Monday, 7 June 2010

Non fiction

I sometimes get asked for advice on writing non-fiction, either for the women's magazines or for a wider market. It's not my area of expertise - I have written and sold a few non-fiction articles but it's not really my thing.

Having said that, I can point those who are interested at a few blogs and magazines which are packed with good advice for non-fiction writers.

Firstly - I'd recommend subscribing to at least one of the major writing magazines. If you subscribe to Writing Magazine you will also get Writers' News each month. WM is full of useful articles for beginner and intermediate writers, and WN is full of market opportunities, so between them they cover the bases.
Writers' Forum is an excellent magazine and my current favourite, but is possibly geared a little bit more towards fiction, though they run a good feature on writing for a different market each month.
Then there's Freelance Market News, published by the Writers' Bureau, but anyone can subscribe even if you are not a WB student. As WB specialises in getting new writers published, this magazine should be spot on for the wannabe non-fiction writer (it's not one I've ever bought so I can't comment on it at first hand).
Treat yourself to a copy of either The Writers' Handbook or The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook
. These not only contain listings of magazines and newspapers, their submission requirements and addresses, but also several useful articles on different aspects of writing. They're definitely worth the money.

Blogs - take a look at Julie P's Articles Antics, Alex Gazzola's Mistakes Writers Make, and Simon Whaley's Simon Says, all of which contain lots of hints and tips for non-fiction writers.
Alex's blog includes a long post on finding markets, here.

Finally, as with all writing, study your market well before submitting. Actually, when it comes to non-fiction, you should study your market before you even write the article. Then make your pitch, and write the article when you've been commissioned.

So that'll give you a good start. If anyone has more advice or knows of other blogs worth looking at, please let me know in the comments below this post.

8 comments:

Queenie said...

Womag, thanks, that's really useful. I keep intending to have a go at non-fiction articles (I have some experience of non-fiction writing from my professional life) but finding the time is a problem. One day, though - and this post will be my first port of call.

Mistakes Writers Make said...

Thanks for the recommendation - much appreciated. There's a page on my blog devoted to finding markets - http://mistakeswritersmake.blogspot.com/p/finding-markets.html - which I hope some readers keen to venture into non-f will find useful.
Hopefully adding a review of the Writer's Handbook in the coming days.
I'm the inverse of Queenie - I keep intending one day to have a go at fiction but, yep, time is short...
Thanks again, Alex.

Lucy said...

I am a WB student and have chosen the usual non-fiction route first - and I'm really enjoying it! It's not easy but gradually you get a feel for it and there are so many markets available. I grew up wanting to be a writer, assuming that writer = novelist. But I'm finding the 'novelty' of non-fiction very compelling...and rewarding too.

womagwriter said...

Thanks Alex - I've just added a direct link to your markets post which looks to be extremely helpful!

Nan Sheppard said...

You've already given me good advice, and I'm glad I've followed it! You are a star, to share your expertise here.

womagwriter said...

You're welcome, Nan! Hope the course is going well.

L'Aussie said...

As always womag, excellent helpful advice and links. I like writing non-fiction articles and there is a large market out there...)

Simon Whaley said...

Hi Womag Writer

Thanks for mentioning my blog. I mentioned yours last night when I was talking to a local writers' group! Keep up the good work. (Jill Findlay has just emailed to say that my next story will be in The Weekly news in July - yippee!)