Non-fiction?

(37 Posts)
Acinonyx Fri 06-Dec-13 09:13:56

I wondered if anyone out there is also writing a non-fiction book. Alas there is no home for me so I have crept in here.

Toomuchtea Fri 06-Dec-13 15:45:08

I have written one, if that's any help! Took years, interspersed as it was with truly epic feats of prevarication.

How's yours going? Have you just started or do you have a chunk already written?

Acinonyx Fri 06-Dec-13 15:49:28

I'm just getting started. I'm working with an agent and he has suggested a different focus which <<sigh>> means reworking what I have rather a lot. So I'm hoping to submit the new version sample & plan in Jan.

Did you get published in the end? Were you pleased with it - did it sell? I have visions of dusty tomes in back rooms with maybe fewer actual readers than I have fingers....

are you doing more writing?

I'm writing a book on cycling and one on gardening (which one I add to on a particular day depends on where my inspiration lies)
I'm also writing a book of gory tales and the sequel to the ebook I self-pubbed in the summer.
Keeping busy, but life keeps getting in the way!

Acinonyx Sat 07-Dec-13 08:15:52

That does sound bus. And life certainly does keep getting in the way. I think one book at a time is more than enough for me!

Acinonyx Sat 07-Dec-13 08:16:21

busy, even <<fine writer I am>> fhmm

They're only little books, 100 chapters of 100 words, but they take a fair bit of research to get them right.
I work best with smaller chunks of varied work than bigger, more focused writing.

Acinonyx Sat 07-Dec-13 11:37:53

I think one of the pitfalls of non-fiction can be getting stuck on the research rather than the writing. I know I find that happening. At some point you have to stop making notes and get on with it.

Toomuchtea Sat 07-Dec-13 13:06:59

I was lucky, because the publisher approached me, and that's how it was published. Yes, I was pleased with it in the end, because I had a brilliant editor, and I learned a lot. It's sold (for what it is, because it's not hugely cheap) pretty well, though I will never make my fortune from it as the book is nothing if not niche.

You are absolutely right that the pitfall with non fic is the research. I love research. Never happier than when doing it, and it's so easy to tell yourself that this particular avenue is UTTERLY fascinating, and everyone else will find it as fascinating as you do. Which they might, were it not for the fact you've already done this a few times, and got a few past your editor, but you're already up to the word limit....

They didn't give me a deadline, which was a problem as I work much better with them. In the end I set myself one by announcing what I was doing online and then I had to finish it.

I am still writing. I've written a bit of fiction, which I'm meeting a publisher about over Christmas. Would really love to do another non fic thing, but the problem is working out what to do. And also getting over my utter terror of getting out there and getting an agent.

Brilliant that you have an agent. Did you approach them with an idea?

Toomuchtea Sat 07-Dec-13 13:09:00

Don't worry about re-working. I had to do this when I was about a third of the way through, and the book was a lot better for it. I'd done an initial plan which editor and publisher were happy with, but when it came to writing it, it just didn't work. It was a pain in some ways because I had to junk a load of stuff I'd already written, but it did live again in blog posts I did as publicity for the book. So all is not necessarily lost.

Acinonyx Sat 07-Dec-13 13:16:55

My topic is usually quite niche too and the challenge is to make it a bit less niche - otherwise who's going to buy it and keep me in printer ink? It's so time consuming it's only fair to the family that it makes a minimum amount (thinking small potatoes though) otherwise I might be compelled to get a proper boring job

I do love the research - but people don't buy your research and that part can easily go on indefinitely. Sticking to the Actual Topic is another pitfall.

I did approach the agent myself - I researched that carefully and chose one that focuses on this kind of nf.

I've got quite a few parts of fiction in folders and drawers fhmm. I thought the nf might be something I would find easier to actually finish (hopefully).

Is your fiction with a different publisher - how did you connect with them?

Acinonyx Sat 07-Dec-13 13:19:20

Ah yes - I'm already looking at recycling the now sadly redundant first chapter as blog posts. What platform did you use to blog for the book and when did that start? I currently blog on a related topic with an official site but I wouldn't say I have a massive readership!

Toomuchtea Sat 07-Dec-13 15:09:33

Yes, the fiction's with a different publisher who I already knew having done some introductions and other pieces for them.

I already had a blog, so did have a readership, though I wouldn't say it was vast! I do also use Facebook, which is very handy for things like asking people to come up with useful quotations for chapter titles, and have a website too (any more info and I will out myself!) I am not the greatest at using Twitter, but there are plenty of people on here who are brilliant at it. Facebook I find useful as I publish odd snippets of research, and it all gains readers.

