Tag Archives: nonfiction

Nonfiction writing tips from a writer who has won the Pulitzer Prize

2017-09-18

Bret Stephens, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, recently joined The New York Times. One of his first articles for the newspaper was a collection of tips for writing news, articles and columns. Altogether, Brett Stephens shares 15 tips for writers, from which I selected 7 that apply to all nonfiction writers.

Somy DPT-RP1 ereader: reading and making notes
1. Get to the point.
Every sentence counts, and must deliver value to the reader. Some writers (and editors) believe the first sentence is the most important to hook a reader, but surely the attention span of readers is longer. Nonetheless, in order keep the reader’s attention the story and the delivery of information must move forward without slack.

2. Write to the broad community of people.
Don’t try to impress experts of your own field with industry jargon. A normal person has to easily understand what your message is. This applies to most articles and books ever published. Naturally, there are publications that target at experts of a niche, but that is another story.

3. Authority counts.
Readers have to trust the writer’s expertise on the subject he or she is writing about. Credentials help, but usually the authority has to be built with time.

4. Establish a confident voice.
Avoid passive voice in your writing, and unnecessary filler words that don’t add anything to the information you are delivering to the reader. Confident voice is not too modest and not too hyped-up, but – confident.

5. Doublecheck the facts.
It also means checking the spelling of names, verifying the dates and times.
[I would check the links at some point as well, because nonfiction articles and books usually have links to sources and more information. As an editor of nonfiction book manuscripts I have done some fact checking and the worst errors have originated from Wikipedia that some authors had used as their only source]

6. Drop all empty phrases.
It may feel that using a cliché is a shortcut to delivering a wealth of information, but more often it is an entirely empty phrase that is wasting everyone’s time.
7. Respect you editor.
Even if you are self-publishing, you should hire an editor to improve your text. If your article or book manuscript is being reviewed by the publisher’s editor, learn from it.

Tips for improving the readability and attractiveness of nonfiction books

2017-09-01

When a publisher/author states that the most important element of a plan for a nonfiction book is its table of contents, she has my attention. That’s exactly what we have been telling to Klaava.com readers in one of our most popular articles.

man holding old books in his hands
Anyway, Brooke Warner has written an article for Huffington Post where she reminds of the importance of the table of contents, and shares five valuable tips for improving the readability and attractiveness of nonfiction books.

Brooke Warner’s tips for better nonfiction writing:

– Use subheadings to break chapters into logical chunks, and to give a reader a break.
– Consider writing yourself into the book as a guide who looks after the reader.
– Insert other elements into the book besides text. Nonfiction books usually benefit from graphs, tables, fact boxes and similar layout elements that capture something essential about the discussed topic.
– Short books are fine. Yes, it perfectly all right to write a book less than 200 pages or 40 000 words.
– Don’t write in dry academic tone, but use your own voice.

A common feature in nonfiction manuscripts is long paragraphs. Time after time, the editor will break long paragraphs into two or more short paragraphs that are easier to read. This is particularly important when reading an ebook on a screen. Subheading, indents and other simple elements help as well.

Color is an important element in nonfiction books as well. Use color in charts, pictures and of course, photographs. If the book is published as a black-and-white print edition, so be it, but the ebook edition benefits greatly from colors.

We have published nonfiction ebooks about 50-100 pages long. When the reader is aware that he or she is buying a concise book focused on a specific theme, that’s a good deal for the customer when the price is right.

Ebook news digest: guide to writing a nonfiction book, visual travel stories, PayPal for iBooks

2017-07-18

News on ebooks, writing and photography

laptop on table with papers and pen
The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Publishing a Nonfiction Book
Writing Tips Oasis

An extensive article on planning and writing a nonfiction book that starts with a Table of Contents. Klaava Media’s publishing team was sold – the importance of the Table of Contents is also one of our most popular articles. Here is a writer who knows about writing a nonfiction book. And yes, writing a book is that much work as the article suggests.

How to Tell Better Visual Stories with Travel Photography
Digital Photography School

Telling a story with images has a beginning and an end just like telling a story in writing. The article provides tips for an opening image, and for other types of pictures required to tell a travel story.

Microsoft is giving away millions of eBooks that can be downloaded for free
Techworm

Free ebook downloads for techies. Technical guides for people who are dealing with Microsoft’s products at work. If you are looking for free ebooks, why not try Traveling in Scandinavia?

