• Joanne Klepal

Key Lessons of Writing a Nonfiction Book: Lesson #1

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

In the last two updates, I shared how the idea came about to write my first non-fiction book. I’ll now shift focus and share some key learnings based on my experience and the approach I took as I wrote my first non-fiction book.


This is the first lesson in the series.


To begin, I was incredibly fortunate to be in a position to extend my stay in Thailand to begin my writing progress. I was located in a slightly remote area on the outskirts of Chiang Mai at Asian Healing Arts Center.


The setting was peaceful.

I could listen to the birds singing and hear the Buddhist temple bells ringing in the distance. I had an interrupted sunset every evening, could smell the flowers, herbs and plants in bloom as I walked through the property, and there wasn’t an immediate neighbor around.


Well, if you consider cows and dogs neighbors, you’d sometimes hear the bells around the cows necks clinking as they walked to the edge of the property or the dogs barking as they roamed.

From a ‘western’ standard, some would not consider this an ideal location.


The property I was in was made of wood, you can see through the floor planks, hear animals running through the roof, and although there were walls, you heard everything in the rooms next door and downstairs.


Oh, and for such boiling hot temperatures, there was no air conditioning.


No frills didn’t bother me. It had all I needed and from a practical perspective, it allowed flexibility to meet with Cory to discuss patient stories and to hear hers, as well as continue practicing Reiki and Asian Bio-Energetics in between writing.


So now that I had a book concept and outline, and a place to begin writing, where did I start?

Lesson #1:
Know YOUR reason or purpose for writing your book

It’s vital to understand YOUR purpose for writing the book. What do you want to get out of it? What’s your motivation?

  1. Are you writing because you want to make money?

  2. Are you writing because you want to make writing a career?

  3. Are you writing because always had a dream to be an author or show that you can publish a book?

  4. Are you writing just for the pure joy of it?


I started with absolutely no knowledge of what it would take to publish a book or what it would cost.


Once I decided to write the book, I did some preliminary research, however found this was a project in itself and with the limited time I had in Thailand, I decided my immediate direction and focus would be to create a solid working draft prior to my departure. Once I had this in place, I would then take on the publishing research.


When I finally dove into the publishing research, I found it was be a beast. Self-publishing is a big industry and everybody has something ‘you need’; so you can think.


As there are a multitude of options and activities that you could consider, it would be easy to get caught in a tangled net if you don’t know your purpose and keep it top of mind.


For example, knowing your purpose will help answer questions such as:

  1. How much of your time do you invest ?

  2. How much of your money do you invest?

  3. Is a certain activity going to add value or help you achieve your purpose?


This in turn will help you make other decisions such as:

  1. whether you self-publish or not

  2. what format to publish, eBooks printed or both

  3. what channels you use to distribute

  4. what and how much you invest in your marketing plan

  5. what marketing activities will bring the most value

  6. whether you need to create a following from scratch or grow your existing following

  7. whether you formally register with the Copyright Office

  8. whether you consider ‘authors insurance’

  9. Whether you create an author website

  10. …and the list goes on and on


Knowing your purpose and motivation sets the foundation of your writing. It will help focus your time, money and activities throughout the writing and publishing process.

So, ensure your know your purpose and motivation.



Stay tuned for key lesson #2. In the meantime, happy writing and happy journeys,


Joanne


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