How to Write a Nonfiction Book

Your Guide to Becoming a Writer

If you’re like most aspiring writers, you’ve probably considered writing a nonfiction book for a while now, but simply don’t know how to start writing a book. Like standing at the edge of a pool, waiting for the perfect moment to dive in, you might need a little encouragement. A little push. Well, this is it …

Learn the Process

The Proven Process of Writing a Book

The Book Professor® has a proven, 4-step writing process that will teach you how to write a nonfiction book. Our mission is to help you write your nonfiction book and achieve your dream of becoming a published author. Finishing your book may even propel your career forward as it has for so many of our clients.

Executive Coach Mike Kitko had several false starts before he engaged in our process. He followed the program from beginning to end and released a book he sells at every one of his speaking gigs. It even helped him create two revenue-producing courses!

Business Coach Beth Standlee struggled to organize her “creative chaos” into a book. Our process gave her the structure and tools to do so, and she was able to publish her book even while navigating one of the most challenging periods in her personal life.

Terry Lammers is a business leader who knows the secrets of buying and selling companies. But he never considered himself a writer. This process helped him produce the book, You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. It found a place on the Forbes list, “Best Books for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners.”

Memoir writer Lindsey Jacobs learned to tell a complex, rich story that grew out of challenging times. It took courage to say what she had to say, but in the end, our process helped her release a beautiful book that offers hope and helps to others.

The Book Professor’s 4-Step Book Writing Process

You’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to write a nonfiction book. Maybe a finished book means a leap ahead in your career as a coach, entrepreneur, femalepreneur, business leader, or public speaker. Maybe a published memoir means achieving your dream of sharing how you’ve overcome obstacles. Whatever your reason, the time is finally here … you’ve got this!

With The Book Professor’s help and our 4-step process of writing a nonfiction book, you can overcome the false starts and lack of confidence and finally publish your book – one you can be proud of and want to share with others. The process unfolds like this: 

    1. Create a purpose statement; this allows you to make choices that drive your book forward.
    2. Learn the nonfiction book structure needed to write quickly and effectively, virtually eliminating writer’s block with BookMAPs™.
    3. Use time blocking and other techniques to write without ruts.
    4. Rewrite, polish, and perfect with intent to move your audience to action.

    It really is that straightforward; it just takes discipline. Ready to start writing?

1. Create a Purpose Statement for Your Nonfiction Book

To complete your nonfiction book as soon as possible, it seems logical to start at chapter one. But a little pre-writing goes a long way. It keeps you from writing three or four chapters only to discover you’ve “lost the plot.”

Therefore, you want to start with a Purpose Statement, which allows you to make choices that will drive your book forward. It follows this formula:

“The purpose of this book is to action for the audience to get a result.” Let’s break that down.


First, what do you want your book to do for people? The answer to this question is vital because people don’t buy books; they buy solutions.


Next, research and define your audience. It’s okay to be specific. The better you define your audience now, the more targeted your writing can be. It will also give you a way to market your book when you’ve completed it.


Finally, what will your audience take away from this book? That’s the “result.” It’s the change your audience will experience when they’ve read it.

This strategy works for any nonfiction book. All our published authors have used this formula to focus their writing. However, just because it’s simple doesn’t mean you can rush through it. Take some time. Freewriting will get you a long way. (Try writing with your non-dominant hand as well.)

Also brainstorm some book titles. Once you’ve identified your action, audience, and result, choosing a working title will be easier. The book’s title will shift as the book evolves, so don’t worry too much about getting it prefect at the beginning.

If you want to learn more and see some examples of purpose statements for a wide range of nonfiction books, read this article


ASSIGNMENT: Write your purpose statement.

People don’t buy books; they buy solutions. They buy inspiration.

2. Eliminate Writer’s Block with BookMAPs

Wondering how to eliminate writer’s block? This part of the process gives you the structure you need to write quickly and effectively, virtually eliminating writer’s block. If you’re writing a memoir, you’ll base the entire book around the following three points. For most writers, BookMAP 1 will inform your introduction and give you many of the anecdotes you’ll need to fill out the rest of your book.
Start with BookMAP 1, your personal story. Here’s the formula:

    1. What life was like before you encountered the problem.
    2. What life was like while you experienced the problem (and worked to overcome it).
    3. What life is like now that you’ve conquered the problem.

