfiction books have special features. These might be epigrams, or quotes at the beginning of each chapter. Or you could mix it up and place a quote at the end of the chapter. Some nonfiction books include exercises or tips or have a workbook element. Yours could even include case studies or success stories that are set apart in some way that make them “special.”
Front Matter and Back Matter
Every book should have front matter: a copyright page, a dedication and acknowledgements. Back matter consists of your author bio, information on your other books (if you have any), your products or services or company, or even a free offer that drives readers to your website to sign up for your mailing list.
Mind Map First vs. Structure First
Once you decide upon the basic structure of your book, you should find it fairly simple to drop your content into it, especially if you do a mind mapping exercise to develop the content of your book. Some writers like to brainstorm with a mind map (or in some other way) first and let the content dictate the structure of the book. This often works extremely well. However, you also can decide on the structure for the book and then mind map your book with the structure in mind. You may find this helps you visualize the book as you brainstorm the content. Then drop your ideas into the structure you’ve created.
Extras to Consider
As you work on the structure of your book and the content, keep in mind these possibilities:
- You can include content that helps you create a business around the book or that boosts your current business. Think about how your chapters might be turned into products and services.
- You can plant the seed for spin-off books. Expand one, several, or all of your chapters into follow-up books or a series.
- You can include links to your business, blogs, courses, etc. This is especially relevant if you produce an ebook.
The Final Step
Since you plan to blog your nonfiction book, the final step involves breaking the chapters down into post-sized bits. Each section might be a blog post, or it might be comprised of several blog posts. Therefore, after your chapter title and after each subheading, you must determine how many topics you will cover and if they can be covered in 300-500 words. You then can create a detailed table of contents consisting of potential blog posts.
The only thing left to do is to blog your nonfiction book, post by post, creating your chapters—and the structure of your book—as you do so.
About the Author
Nina Amir, the bestselling author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, is a speaker, a blogger, and an author, book, and blog-to-book coach. Known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach, she helps creative people combine their passion and purpose so they move from idea to inspired action and gain the ability to positively and meaningfully impact the world as writers, bloggers, authorpreneurs, and blogpreneurs. Some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She is the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge, and the Nonfiction Writers’ University.
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