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    Create a Good Reader Experience With Your Nonfiction Book

    If you spend any time in the tech world you have no doubt bumped into discussions about the importance of the user experience. If you are writing a nonfiction book you would benefit from some similar thinking about the kind of reader experience your book will produce.

    Courtesy of Spirit-Fire under Creative Commons

    Begin by thinking about the audience you want to reach. Will your readers be looking for an introductory overview of the subject or a focused technical analysis of a specific aspect of it?

    If you are writing a biography will it be for a popular audience or an academic one? In the first case you may want to employ the more literary techniques of creative nonfiction to engage your readers. In the second your readers will expect more of a monograph with things like a review of what other authors have said about your subject, careful documentation, footnoting, appendices and sourcing.

    Suppose you are writing a book on investing. Will it be an introductory book for people new to the subject or a more technical book for experienced investors? In one you will want to create a breezy survey a la Investing for Dummies. That approach won’t work so well if you are discussing the best way an investor can do technical analysis of stocks.

    Think also about how your prospective reader will use your book. Is it intended to be used as a reference? If so, a good an extensive resource list, a glossary and a thorough index will be important. If it’s a how-to book illustrations, graphics, charts, checklists may be essential elements.  

    If you take the time to understand your readers and what they will want to get out of your book before you begin writing you can choose the writing style and features to assure that your book will give them exactly what they want.

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