As you consider each of these three points above, spend time writing down what life was like during each the following periods of your life. Write all of this down and collect it in a single document.










When you establish yourself as a flawed human who’s encountered real problems, you’ll be able to reach people. They’ll see themselves in you, and that will give them hope.

Next, you’ll work on BookMAP 2, which includes problem/solution sets. Your book is about how you solved one big problem. Still, you’ll break that larger problem down into several individual problems that each had a solution you discovered. Each of those solutions has a list of features, which are the attributes and aspects that your solution provides. And each of those features has a list of benefits. Those benefits are “what you got out of that solution.”

    • Problem/Solution #1: Features, benefits, examples
    • Problem/Solution #2: Features, benefits, examples
    • Problem/Solution #3: Features, benefits, examples

For most business books and how-to books, these problem/solution sets will define your chapters. Collect your problems, solutions, features, and benefits into one document.



Your job is to present your solutions in a way that readers can follow and apply them, which means you can’t tell them what to do. You must show them how you solved a particular problem or helped someone else to solve it.

3. Write Your Nonfiction Book Without Ruts

With your BookMAPs in place, you know what you’re going to write. Now you just have to do it.

To become a published author, you must set aside time to write your book. Whether you can work on it every day or once a week, make sure you reserve this time for yourself and commit to it. This is probably the hardest step for all of our writers. We all lead busy lives but to accomplish this goal, you need to do whatever you have to do to concentrate and write.

Also, don’t double-back and try to refine what you’ve written. It’s too early to determine what you’re going to keep and what you’re going to throw away. This becomes a distraction. The first draft will not be perfect, but it does have to be complete.
Write the book and be prepared to fix it later.


ASSIGNMENT: Schedule time on your calendar to write for at least the first month (further if you can). Write your first draft, one chapter at a time, from beginning to end.

Life is busy, and time is precious. Put that little voice that whispers sweet defeat in your ears in its place. Tell it you ARE going to do this; you DO have enough time. This is a challenge, but you’re up to it.

4. Rewrite Your Nonfiction Book: Polish and Perfect

You’re in the homestretch. You’ve created your Purpose Statement, created your BookMaps, and you’ve taken time to write your book. Now, go back through the entire book and see what you need to do to make every line work and every word sing. This takes time, so don’t rush the process. But as you edit, polish and perfect, ask yourself:

  • Does this address my audience?
  • Does this help my audience take action that will produce their desired result?

If the answer is no, no matter how much you love it, cut it. Your first draft was for you. You had to get it all on paper. But this draft is for your audience. They need to be able to read without confusion and want to continue reading as they are moved by your message. This draft will make a difference in people’s lives.


ASSIGNMENT: Go back to the beginning and work through your book line by line. Edit/remove what does not need to be there, no matter how much you love it. Keep the book on-point and in your voice.

That’s It! You’ve Written a Book

Four Steps to Writing a Book

Once you’ve polished and perfected, you will have developed, organized, written, and polished a manuscript. You will have written your book! Is that really all there is to it? Four steps to book-writing success? Yes and no. Most writers will need some help writing their books, seeing it through, and finding a professional editor.

Who Edits My Nonfiction Book?

No matter how well-written you feel your book is, it will need a second set of eyes. This is when you hire a professional book editor. Not a college student or someone you work with or a family member. A professional who edits books for a living. If you’re not a very strong writer, your editor will be worth his or her weight in gold. The professional who edits your nonfiction book will help you keep your voice but fix your mistakes.

Don’t think you can bypass this critical step when writing your book. Once it is published, your reputation is on the line, and if you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field, increase your credibility, and attract a following, you must use a professional book editor.

If you choose to work with The Book Professor, we edit it for you.

How Long Does It Take to Write a Book?

Writing a book takes a long time, approximately forty-eight weeks. And this estimation is how long it takes with a writing coach. Going it alone, writing your nonfiction book can take years, and like so many of our now-published authors, may never come to fruition without coaching.

Even with the best intentions, self-imposed book-writing deadlines, and all the desire in the world, writing a book and seeing it published can be extremely frustrating, leaving you to feel like it will never happen. By contrast, when you engage a Book Professor writing coach, participate in a book writing Mastermind Group, or enroll in a self-directed book course, the process moves swiftly along for about a year, with deadlines and accountability until you see a finished manuscript.

