Writing Your Non-Fiction Book Ã¢â‚¬â€œ The Complete Guide To becoming An Author By Trish Nicholson
Reviewed by Anne Stormont, Words with JAM
An author who practises what she preaches.
Claiming to be the complete guide to anything is a bold claim indeed. The author promises in her introduction that she will lead you Ã¢â‚¬Ëœa step at a timeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ through the whole process of producing and selling your non-fiction book.
In my opinion, the authorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s claim is valid and her promise holds true.
This guide book would work just as well for as fiction writing as it does for non-fiction. It is aimed at the complete beginner but thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s plenty that could be useful to the more experienced writer, most especially indie author-publishers.
The book is divided into three main sections Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Planning, Writing and Editing, and Publishing and Marketing. At the end there is a comprehensive list of useful websites, books and a glossary.
The advice offered is both general and specific and, indeed, as you read the book you see the author putting her that into practice.
There is genre-specific guidance Ã¢â‚¬â€œ for everything from travelogues to blogs. As Nicholson herself says thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s, Ã¢â‚¬Ëœenough scope here whether you intend to write on particle physics or brewing parsnip wineÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. And there is more general advice on editing, routes to publishing and how to sell and market your work.
The book takes you through planning, plotting, point of view Ã¢â‚¬â€œ yes these three are just as important in non-fiction as in fiction. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s advice on workspace and finding time to write. The author also covers how to carry out research, how to avoid plagiarism and explains about copyright. Again, all relevant to creators of fiction as well.
Personally speaking, I found the sections on blogging, having a website and the use of social media to be particularly useful, as was the section on routes to publishing. I also especially liked the sections on how to write blurbs of various lengths depending on their purpose, and on how to pitch your work both to publishers and readers.
Nicholson recommends that you read the book straight through and then re-read as you write. And she says that Ã¢â‚¬ËœIf you have followed each step with me so far you have achieved by now a thoroughly prepared manuscript, a decision as to how you will pursue its publication and the beginnings of an author platformÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
As I said at the start of this review, whether youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a novice or an old-hand, drawn to writing fact or made-up stuff, a prospective or actual traditionally or independently published author, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re sure to find something of use here.
I hope to have shown that this book goes beyond the mission of its title. This is an essential Ã¢â‚¬ËœHow ToÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ manual for writers of every sort.
Successful events in the UK and Netherlands in 2014:
Trish's tour of author talks and workshops - on creative writing, and starting a non-fiction book - held during September/October 2014 received an enthusiastic response from participants. She offered 8 presentations in bookshops and with writers' groups in Amsterdam, Nottingham, Manchester, Bolton, Bath and Worthing. You can read her blog posts about the workshops, and how to design your own, on her website.
I cannot praise this book highly enough.
Twenty one incredible worldwide journeys documenting travel from Greece in c400's BCE to the early 20th century Asia.
This brilliantly written and thoroughly researched book relates the enduring hardships these early intrepid travelers suffered.
In this fast moving modern age, we rarely spare a thought to the difficulties our ancestors faced when setting out to discover new horizons.
These adventurous heroes and heroines departed on journeys of discovery with seldom any idea of what lay ahead.
As an avid lover of history, this has to be the most interesting and informative book I have ever read. The author's attention to detail and her painstaking research comes through on every page.
I have no hesitation in recommending this fantastic book to readers with a love of history, and of course, travel.
by Goodreads review
It says something about the appeal of travel books and this book in particular, that while sitting in a café I had to temporarily give up my copy of Passionate Travellers to allow one of the customers to take a good look at it and note its details for ordering.
It also has to be said that given the poor quality of the paper of many large publishing house paperbacks, Passionate Travellers has the reassuring heft of something meaty between its robust pages, a quality which also appealed to the reader in the café.
The contents live up to the appearance. The approach to the 21 journeys by sectioning them into different parts of the world, combined with a very clear contents list at the beginning of the book with a summary of each chapter, makes Passionate Travellers an easy book to navigate round and easily embark on whatever adventure takes your fancy.
The scope is comprehensive, Africa, Eurasia and Scandinavia, the Mediterranean and the Middle East, Central Asia and India, South-East Asia and the Pacific, and the Americas.
This is definitely for the armchair traveller because these adventurous individuals, their characters wonderfully captured by Trish Nicholson’s writing, really put themselves through it. Part of the pleasure therefore is being plunged into a world of endurance, whether through terrain or hostile population, as well as being awestruck as the travellers were by the spectacular scenery. Many of them had little or no money, and that many did actually make it through, was truly amazing.
