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7 Common Mistakes Made by First-Time Nonfiction Authors and How to Fix Them

Mistakes First-time Nonfiction Authors Make (Representative image)

Many first-time nonfiction authors find it very difficult to adjust to the changing demands of readers. They have difficulty in assessing how to shape the content, engage the reader, maintain a narrative drive till the end, and write with sheer confidence and authority.

Common Fears of First-Time Nonfiction Authors

Many new writers have a fear of acceptance of their content among readers, and they end up blowing up their newly written books and novels. Some of the other common fears relate to:

  • Their books get rejected by publishers or failing to catch the attention of the readers
  • Even if the authors manage to self-publish their books, it can fail to impress the public and only manage to sell a few copies of them.
  • Too much investment of time, effort, and marketing strategies are applied to publicize the book, but it fails to create the required impact in the hearts of readers.

In such cases, the authors want genuine critical feedback on their written content and tend to find out the reasons behind the failure of their books and novels.

Writing books and novels is a creative yet complex process as the writer puts in all his efforts to create logic as per the demands of the specified audience. Only a few of these first-time nonfiction writers are born geniuses who manage the get the desired response, while the majority of them fail to create the required impression in the hearts and minds of readers.

Let’s Understand The Mistakes Commonly Made

It is imperative for first-time nonfiction authors to understand the professional regime of writing nonfiction books or novels. Recommended ways on how to become an author that also a successful one depends on many factors and the main ones are:

  • To raise the stakes in your nonfiction story
  • Implement a deadline to complete the desired objective.
  • Find the relevant publishers and editors to support the authors in critically reviewing the written content
  • Understand the consequences if the book fails, or readers fail to develop their interest in the book.

List Of 7 Common Mistakes Made By First-Timers

1. Failure To Target And Understand Your Audience

The first time non-fiction author should identify the genre well and design his content according to the interest and demands of the target audience. A book that was written without being reader specific generally fails. Writers should have a specific point and topic in mind and should have the ability to write about a specific crowd, whether it is academic-based or non-fiction. 

The author must show the right kind of emotion to which readers can easily relate to. Nonfiction is more or less like fiction if it has the right story-line. The crucial three-part structure – beginning, middle, and the end, should be considered, thought over, and written well.

2. Poor Story-Telling Techniques Used

The author needs to be excessively particular about the tips and techniques used in writing nonfiction, especially about the grammar, vocabulary, language, and significant details like:

  • Authors making the mistake of using passive voice instead of active which disarray the readers
  • Framing longer sentences and bigger paragraphs, in short wordiness can create boredom among the readers and lose their interest in reading the content.
  • Poor choice of words is another factor that can affect their writing styles. Using too many flowery words or technical jargon can force the reader to leave the story mid-way and move on.
  • Repetition and reiteration of the same word or same feeling can again take the audience off-track and lose focus on the gist of the story.
  • Writing content that cannot be easily read by the targeted audience.
  • Maintaining the right tonality and style of writing or indulging in a negative approach towards writing can put the reader off.

3. Not Designing The Beginning And The Conclusion Well

Whether it is drafting an autobiography, a historical explanation, or a romantic story, the beginning and the ending should be the most crucial areas of the story. There are many times when the starting of the novel is so intriguing and interesting that the reader gets engrossed in finding out the end soon. 

The end should be so capturing that it leaves a momentous mark on the reader’s memory. Starting with a flashback can be a good idea. 

The author can also rearrange matter in the end and just write in a flow. The content, title, cover of the book, and name recognition needs to hook the reader.     

4. Not Finalizing On a Professional Editor And Publisher

Editing is one of the most important tasks which need to be complete after drafting a nonfiction piece of writing. Critical feedback and a thorough check and monitoring of the writing, including linguistics and cognizant behavior of the author, needs to be determined and analyzed. 

Appropriate changes made by the editor will create a niche for the author and give him a better perspective on his own written content. Yes, getting a revision from an editor can be de-motivating and devastating for a new writer, but it is mandatory for him to enhance his skills. Also, finalizing a publisher convincing him with his written content is equally important.

5. Not Following a Specific Genre, Plot or Style

Many non-fiction writers mix too many genres in one story, and this can confuse the audience. The specific plot and story without going off the track and having distracted interference of other stories within its regime are highly recommended. It is imperative to describe the genre and plot through its characters, language, body language, and actions.

6. Telling Rather Than Showing

One of the biggest mistakes that first-time nonfiction writers make is explaining a lot of details, not trusting the reader enough to comprehend hidden and implied content. The nonfiction writers need to show their story rather than use many words to tell it. 

There should be an opportunity to fill in the spaces with imagination and assumptions rather than making it too explicit. Dialogues, language, and information must be used to impart appropriate information and story-line to the readers. It should be believable and natural.

7. Avoid Wordiness

Avoiding too many complicated words, language, and styles is the need of the hour. The accuracy revolving around the ethos of writing non-fiction should be thoroughly researched and followed. The new author needs to understand the elements of how to write a non-fiction book:

  • The first step is to work on the plot and genre of the story. The sequence of events and the story-line should be well frame and properly designed.
  • The second step is to describe the setting of the right time, mood, pace, tone, and place of the story to intrigue the readers.
  • The building of characters is a crucial step that takes the story further as these take the events of the story forward.
  • To diligently work on the conflict, humor, theme, and writing style of the book, giving it a shape that keeps the audience engaged.

Conclusion

Writing a great non-fiction book or novel is not as difficult as it sounds. The author needs to keep his tone, imagination, creativity, and genre alive and keep the readers engrossed in his content. If a first-time writer eliminates the above-mentioned mistakes, he can create a historical manuscript that people would love to read and recommend.

Also read: Are You Writing Your First Novel? Here Are The Five Tips That Can Help

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