Even though it takes a year to finish your nonfiction book, the time goes by fast, and since our programs move you along with accountability, you’re never sitting idle waiting to do the next thing. You’ll be writing like a pro in no time, one day closer to seeing your name on a published book.

How Do I Get Help Writing a Book?

There’s more to a book than just writing. Your book should be visually appealing, grammatically correct, compelling to read, action-oriented, and inspiring. That’s a hard thing to achieve all on your own. The Book Professor is here to help with the entire process of writing your nonfiction book.

Once you start planning and writing on your own, just like our published clients, you will find it doesn’t make sense to work through it alone. Hiring a book writing coach with the best writing tips and tools, such as how to use sensory language, how to choose the best point of view (POV), and the secret to a finished nonfiction book – the time-blocking technique – will not only get you to the finish line, it will help you produce a book of which you can be proud.

The Book Professor guides you through every step of the process and provides a lot of big-picture editing. We help you write your dream book, from planning to publishing, and we’re here along the way when you get lost and don’t know what to do next.

Writing a nonfiction book

Nancy was truly my BOOK PROFESSOR! She served too many roles to count, from editor and book coach, to teacher and drill sergeant, to publisher and cheerleader. I could not have done this without her! Thanks for guiding me every step of the way.

Joe Fingerhut
Speaker and Author of Permission to Play: How Teens Can Build a Life That is Fun, Fulfilling, and Promising

Further, we ensure your book’s cover and layout are professional and inviting. These elements are essential to your reader’s experience, too. There’s a tangible difference between a professionally designed book and a printed Word document. When it is done correctly and beautifully, you will earn an extra degree of credibility.

Our step-by-step process leads you from your initial concept to a finished manuscript, to a professional book published by our sister company, Stonebrook Publishing.

How Much Does a Book Writing Coach Cost?

Afraid you can’t afford a writing coach? The Book Professor’s nonfiction book-writing coaches offer several options to work within your budget. We also work with you how you are most comfortable, whether that’s book writing Mastermind Group coaching, personal book coaching, a self-directed book course, or small bite writing seminars.

Personal Book Coaching

Do you want to accelerate and intensify the process of writing your book? One-to-one coaching may be the option for you.

Group Book Writing Mastermind

Our most popular option. Write your book with the support of other aspiring authors in an online group program.

Self-Directed Book Course

For those with a smaller budget, you can experience our book writing and publishing class in this self-directed online course

The Best Writing Coach for Nonfiction

When you want the best nonfiction writing coach, turn to The Book Professor. Whether your book is for business or pleasure, inspirational or motivational, there are no other book-writing professionals with our proven process to help you get your book published and promoted.

In addition to a fully published book, the way we help you structure the book allows you to lift out any chapter and expand it into a workshop, seminar, keynote, podcast, vlog, or whitepaper. It’s the book that keeps giving to you and to your audience.

How to Become an Author: The Book Professor is Your Partner in Brainstorming, Writing, Editing, and Publishing Your Nonfiction Book

Nearly anyone who has lived through a problem (and figured out how to solve it) can write a book. In fact, The Book Professor’s founder and lead coach, Nancy Erickson, has written a book that’s an excellent addition to our four-step process and a fairly quick read: Stop Stalling and Start Writing: Kick the Excuses and Jumpstart Your Nonfiction Book. Now it’s time for you to do the same!

When you are ready to write your book with someone who can walk you through the process – from brainstorming, writing, and editing to publishing and promoting – a coach who will cheer you on and get you across the finish line, The Book Professor would love to work with you. Contact us today.

Additional Free Book Writing Resources

4 Different Styles of Writing for Nonfiction Books

4 Different Styles of Writing for Nonfiction Books

How to choose between different types of writing styles for your nonfiction book. Before you put pen to paper for your nonfiction book, you need to know the different styles of writing used for nonfiction and pick the style that best suits your project. When we say...

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How to Write for Men or Women (or Both!)

How to Write for Men or Women (or Both!)

Write a book that resonates with your audience, whether male or female. Many aspiring writers have questions about how to write a book for men vs. women. Should authors employ a different style or voice for men than they would for women? Will an author have more...

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