Acinonyx Sat 07-Dec-13 15:59:44

I am absolutely hopeless with social media. I'm not on FB and never use my twitter account. I've been looking into it all fhmm I'm going to have get with it at some point.

Toomuchtea Sat 07-Dec-13 17:46:28

I'm not a natural. I am an introvert. I don't do chat. Facebook I find easier as I can put something out there and then people comment on it and chat amongst themselves, and it doesn't need ME ME ME to be there. Twitter you have to do it. No one else can do it for you. I find it really, really hard.

Acinonyx Mon 09-Dec-13 08:46:25

I think eventually I will just have to choose one medium and get to grips with it. I don't think it will be twitter - I just don't get twitter at all. I gather that all authors are expected to maintain a social media presence these days <<heavy sigh>>. Gone are the days when you could hide away behind a pseudonym and not deal with any of it.

Toomuchtea Mon 09-Dec-13 16:01:29

Yes, I know. I am much happier hiding but I have to get out there. It's not that I'm short on opinions - as my nearest and dearest will tell you, I'm anything but, I just don't want to share them with the world.

Hey ho. Back to ferreting through war time stuff.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 09-Dec-13 16:57:41

You don't have to be opinionated on Twitter. Just retweet the odd interesting thing, have some pleasant chats to friends (either real or online ones) and reply politely to anyone who tweets at you personally, and you'll be fine.
I think a lot of writers do it in a very low-key way but they still benefit a lot from it - you don't have to be constantly self-promoting and have 50000 followers for it to be worth it.

Acinonyx Mon 09-Dec-13 21:03:01

Ah yes, I'm not short of opinions myself fwink

I will wait until further along the road before really committing to Twitter as I think that's going to be a tough one for me to get the hang of.

Is your FB page just for your writing-related persona or is it normal FB stuff combined?

Toomuchtea Tue 10-Dec-13 08:37:39

I have a personal FB page, and a writing related one. I try and put something up once a day on the writing related one.

As for Twitter a friend who is a Twitter whizz has a good tip. Organise people into lists, and then you can just look at the people in those lists. Saves masses of time and filters out the crud.

BitScary Tue 10-Dec-13 11:08:25

I'm not using either FB or Twitter at the moment confused. I know that I Should Be. I was on FB for about 2 years in the past and I honestly think it wasn't good for my mental health. I found it very addictive but at the same time it was making me miserable and I wasn't writing anything. I thought I'd get on better with Twitter but then all of that rape threat stuff started happening (not to me) and I was just like, I cannot spend all day in this state of rage, I just can't! So I left Twitter too.

Sometimes I feel that social media has a detrimental effect on writers' voices. I feel that everyone adopts the same voice on Twitter and Facebook and it puzzles me. I'm just crap at playing the game though.

I do have my own website, it's fairly new but I'm hoping to put a bit more work into it as the weeks go on. I feel more comfortable with that.

OP a close writer friend of mine has just published a non-fiction book. It's been a long road for her but the end result is a gorgeous book that's a pleasure to read. Niche, obviously, but still a pleasure!

BitScary Tue 10-Dec-13 11:14:23

Argh. Just read over what I posted and I didn't mean for it to sound so supercilious. Don't want to be an anti-social media bore. I think it takes real skill to have the discipline to be able to take control of the necessary self-promotion that comes with being a writer while also maintaining a daily writing routine. I'm really very introverted and I haven't yet perfected this skill!

It's all about the balance, isn't it.

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 10-Dec-13 12:08:07

' I feel that everyone adopts the same voice on Twitter and Facebook and it puzzles me.'

I have really noticed this on Twitter.
There's a Twitter personality revolving around childlike enthusiasm. I catch myself doing it too. People think they're being themselves but really, they're not.

Toomuchtea Tue 10-Dec-13 12:57:25

That's an excellent point, Tunip. Whether or not I'm myself on Facebook I really don't know. I suppose anyone who reads me will know my stance on various issues in my field, but as for how much anyone gathers about me, as a person, I really don't know. I do also review books in my field, and I have to be honest for that, otherwise what's the point?

As for Twitter, the fact that I don't talk much, and when I do it I say almost nothing about what's really going on in my life is I suppose a pretty fair indication!

BitScary, I don't think you came across as supercilious. I have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into social media. I don't think I've done any of the social media things I have done because I've thought, "Hey, brilliant idea! I'll do that!" It's been a case of people telling me I should.

I have a FB page for my writing persona, I use it to share stuff about what I'm writing and build a following.
I find it frustrating that my most "popular" posts are generally off-the-cuff crap,while writing I've worked hard on is seen by relatively few people.
I have a Wordpress site which drives book sales and brings a fair bit of business my way, but I don't spend time on Social Media unless I'm uninspired writing-wise.

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