Sign up to the newsletter

Writing non-fiction

Whether you're a first-time writer or a seasoned novelist, writing non-fiction requires a different style and a different submission package. In this section, you will find advice on creating a non-fiction book that will appeal to agents and readers alike.

7 Tips on Breaking into the Health and Wellness Market

In this extract from the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook best-selling health writer Anita Bean offers advice on how to find success in the popular and fast-moving health and wellness market...

1. Identify a gap in the market

Read, read, read – find out what’s new and emerging. Research what’s …

Read more

A Guide to Writing a Musical

Perfect Pitch Award Chris Bush and Matt Winkworth

Playwright and lyricist Chris Bush and composer Matt Winkworth, winners of the 2013/14 Perfect Pitch Award for musical theatre writing, offer a guide to writing a musical.

Be prepared to really collaborate:

All theatre is intensely collaborative, but musicals are especially so. You will be one part …

Read more

Five Tips to Get Started on Your Memoir

1. Find your story

There’s a key difference between memoir and autobiography: Memoirs tell the story of a certain period of life – not one’s full life story. What that means is, in memoir the interesting thing is the subject matter, not the person. One’s life story is only remotely …

Read more

Food-Writing For Beginners

A good place to start at is always the beginning. Food-books are either:

  • Practical Step-by-step garage-manuals or gastronomic bibles
  • Romantic Anything that includes an authorial voice
  • Historical Reprints of hallowed texts, serious food-studies with bibliography and footnotes

Now we've …

Read more

How To Write About Real-Life Adventures

Ian Stephen

Author Ian Stephen looks at the process of bringing real-life adventures to the page...

Since about 2002, I've been sailing through stories. On purpose. Mostly. My proposal, which has now become a book, begun with the simple idea of navigating my own vessel through the sea-routes suggested by some …

Read more

How to Write an Album Review

Ally-Jane Grossan, co-editor of How to Write About Music, shares advice on the art of writing an album review – including tips from the experts and an exercise to help you construct your own. 

Music writing is something that cannot be taught, so in a sense editing a book called How to Write …

Read more

Long Form Sports Writing

Matt Thacker

It’s not writing a blog, nor is it embarking on a book. It’s having an idea and developing it, seeing where it goes and then finding a home for the finished article. Matt Thacker, managing editor of the Wisden Cricket Quarterly, the Nightwatchman, on long form sports writing.

It’s never been …

Read more

My Family and Other Characters

Abbie Ross

‘I don’t remember being topless for your entire childhood my love, but if it helps to sell books…’  

That was my mother’s first comment when she read my memoir ‘Hippy Dinners.’ 

She was right of course; she remained fully clothed for whole days of my childhood; it’s just …

Read more

Non-Fiction Like a Brick

Nicole Walker

Sometimes, when you’re writing, you feel you’re beating your head against a wall. That’s not only an appropriate metaphor—it’s part of the point and part of the fun.  This is not to say writing is exclusively a masochistic endeavour. Why do it if it’s only painful? But the …

Read more

Playing by different rules: non-fiction writing

I wanted to explain that the rules are different for when I decide to take on a non-fiction project than they are for fiction.

For fiction, it’s largely down to personal taste and interest, I think. In non-fiction, it’s more clear-cut to determine if there is a niche for a subject, if …

Read more

Screenwriting: lesson one

Paul Gulino

The most fundamental lesson to learn about screenwriting is that, as a writer, you are playing a game with your audience. If you’re going to find success in screenwriting, it is therefore necessary to understand how audiences work—and by audience here I mean reader. And not reader in the sense …

Read more

Sifting Through The Digital Archives

When it came to writing his biography of the novelist Beryl Bainbridge, Brendan King decided early on to adopt a wholly digital approach. Here, the author of Beryl Bainbridge: Love By All Sorts of Means describes some of the challenges faced by the digital biographer. 

Writing a biography has …

Read more

So You Want To Write A Cookery Book...

Cookery books

Wendy Hobson, an experienced writer and editor, shares her essential guide to successfully writing cookery books.

It never fails to amaze me that so many prospective authors don’t look – and I mean really look – at other books. They may browse through their favourite cookery books and drool …

Read more

Ten Tips On Writing About Sport

Half-Time by Robert Winder

No formula holds good in every case; there are as many exceptions as rules. George Plimpton seemed to be on to something when he claimed that the smaller the ball, the better the book (golf being more productive of literature, he thought, than football). But if this were true there would be great …

Read more

Tips For Marketing Your Memoir

Unless you’re Barack Obama or Steve Jobs, marketing a memoir can seem like an impossible task. People buy memoirs because they want to know more about the person who wrote it, so what is going to make people want to buy yours?

It’s not unheard of to successfully publish a memoir as an unknown or …

Read more

Tips for your Specialist Non-fiction Proposal

Like any other product, your content has to satisfy a market need. So your non-fiction proposal should begin by addressing this, as it is the first thing your editor will look for.

Explain what is driving the demand for this type of information and how your content meets the need. It could …

Read more

What's different about non-fiction

So far my posts haven't really distinguished between fiction and non-fiction, but there are some things you could do differently if you are submitting a non-fiction text. You can, of course, simply send in the first three chapters and a synopsis – but there is scope for much more.

Whereas …

Read more

Why We Must Celebrate Sports Writing

LSWF 2015

Sports writing, from bestselling autobiographies to important polemics, is enjoying critical and commercial success not just in the UK but internationally.  Booksellers are supporting the genre with eye-catching promotions, the review pages give much needed space to it, and literary awards …

Read more

Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal

Celia Lewis

Writing a non-fiction book is quite different from a novel and so is the process of getting it published.  The first thing to realize is that you don’t have to actually write the book until you secure a contract with a publisher.  What you do need to do is form a comprehensive plan of …

Read more

Writing For Musical Theatre

Writing for musical theatre

Pitch Perfect, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the development of musical theatre in the UK, provides us with their advice and tips for writing for musical theatre. 

How do you write a musical?

It’s probably a question that few writers have thought about. Not simply ‘how is a …

Read more