How To Structure a Nonfiction Book [The Easy Way]

When you write a nonfiction book the main objective is to solve the readers problem.

So having a nice structure that can convey your message to the reader is must.

That’s why you should know how to structure a nonfiction book.

This is important so as to convey your message.

And in this post I will help you on “How to Structure a nonfiction Book”.

HOW TO STRUCTURE A NONFICTION BOOK

When I first wrote my first nonfiction eBook (Be Miserable or Motivate Yourself) my first step was to structure it properly.

“Structuring a nonfiction book means how you are presenting your information and ideology in order to achieve the result you want.”

How to Structure a Nonfiction Book?

There are numerous ways to structure a nonfiction book and you are not just bound to use only one format.

But here is some of the format used by many great writers which you can use in your nonfiction book.

1. Table of Contents

One of the best way to structure a nonfiction book is by creating a table of content and outlining everything even before you start writing your first chapter.

Your table of content will help you in planning the roadmap of your nonfiction book so you don’t have to struggle in thinking about the next chapter.

And if you find yourself deviating from the topic that you have outlined, just take a step backward and then decide whether you have decided the right topic for the book, or if one book is not enough to write down all the ideas that you think of then you should consider writing a series instead of one book.

2. Chronological Narrative

If you want to write about some historical event or some biography, then you should present the information in linear pattern, showing and relating the events in order they happened.

Chronology is great way to structure a nonfiction book.

For example if you write about “How to Publish your first eBook”, which I did, then you should include step by step procedure starting from selection of topic to marketing the book in successive chapter wise starting from selection of topic and ideas to ending with selling that book.

But in case of some topics like historical events and biography chronological narrative may seemed boring for some readers as well as some writers.

This is because when you create a character and write about him/her starting from birth to present time it can be overwhelming for some writers as well as to some readers also.

For readers it will seems like a lifetime to read it and they may find it boring.

For memoirs, a traditional story structure would be beneficial.

3. Story Structure

If you are structuring nonfiction memoirs, the classic approach of storytelling is a perfect choice.

The beginning structure of your nonfiction book should start with the problem that needs to be solved.

After that you need to explain each and every step that a reader should follow, which will ultimately solve the problem and the reader should gain some insights on how to tackle such scenario.

That should serve as the climax of the nonfiction book.

And this explains what the reader and writer learned from the book.

Story structure not only works for memoirs but can be used to structure any book.

By framing about your techniques with similar storyline, problems to be solves, steps taken, steps to avoid, how you have solved it, and what you have learned.

This will create an impact and you will create a compelling nonfiction book that your readers will love reading.

Also this type of structure in nonfiction makes user read a nonfiction book just like a novel as they can somehow relate to the event and it feels like a story and not just a mere self-help book.

4. How-To

If you just want to teach something then how-to approach is great.

Suppose if you want to teach how to Cook, then stating how to in every part is convenient.

These can be a number of short How-to in a single book.

Like including different how-to recipes in a single cook book is great. This will answer readers question on how to cook and the reader will get result after each chapter.

Similarly if you are solving single-single problem under one book then this structure is a better choice.

5. List/Survey

When you are sharing a broad topic which covers many examples of one kind of thing, then you should consider structuring your nonfiction book through lists and surveys.

Usually a list contains some of the top points under a single topic which can either be explained later in the upcoming chapters.

A list can be examples that you want to share with your readers or can be some of the real life case studies that will benefit them in understanding the book.

Similarly you can add surveys under a single topic to make your reader understand each topic in detail.

6. Step-by-Step Approach

Another way to structure your nonfiction book is to use step-by-step approach.

You want to teach how to do something, so your book would educate your reader using step-by-step chapters outlining the information to be gained.

The reader can easily find their way through the book and can even use your book for future reference.

7. Topic-by-Topic

If you are writing about many individual sections that don’t make sense in the next chapter or there is no link in the upcoming chapters, then structuring your nonfiction book topic-by-topic comes handy.

By this you can write about individuals without worrying about linking it in the next chapters.

And even the readers will not be confused, if you have a lengthy book.

Some Other Examples on How to Structure a Nonfiction Book

You can also try some of these structure:

  • Ficformation (sometimes called informational fiction)
  • Explanation/Exposition
  • With Riddles
  • With Question and Answers
  • With Pictures and Art
  • Character Worksheet

Reader Experience

Whatever structure you choose to format your nonfiction book but take your reader’s experience as your first priority.

Do not confuse your reader, or in most cases, Misguide.

A reader should get good reading experience.

A nonfiction book should solve the purpose for which readers have bought it.

“Don't Sell the Book, Sell the Purpose.”Click To Tweet

Your nonfiction book can do its magic only if it servers the purpose for which it had been written, else no matter how much you try to push it, it will not work at all.

You may like to read: Beginner’s Guide to Publish Ebook on Amazon [Kindle]

My Final take on “How to Structure a Nonfiction Book?”

Writing a nonfiction book is challenging, unlike fiction books which mostly requires only imagination, the nonfiction book can be difficult as the writer have to include proper information on the chosen topic.

Every examples, every word, has to be included with proper explaination.

So by developing the structure of nonfiction book before you write, you can make sure to organize your voice and words carefully and can write in a more focused way without hampering readers’ experience.

If you have any question on “How to structure a nonfiction Book”, do ask them in the comment section. I will answer them as soon as possible.

And if this post helped you in any sense feel free to share with people who wants this information.

Cheers,
Shadab Alam

Shadab Alam Sign

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One Response

  1. Ryan Biddulph October 21, 2018

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