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How to Organize Your Nonfiction Book

By Patricia L. Fry

Do you want to create the next best seller, but don't know where to begin? Here's a guide to help you jumpstart your first book:

1. Come up with a good idea. Find out what has been written on this subject. How successful are these books? Can you develop a fresh slant?

2. Determine your audience. Who are you writing for? Avoid focusing so narrowly that you eliminate a portion of your readers.

3. Gather material for your book. Can you locate enough fresh information to justify a book on this subject? Compile a list of expert sources. To make your book one of a kind, call upon your own experiences.

4. Develop a book proposal. A good book proposal will reveal whether or not you actually have a valid book idea. Can you describe your book adequately in one or two paragraphs? Can you create a detailed chapter outline? Have you thought about how this book will be marketed? What is the scope of competition for this book? The process of writing a book proposal is a good first step in writing the book whether you self-publish or are searching for a traditional publisher. For help in writing a book proposal refer to The Author's Toolkit by Mary Embree.

5. Write the book. The two main things that keep someone from becoming an author are procrastination and lack of time. Procrastination is often cured once you've started the process by developing a book proposal. If you can't find the time to write, make some changes. Give up TV. Stay up two hours later at night or get up two hours earlier in the morning

If you dream of becoming an author, it doesn't matter what steps you take or in which order. What matters is that you start the process of writing and stick with it.

—Patricia Fry is the author of A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit and Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book.

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