Link Feast—Read These Before Writing Your Next Nonfiction Book

Following are posts that I revisit periodically to regain perspective and tune up my writing process. I recommend them to you.

Note: You’ll find these most helpful if your purpose is to write a book that instructs people to solve a problem or learn a skill.

Writing a Self-Help Book 

I respect the folks at New Harbinger. They’ve been around for 40 years and published a lot of good books. Though their focus is self-help (defined as gaining essential life skills), this page of publishing guidelines offers wonderful ideas for organizing a manuscript and writing clear instructions. For example:

To effectively teach an individual step of a skill, follow this sequence: state the rule or instruction first. Be clear and to the point. Then, give an example of how someone else did this step. Lastly, provide the exercise for the reader to perform. This gives the reader three ways to learn the skill: intellectually by precept, emotionally through modeling, and experientially through action.

Chris Brogan on Writing Books

Chris Brogan produces a lot. In addition to frequent blog posts and magazine articles, he’s  written a couple of books that landed on the New York Times bestseller lists.

Chris’s series of posts on writing books offer good, actionable ideas for planning your project, organizing your ideas, getting it done, and promoting the published product. Please do read these:

B. J. Fogg on Habit Change

B. J. Fogg is a psychologist who teaches at Stanford University and consults with businesses. He specializes in helping people change habits through effective design rather than motivation. The key is to take baby steps: Link easy new behaviors to stable cues and reward yourself often.

Like over 10,000 other people, I took his Tiny Habits program—a week-long series of daily emails that coach you to apply his ideas. This blew me away. B. J.’s writing is clear as a bell and simple as a country creek. And, he’s on the cutting edge of his field.

If your purpose for writing a book is to change what readers actually do, then you cannot afford to overlook B. J.’s ideas. After doing Tiny Habits, check out his larger model of behavior change.