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Writing book length non-fiction (1 Viewer)



Does anyone know of a good how-to guide, a book or otherwise, on this subject?


Senior Member
sorry, but i don't... and i don't ever recommend using how-tos for writing, except for screenwriting, where a good one is really necessary, due to the specialized nature of the medium and format...

why do you think you need one?... what is it you want to write about?... and what do you need to learn that you can't get by looking at books like it?


I want to write a book titled "The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Contemporary Cleveland Indians." The book will chronicle the rise of the team in the mid-90's, its fall, and its present rebirth. Obviously, there's a lot to write about there. I can't decide where to start. I want to begin with the end of this baseball season but that hasn't happened yet so I can't write about it.

But, I want to get to work so I am not sure where to work on. My writing style is very dependent on the beginning of the piece -- usually I need the title to serve as a prompt -- and I just kind of take it from there. Go with what flows. Part of the reason for this is my primary writing style is journalistic and the beginning is very important in that style.

By reading a book, I could kill time till baseball season is over or maybe find another jumping off point.

I disagree with you on how-to guides. Obviously, I've never read a non-fiction one but I found them to be very helpful when learning to write in the journalistic style. Thank you all the same for your reply.


Senior Member
ok, i can see where one on the basics of journalism might be helpful to some folks... i wasn't thinking along those lines...


Senior Member
A recent one just out is called "Writing True Stories," and it's a compilation from some of the best writers out there. It isn't so much a how-to, but there are some golden things in there to get you jumpstarted. The other is called Creative Nonfiction. You can find either on Amazon, maybe some used copies cheap if you don't mind a smudge or two.

I would set up your other chapters, if nothing else an outline. You're jumping off point could be, based on the team's past track record and come-back performance to-date, some predictions of your own on where things will go. I know there are a lot of mitigating factors in between, but it might be interesting to see how your predictions for resulting games pan out.

Just because the season isn't over, doesn't mean you can't lay some groundwork on the rest and then edit in light of the outcome. Just a thought. Hope it helps.
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Olly Buckle

You beat me to it americanwriter, the book needn't be written in the order it's read, start writing what you know now, you can pull it into an order later.


Senior Member
this isnt really a how to on writing the book itself...but it's called How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen....and when wanting to write a book length non fiction book in order to get it published, you need a book proposal to market it to agents and publishers. a lot of the time you write the proposal before you write the book to see if it's even marketable...but i've read the Larsen book and it sort of breaks down the parts of the proposal which in turn is like a blue print for your book. and this may not have made any sense to you....but it made a tiny bit to me....but i really recommend the book


Last year, I couldn't stand it anymore. I was getting the same questions over and over again--"How do I go about writing and publishing a book?" or "I just finished a book, how do I find a publisher?" or "The first publisher I approached with my book accepted it. It only cost me $1,500. But I'm not happy with my contract. How do I get out of it?"

I was fielding questions like this every week. At every workshop I conducted, these questions would come up. Finally, I decided to write a book for hopeful, struggling and stalled authors. "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book," (366-pages) is in its second printing and now includes an accompanying "Author's Workbook." If you are interested in publishing, you absolutely must have the information that's in this book. The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book - Matilija Press.

Patricia Fry
Matilija Press (for more about me)
Writing and Publishing News (follow my informative blog)