If you enjoy fictional adventures, then this book of real-life adventurers is just as engaging. The writing makes it clear how carefully researched Passionate Travellers has been, yet the author has breathed life into these intrepid people, just as vividly as a work of fiction.
Passionate Travellers is also a wonderful resource for writers considering historical fiction or adventure as their genre, because it provides a very reliable and competent stepping stone for further research.
The only issue I have with this book is the amount of tea and biscuits that were consumed in the reading of it. But it’s that kind of read. Something to luxuriate in while you disappear into worlds and lives which are so incredible it is difficult to grasp that they were not made up.
by Strange Alliances Blog
Recounting the story of 21 epic journeys, made by a panoply of individuals through known time, is quite a challenge. How should they be sorted? Do they share a common purpose? Can we learn from their experiences? Trish Nicholson had chosen to group the journeys according to the geographical region they visited, with each section introduced by a Perspective giving the reader a picture of the area’s context within society at the time of the travellers described. Each person had different reasons to set out; curiosity, greed, a mission, a need for challenge, but all were surprised. The sketch maps of each journey are a great asset, however knowledgeable (or not) you may be of the 21st century world.
This is a book of choices. Do you seek out the names which are familiar, such as Herodotus, Mungo Park or Robert Louis Stevenson, do you choose to follow the brave journeys of the women who endured discomfort to find new experiences or do you read from the beginning to the end? All approaches are rewarding, but I admit to skipping first to some of my favourites such as Gladys Aylward, whom I’ve admired since childhood, and Marianne North, whose accurate, beautiful drawings of plants are on show at Kew gardens. Then I discovered amazing journeys made by strangers to me. Ida Pfeiffer’s suffering in order to see most of Iceland, Stevenson’s fascinating tour of the islands of the Pacific Ocean and the anarchic Alexandra David-Neel’s determination to enter the forbidden city of Lhasa, all filled me with awe and admiration, even though many of these people would not be easy companions.
I shall be buying Passionate Travellers as a present for friends who love journeys or who find people intriguing. Its fluent prose and detailed account of the world of the past are irresistible.
Every now and then I read a book that strikes me as special and important. Earlier this year, I wrote about Ben Coates’s The Rhine in that way; now I’m writing about Trish Nicholson’s Passionate Travellers with the same feeling of ‘wow, what an incredible book.’
I was lucky enough to be asked to Beta read this collection of stories that Trish Nicholson has compiled, and as I read them, I found myself spellbound. Not only are the twenty one accounts of these individual travellers incredibly well researched and beautifully written, but they are astonishing testaments to the vision and courage of the people concerned. Dr Nicholson (for that she is) has chosen individuals throughout history whose lives were defined by their passion for travel, exploration, enquiry, collection and, in some cases, missionary work.
Even better, the list is composed of both men and women, and I have to say it was the women’s stories that interested and amazed me the most. In ages where the role of women was much more restricted in the western world than it is today, these driven and remarkable ladies set off on adventures that most of us today would hesitate to do, and without any of the comforts that we can rely on now. The hardships they endured are mind boggling; that along with the illness, natural disasters, wildlife hazards and horrible living conditions.
For anyone interested in both armchair travel and history, this book is a must read. It is also inspiring and shows us that while we think the world today is a dangerous place, there have been times in history when it was even more dangerous for travellers, and yet they still did it and (most of them) survived to tell the tale.
I can honestly say this is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read, and my thanks go to Trish Nicholson for inviting me to read it. I have been enriched and enthralled by these stories.
by Valerie P
I didn't realize that this book was of a more historical bent. It seemed to be well researched with some interesting ancedotes. I was however, expecting something a bit more contemporary so it would be good to know that this is more literary than mainstream.
A fascinating look back in history,A book of travels of men& women who loved to seek adventure found this very interesting.
Some of the chapters are really good, while the others I thought were better off without. But the stories I felt were like the tips of the icebergs only; I feel like more has to be discussed about them. If you are particularly interested in a single journey in this book, you wouldn't find all the details here. But it's a good collection. An introductory reference to give you the basics.
A bit of history and a lot of travel is experienced in this collection of mini-biographies. I am not sure what I was expecting but this book did introduce some new and rather interesting characters that I would not have heard of without having read this book. I did find a few I had heard of before but not many.
