Course Outline for Write and Publish Nonfiction Book

Week 1

Lesson 1- Introduction to Nonfiction: Choosing Your Topic

If you think nonfiction is nothing but facts and figures, think again! From travel books to memoirs, we'll look at some of the most intriguing and top-selling nonfiction genres. In addition, you'll learn why nonfiction is such a good choice for first-time authors hoping to land a book contract. Then you'll jump right in and get to work, transforming your interests and passions into a compelling book idea. Welcome to the exciting world of nonfiction books!

Lesson 2- Shaping Your Book Idea

Now that you have a book idea, it's time to start sleuthing. Today you'll learn how to use the Internet to research similar books—either existing or upcoming—that might compete with your own idea. Then you'll get some handy tips for differentiating your book concept and making it stand out from the competition. You'll also get a crash course in traditional and nontraditional publishing—what they are and how they work—that will get you thinking about your publishing options as you craft a descriptive statement that encapsulates your book idea.

Week 2

Lesson 3- Your Audience, Title, and Style

Are you still thinking of your book simply as "my book"? If so, it's time to bring your idea to life by giving it a name! In this lesson, you'll determine the best audience for your book and write a working title that reflects the unique angle that you bring to your topic. After that, you'll take the first steps toward choosing your writing style.

Lesson 4- Research, Interviewing, and Immersion

Ready for more detective work? Today we're going to talk about gathering the facts, opinions, and observations you'll need to write your book. First, you'll learn handy tips for doing traditional research in the library or on the Internet. Then you'll delve into some fun techniques that will help you get the best out of the people you interview. And finally, you'll find out how to get inside your topic using a fun technique called immersion.

Week 3

Lesson 5- Organization and Structure

You've finished your research—it's time to write! In this lesson, you'll discover how to begin the writing process without feeling overwhelmed. First you'll learn how to break your content into manageable chunks and choose an overall organization scheme for your book. Then you'll explore the pros and cons of outlining and free writing and decide what path you want to pursue. Finally, you'll get tips for writing each portion of your chapter—whether you choose a traditional nonfiction format with a beginning, middle, and end, or a storytelling format written in scenes. Either way you'll learn to write captivating leads that will snag the attention of readers and publishers!

Lesson 6- Nonfiction Writing Tips and Techniques

Today we'll delve into some writing techniques critical to nonfiction writers. You'll learn to use precise vocabulary and make your points clearly and accurately so readers never get lost. You'll also decide what role you, as the author, will play in the text—will you be a constant presence in your book, or will you play a more inconspicuous role and let your content shine? You'll finish this lesson by learning how to use quotations and paraphrasing correctly and exploring how to integrate facts and descriptions into your book in a fluid way that keeps readers fully engaged.

Week 4

Lesson 7- The Writer's Life: Practical Tips

No matter how brilliant your wordplay, you'll succeed as an author only if you make time to write. So in this lesson we'll cover the practical steps you can take to write regularly and finish that manuscript. We'll start by discussing the essential tools you need to create and back up your work. Then you'll learn how to develop a consistent and realistic writing schedule that takes your writing preferences and other obligations into account. Finally, you'll get some solid techniques for blasting away procrastination and writer's block. This lesson will give you the practical foundation you need to commit to your book project and see your manuscript to completion.

Lesson 8- Editing and Proofreading

Beautiful words don't always come easily. But put in a little blood, sweat, and tears—in other words, editing—and you'll get your manuscript in great shape! Today we'll cover how to edit and evaluate your work before seeking publication. You'll get tips for editing your writing and determining whether you should do your own proofreading or seek out a professional. Then you'll learn how to solicit feedback from a few lucky reviewers who can help you evaluate and improve your book. When you've completed these final steps, you'll be ready to begin the publishing process.

Week 5

Lesson 9- Traditional Publishing: Agents, Publishers, and Submissions

It's publishing time! You'll start this lesson by analyzing your reasons for wanting to publish a book and use that information to help you decide between traditional and nontraditional publishing. Then you'll learn more about the advantages of agents and kick-start your search for either an agent or a traditional publisher by finding those best suited to you and your book.

Lesson 10- Traditional Publishing: Query Letters, Proposals, and Shortcuts

Submitting your work the right way is the key to getting published. So in this lesson, you'll learn how to craft winning query letters and proposals that will make your book irresistible to agents and publishers. You'll also discover how to track your submissions, what to expect from literary contracts, and how to work best with agents and editors once you seal the deal. Finally, we'll cover some valuable shortcuts that can get you straight to an agent or editor and save you tons of time (and even money!).

Week 6

Lesson 11- Nontraditional Publishing

Want more control over the publishing process? If so, nontraditional publishing may be perfect for you. Today we'll delve into all the steps required to publish your own book. First we'll explore the differences between Print on Demand (POD) publishing and full self-publishing, helping you decide which path is right for you. Then we'll go through each of the tasks required to get your book in print: editing, cover design, layout, setting your book's price, choosing the right printer or POD publisher, and more. We'll end with a discussion about easy-to-publish e-books.

Lesson 12- Distribution, Publicity, and Promotions

Once your book is in print, how will anyone know it exists? Even authors of traditionally-published books need to help with publicity, so today we'll cover some creative ways to sell and promote your masterpiece. You'll start by looking beyond the traditional bookstore to uncover other profitable places you can sell your book. Then you'll delve into the world of promotions, learning how to create press materials that grab the attention of newspapers, magazines, blogs, and radio and television stations. You'll also learn how to create a Web site for your book and how to make the most of listings on Internet book-selling sites like Amazon.

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