The top 5 gadgets for remote work and productive workations
Meri Sorgaard

Only 5 gadgets – in addition to an obligatory laptop and smartphone? That’s quite a feat.

Review: Sony DPT-RP1 PDF Reader and Digital Notepad (Video)
The Ebook Reader

The Sony DPT-RP1 is an ereader, but not an ordinary one. It has specifically been designed for reading PDF documents and ebooks. That’s why it has a huge screen for an ereader – 13 inches. Here is a review.

What is the X-Ray Feature on Amazon Kindle?
Methodshop

A reminder on the usefulness of X-Ray feature on the Amazon Kindle ereaders and reading applications for tablets and smartphones. Other Kindle features explained as well.

Because travel is much more than exciting destinations
Travel User Guide

A user guide for travel? That’s what this is – tips, advice and reviews.

Apple is now accepting PayPal on the App Store, Apple Music, iTunes, iBooks and iCloud
Hardware Zone

PayPal is my and many other people’s preferred method for payments on the Internet, and now everyone can purchase ebooks from the Apple iBooks store using their PayPal accounts. Excellent.

Ebooks news digest: nonfiction writing prompts, best photos of 2016, breakthrough of remote work

2017-01-01

Ebook news digest January 1, 2017

laptop on table with papers and pen
Plan Your Year: Nonfiction Writing Prompt #52
(Write Nonfiction Now!)

Writing a nonfiction book or article requires planning. Often, the hard part is to decide what to include and what to exclude, even though sometimes, a writer has already processed it at the back of his or her mind before the actual writing starts. The article has many other good tips for writers.

Best Photos of 2016
(National Geographic)

A gallery of National Geographic’s 52 best images of 2016. It was curated from 91 photographers, 107 stories, and 2,290,225 photographs. Amazing images – if someone can afford to take more than two million frames, some of them better be really good.

Get to the point! Avoid these words and keep readers happy
(Articulate)

An excellent list of today’s hype words that are forgotten tomorrow. Avoid them and avoid yesterday’s empty phrases as well, such as “don’t get me wrong”, “fast forward to…”, “like … on steroids”.

What Does a Literary Agent Want to See When They Google You?
(The Write Life)

Yes, literary agents will search you on the Internet. The interesting thing is what they are looking for. An agent is not required in many countries outside the U.S., but writers can approach publishers directly. Many publishers have instructions for book proposals on their web pages. Nonetheless, the publishers are more than likely to do the same as agents do: Google the writer. More in this article.

The number of news stories on digital nomads in news sources was so high this time that I decided to list a few articles about the topic alone (it looks like remote work and digital nomad concepts have been discovered by major media companies now):

Why I quit Yahoo and Gmail when I started traveling (Klaava)

Figuring out “Remote Work” Is Figuring out “Work” (Accidentally in Code)

100 Little Things That Happen When You Become a Digital Nomad (The Sweetest Way)

6 Difficult Countries to Be a Digital Nomad (The Nomad Guru)

The 10 Best Cities for Digital Nomads (TransferWise)

Top Ten Writing Tips for Nonfiction Authors from a Fiction Author

2015-02-18

Writing is craft that some writers learn in their daily work and others learn by taking courses. You might think that nonfiction and fiction writing require very different skills, but it is surprising how many bestselling authors write both types of books. Some have started writing because they were journalists, others because they had to draft educational material for their classes.

mikael niemi, author, book signing at a book show
Swedish author Mikael Niemi signing books at a book fair.

The author of Hobbits and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien knows what he is talking about when he offers his advice for writers. Even though he wrote fiction on his spare time at home, he wrote nonfiction for his daily work.

Here is Tolkien’s top 10 writing tips infographics from Essaymama.

tolkien, tips for writers

Tolkien’s top 10 tips:
1. Vanity is useless. Your book is important for you, but be realistic how important it is to the rest of the world.
2. Keep a stiff upper lip. (Find time to write no matter what).
3. Listen to critics. Critics – Yes, Trolls – No.
4. Let your interests drive your writing. [this is very true for nonfiction as well – a book written with both passion and facts communicates with readers]
5. Poetry as a road to prose.
6. Happy accidents. Tolkien carefully planned the books but gave a chance to new ideas as well.
7. Dreams give us inspiration.
8. Real people make great characters.
9. You may be the next best selling author.
10. Books you write may seem trite.