Series Writing: Non-Fiction Topics - article

If you have broad experience and knowledge of a topic you can leverage that as a book. But don’t stop with just one book. Write multiple books – a series even. And then, use that to expand into other areas. Here are some key reasons to consider this approach.

Depth of Knowledge
If you are an expert in something, your knowledge on that “something” is likely more than what could fit in one focused book. Write multiple books. Start with an overview topic, then drill down into the details with follow on books, for example. Or write the same format of book for multiple topics (like the “idiot’s guide to…” or “…for dummies” series). It will help you better serve your audience by offering well structured series that helps them target their reading and learning. It will also help you create a definitive brand and a bigger revenue stream.

Create a brand
When selling expertise, it’s always a good idea to create a brand, a recognizable presence in the field of your expertise. If you can successfully establish yourself as “the” expert, the go-to gal or guy in a given field, success is likely. Make sure people know you and your expertise. Be visible. It makes it that much easier to market anything related to your area of expertise, including books. Take the popular Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books. It’s a wildly popular series but the authors didn’t stop with a book. They’ve expanded their brand by adding their name to a line of dog food! Some other notable series would be the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus franchise and the how-to series “For Dummies.” Scholars, too, can become brands, as Civil War historians like Avery Craven and David Donald can attest. Brand creation is the key to marketing success. Once you build a brand for yourself (it’s how people recognize you and your product) you can build brand loyalty by creating quality products and a stellar reputation. If you constantly deliver what people want, exceeding their expectations, they’ll come back and buy more. Think about it… most of us regularly use the same gas station, buy the same soda, support the same sports team, and frequent the same restaurants… over and over again. A key component of marketing your expertise is to build a brand around it.

But is it all about marketing?
Yes, it is. If you are writing non-fiction that you intend to sell, especially with how-to or expertise-based books, you should market your expertise as a key element of your brand. Whether you are a scholar writing about the history or Renaissance art or a genius project manager writing for corporate America, establishing yourself as an expert adds to your personal brand and makes it easier to sell that expertise. But people must know who you are and see evidence of that expertise. Create a blog, a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. Grow your audience and then share information about your topic… create a white paper, draft a learning guide, and write a book.

Expand Revenues
A book series can generate additional revenue. Why write one 4,000-page history of man when you can write and sell four 1,000-page volumes? Why spend all that time building an audience, a website, a twitter following… just to sell ONE book. Leverage that marketing effort and sell multiple books to people who have already expressed an interest in the first one. Then, sell ancillary products and services like workbooks, eBooks, audio books, DVD courses, and more. Then, create and sell seminars and workshops… and sell your other products during these workshops & seminars. The revenue stream can be endless.

So don’t limit yourself to one book. Think bigger. Dig deeper. Your audience will thank you.

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  • Hi, I am writing a book about the concept of a Holodeck at a specification level which is non-fiction. I am saying this book will be at stage 1 of the design process which is proof of concept and it will show designs at a proof of concept level for a Holodeck from photonic circuits to theory of operation. Thus I hope if this book sells I can write a book on stage 2.... of the design process to a final edition which is a working model.

  • Sounds quiet interesting .I am currently writing a brief history of a certain Caribbean island . I was born there , the more I am doing the research the more I am realising the history of this island is quiet exciting , full of action and lots of intrigue . I believe I could , using your advice ,do a series on this island from discovery by Europeans to the present time . A book for each period . There were different colonial masters at different times in this nation's history , they would wage war against each other to gain control of this island .They were the Brits ,French ,Dutch The Italians tried but failed .What do you think ? Would books about different colonial masters be a good sell ?
  • I never wanted to become a professional in the addictions field. I am a genetic accident. That is how I got here, right in the middle of one of the most misunderstood, misconcepted, mythical, and deadly diseases known to mankind. I think that one has to have experienced the addiction crazies to truly understand, and yet there are answers to thousands of years of crazy. I call it "you have a broken brain syndrome" and you self-medicate with whatever works and discover that your life magically feels better while your "broken brain" gets worse. That "broken brain" of yours is out to destroy you! I know, it nearly got me on the "obit page" in the newspaper. I have spent the past 30 years trying to understand this "fruitcake disease" and the more I learn, the more idiotic I feel. Would this become a series of crazy books? I have written a lot of crazy stuff in the past and there is a lot more crazy to write about. Here is an example: We have 2.3 million people locked up in jails and prisons in our great nation. Of those, around 80% could be diagnosed as crazy and most have been self-medicating with something, or behaving addictively, prior to being put in the "slammer". Our wonderful American criminal justice system puts sick people in jail or in prison! Now that is crazy if not just plain dumb. From the beginnings of recorded history this sort of crazy human behavior has been going on. I suspect that this does qualify as something that could become some sort of fact-based fiction in a very crazy series. What do you think?