Powerful Non-Fiction Writing

Keeping in mind that non-fiction readers invest their time and money in books that meet a felt need, a great philosophy is, “Offer them what they want, then give them what they need.” Here are 14 questions to consider as you write your life-changing message:

QuestionsXSmallWhat problem is your reader experiencing?

How has the problem been overlooked?

What are they missing out on due to this problem?

What impact has this problem had on their life?

What misconceptions has the reader bought into that might keep him/her from experiencing the benefit you’re about to offer?

What underlying beliefs do they have that keep them from seeing a new solution or alternate view?

What solution or benefit will you show the reader?

What truths will help the reader see the benefit?

What will give them an “aha” moment?

What might influence the reader to avoid possible change?

How are others enjoying the benefit you’re teaching?

What will the reader let go of in order to adapt a new view of their life?

What choice(s) will they make?

What action(s) might they take?

Always keep your reader in mind. Offer them what they want, then give them what they need. As author Dean Merrill says, “Never stop asking ‘what’s in this manuscript for the reader?'”

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This entry was posted in Agent's Desk, Memoir, Non-fiction, Writing and tagged , , , by Alice Crider. Bookmark the permalink.

About Alice Crider

I got started in in book publishing in 1998 at Cook Communications in Colorado Springs. In 2001, I went to work at Alive Communications Literary Agency for three years before joining the editorial team at WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House Publishing, Inc. I studied Communication at Regis University in Colorado and received life coach training through Christian Coaching Institute in 2008. I joined the agent team at WordServe Literary in September 2012, and my passion is to empower authors to realize their publishing dreams and live a life that thrills them.

9 thoughts on “Powerful Non-Fiction Writing

  1. Great post. Alice!!! I love, “What will give them an aha moment?” I suppose it starts with the writer first getting those aha moments from God.

    I want more ahas, Lord. Aha, I do. ; )

  2. I love finding those “aha moments” for myself…and I love sharing them with others…

    Good post!

  3. I really like the advice to think about what misconceptions the reader might have bought into that might keep them from getting the benefit of my message. Takes me to a deeper place in my writing, a good place. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Great Stuff on the Writers’ Blogs, February 14 & 15, 2013 « cochisewriters

  5. Alice,

    In my efforts to write more powerful nonfiction, you’ve given me great direction with these 14 questions. I especially like these==>What impact has this problem had on their life? and What will the reader let go of in order to adapt a new view of their life?

    It helps me take the reader deeper when I take myself deeper.

    I look forward to sharing your article with my fellow writers. Thank you.

  6. As a 20-year non-fic writer/author, I still find this list helpful as reminders. This is a valuable resource especially for beginning non-fic writers. I’ll forward it to my writing friends and encourage them to use these as guides. Thanks! Always good info at this blog!

  7. Awesome post for bloggers struggling to identify with their audience as well!
    Thanks for the thoughtful info. It will be extremely helpful moving forward.

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