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You think that reading books expands your mind? Just wait 'til you write your first nonfiction book ... and the second ... and the third... -David L. Heiserman, Author

The primary purpose of a piece of nonfiction, such as a magazine article, book, newspaper column, or blog, is to inform the reader if certain facts. Technical manuals and scholarly works are examples of pure nonfictionthey include facts and only facts. In the case of scholarly works, the facts are supported by authoritative sources and more facts. The requirements for pure facts and  references are relaxed for the popular nonfiction genre. This genre is intended for the general public and lesser academic types. Virtually all well-prepared nonfiction books, articles, and blogs are examples of popular nonfiction, and the market for freelance authors is huge and insatiable.

This department is not about popular nonfiction as a literary genre. It is about learning to research and write nonfiction material for outlets such as blogs, magazine articles, and books. The career emphasis is upon freelance writing. More...

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  • Freelance Writing

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    Staffer or Freelancer

    There are two distinctly different approaches to building a successful career writing popular nonfiction.  The most suitable approach depends on the kind  of writing career you want to develop.

    First, there is the kind of writer who is employed by a firm that has a need for creating informal reports and documents for non-specialistsa staff writer. Staff writers often collaborate with others on an assigned project. Some do the research, some  take care of obtaining permissions and other legal documents, and others do the actual writing. The career outlook for staff nonfiction writers is very encouraging, especially in the  light of a burgeoning business of commercial online blogging. Preparation for a career as a staff writer follows the traditional lines:  grammar and composition, research methods, relevant computer skills, and so on.

    The second approach applies to individuals who want to be self employed as a freelance nonfiction writer.  At first thought, it might seem that the path for preparation would be virtually identical to that of a staff writer. This is  quite true for the essentials of grammar and composition.

    The real difference between the occupations of a staff writer and a freelance writer becomes very apparent when it is time to earn the first bit of income. Whereas the fledgling staff writer must assemble a writing portfolio and  work on perfecting all the bits and pieces of a job résumé, the path for a freelance nonfiction writer is simple in concept, but exceedingly difficult in practiceselling their nonfiction.

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    David L. Heiserman, Editor

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    Revised: June 06, 2015