Monday, September 30, 2013

Guest blog: Writing Non-Fiction, with Jo Linsdell

In the usual tradition of this blog, when things get tight, the pressure builds, and I can't find time to write anything.... that's when it's time for a guest blog. :)   See, easy ... unless you can hand out ipods, Virgin Media TV packages, or free books ... this is easier.

Today, we'll be hosting Jo Linsdell.  If you're a writer on Facebook, you've run into madam Linsdell before. I even had a Facebook interview with her not too long ago. Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator, award winning blogger, and freelance writer. She is also the founder and organiser of the annual online event Promo Day ( Her latest release Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home is now available from Amazon. Find out more about her at her website

Writing Non-Fiction

By Jo Linsdell

I'm a multi genre author and also an illustrator so my writing process tends to differ depending on the project I'm working on. For my non-fiction books the first two steps are always the same though 1) make the cover art 2) write up the table of contents.
By making the cover art I get a feel for the book and set the tone. It also becomes "real". This is a great motivator for me and helps me focus on finishing it. Another benefit to making the cover early on is that it means I can do some pre-release promotion even before I've finished writing the book.

The table of contents is basically the structure for my book. I start by brainstorming the topic I'm writing about. For my latest book Virtual Book Tours: Effective Online Book Promotion From the Comfort of Your Own Home the topic was virtual book tours. I made a list of the questions I get asked most related to virtual book tours and they essentially became the chapters of my book. All I needed to do was put them into a logical order. With a clear plan for the book I knew exactly what to write for each chapter and book quickly came to life.

The idea was to break it down into 3 main sections; pre-tour, during-tour, and post-tour, covering everything a person would need to know to be able to set up and carry out a successful virtual book tour. I then added a forth section packed full of useful resources. The book pretty much wrote itself.

I think the main reason I found it so easy to write this book was that I already had a lot of experience and knowledge of my topic (I've carried out numerous successful virtual book tours for my own books and have been hosting others on my blogs for years. Some times working directly with the author, some times with book tour companies). Virtual book tours are also my favourite, and most effective, marketing method for promoting my books. I'm therefore passionate about the topic and enjoy talking about it. These two factors are the essentials for writing a good non-fiction. You need to know your topic and be passionate about it.

As the reader goes through your book it will be obvious whether you're an expert in your topic or not. Your excitement and enthusiasm about your topic should shine through from start to finish. If it does, you'll have them excited about the topic too and eager to use their new found knowledge.

What are the first steps you take when writing a non-fiction book? As a reader, what do you look for it a non-fiction book?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me here today. If any one has any questions about virtual book tours or writing non fiction, I'd love to hear from you so please leave a comment here and I'll get back to you.


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