What I liked:
* reading about the motivation behind the trips
* finding out about those taking the trips
* hearing about the people met and experiences had on the journeys
* wondering what I would have done in similar situations
* learning that Robert Louis Stevenson had tuberculosis and died so young...also intrigued by his choice of wife
* reading that travel by sea was considered medically therapeutic
* relating to the women
* gaining respect for those that made the trips and recorded them for us to read about later
* the references listed at the end
What I would have enjoyed
* photos of the people and places when possible
* A bit more about the feelings and reflections of those on the trip
To be honest, this was much more interesting than I expected, and I found a book so much more competently put together than the self-publishing house it comes from might imply. The book's aim is perfectly met, and we see through very erudite eyes quick snapshots of some notable historical journeys. We start with Africa, and already we're learning – I had heard of Mungo Park but didn't know anything of where he went and when and why, for one, and you'd probably have to be an expert to have heard of some of the pioneers of long-distance human movement in that section alone. Later on is just why Isabella Bird was the first female member of the RGS – again, another name we should know the basics behind. Famous names later include Chekhov struggling just to go to a prison island, Robert Louis Stevenson 'doing a Gauguin' (my words), and Montaigne with his itchy feet (well, bedbugs were everywhere).
But the book is able to cover many female travels, too – Iceland, and the freshly-built Trans-Siberian Railway are just some of the places they reach. The scope of it all is suitably global, both in areas travelled to and places our subjects arose from. It's all presented with much authority, and an expert eye in giving the average browser like me just enough information. Only a few sections of copious tribes combatting each other as the traveller tried to pass through tended to overwhelm with minutiae. If anything I would have changed the structure of the volume – it doesn't always seem to match like with like (a trek through the ex-Soviet Stans is not anywhere near the 'Central Asia' chapter) – but it's still really good. For a nice few evenings it made me a fan of armchair historical travel. Four and a half stars.
In Passionate Travellers, Trish Nicholson provides accounts of 21 journeys made throughout the world.
Starting with Herodotus in around 428 BCE, the timeline goes up to Gladys Aylward's journey across Russia to China that ended in 1933.
The motivations behind those journeys are varied and were undertaken by those with disparate backgrounds. These included amongst others a pilgrim, writer, slave, artist and missionary.
Some like Robert Louis Stevenson and Anton Chekhov are well known, but others, although famous in their day, are now entirely forgotten.
The book is divided into geographical areas. Africa, Eurasia and Scandinavia, Mediterranean and the Middle East, Central Asia and India, South East Asia and the Pacific, concluding with the Americas.
Each journey's narrative is accompanied by a map and there are full biographical details of the traveller.
It is interesting to see that despite the obstacles placed by society, 8 out of the 21 journeys were undertaken by women.
One not only learns of fascinating personal stories here, but also the history of the period and the geography of the region.
I found this an interesting and informative read and would recommend this to those who have an interest in travel and history.
by G Heard
About the author:
Trish Nicholson is a writer of narrative (creative) non-fiction and prize-winning short stories. Her writing career spans thirty years as columnist, feature writer for national media in the UK and Australia, and author. She is also a social anthropologist and keen photographer who has worked or travelled in over 20 countries, including extensive treks in Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. She achieved an MA degree in anthropology at Durham University in the UK, and in 1991, while working in Papua New Guinea, she gained an MSc in rural development through the University of London. In 1997 she was awarded a PhD from the University of the Philippines for her research on culture and tourism.
Writing has always been an important part of her life. Her published work includes books on management, applied anthropology, responsible tourism, travelogues, popular science, and writing craft. Trish also has a passion for storytelling. Several of her short stories have won prizes in international competitions and been published in anthologies.
Starting with a career in regional government in the UK and Europe, where she was also a tutor for the Open University and, later, the Open Business School, Trish moved into management development and consultancy before taking her skills overseas. After 5 years working in the West Sepik province of Papua New Guinea on a World Bank Development project, she spent 3 years as the Director of Voluntary Service Overseas in the Philippines. For a further 4 years she researched indigenous communities in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Australia with a grant from the UK Department for International Development.
Now settled in New Zealand and writing full-time, Trish combines her passions for anthropology, stories, travel and photography by writing creative non-fiction. What she describes as: Ã¢â‚¬Å“professional research and experience narrated by a storyteller, whispering in the readerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ear as they walk beside me.Ã¢â‚¬Â
She enjoys encouraging others to write their stories and share their experience and skills, which is the reason she wrote Writing Your Nonfiction Book. Her motto is: Ã¢â‚¬ËœWhatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ (Attributed to Goethe).
You can follow her on Twitter as @trishanicholson and visit her website Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and her Treehouse Ã¢â‚¬â€œ at Trish NicholsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Words in the Treehouse: