There are a lot of adages applied to the craft of writing. Some you have no doubt heard include “write what you know” and “know your subject,” which make plenty of sense, but “write what you love” is probably closer to what successful authors do on a regular basis. If you don’t love your subject, how can you expect readers to devote hours of their precious time to your latest work?
With the advent of online publishers like Amazon Kindle, it’s not hard to make a book available to the public, even for a new writer, but producing a book and successfully marketing it are two different things. It can be very difficult to differentiate one novel from another, something a nonfiction author doesn’t have to work so hard at.
Even in a crowded field, a nonfiction book can offer a new perspective, new photos, a more complete telling of the story, and many other things to sell copies, and there are other distinct advantages to writing nonfiction.
To start with, quality nonfiction has a much longer shelf-life than the average novel. Bookstores rotate stock continually, based on sales. However, while the average fiction work falls victim to a deluge of new novels, quality nonfiction has the advantage of a much smaller field to compete with and is likely to continue to sell for years.
This is especially important for online books. While a new author may produce a novel that sells well for a few months to a year, a nonfiction work will continue to sell, continue to move upward on sales lists, and will attract reviews for a longer period of time.
For individuals interested in attracting a traditional publisher, the nonfiction author again has an advantage. For one thing, you can narrow down your search for publishers rather quickly. And, you can often approach those publishers you think might be interested in your work without an agent. Just make sure your query letter is spectacular!
In addition, many publishing houses are willing to sign contracts for nonfiction works before they are completed. It is the “idea” and the proposal letter and outline that are likely to sell the publisher, and an advance is often worked out long before the work is produced. Obviously not so for most novels.
If you can’t attract a publisher, perhaps they know something you don’t, like the work won’t be marketable. If that’s the case you may save yourself months of work on a project that can’t be successful.
On the other hand, if you decide to go forward and publish on your own, you can take advantage of your exact niche market by blogging for them. It was my interest in the subject of Nevada casinos that helped me produce “Nevada’s Golden Age of Gambling,” and it’s easy to find additional items of interest to post to my blog Nevada Casino history .
Either way you decide to go, traditional publishing or self-publishing, nonfiction writing can have great advantages for authors. You should explore your prospects before starting your next novel; you might just find something you love!