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5 Ideas of How to Start Your Book (Non-Fiction)

As authors, we want to start our book with the perfect slant,  an amazing beginning. “Head on” rarely works. When we begin a non-fiction book about a particular subject, we need a unique way to approach it. “Head on” may work for how-to guides because readers expect the author to immediately start talking about the topic. But even those books may grab readers’ attention better when the author shares why he or she got started in that hobby or business.

Consider whether these ideas would help you to approach your subject in a new and fresh way.

  1. Start with a personal story.

Readers want to connect with authors, and one of the best ways to begin a book is to show them why this subject is precious to you. Share a story from your own life of why you needed the material that’s in your book, and then transition into how it will help them. Include only the necessary details in your story. If you ramble, you may lose their interest.

  1. Start with a relevant story.

Do some research on your topic, and share a story that you find online or in a book from the library. Ask a friend if you can share a related story from his or her life. Remember to never share private confidences or stories you don’t have permission for.

  1. Start with an alarming statistic.

Few things jolt a reader’s attention like alarming statistics. Use reliable sources to show why the information in your book is needed in our culture today.

  1. Start with a question.

Think through the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions that relate to your topic, and pick an intriguing one. Ask a question that will help your reader relate to your topic.

  1. Start with a quote.

You can find a book of positive quotations, but it’s surprising how many websites are dedicated to sharing quotes. You may find some good quotes by searching for a particular topic, but always check out the author’s background before using his or her quote in your book.

What are some other ways that we can begin a non-fiction book? Share your ideas in the comments below, and start strong! Wow your readers from the beginning.

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4 comments

  1. This is great, Katy! It’s nice to see some helps for nonfiction writers. In my current project, each chapter is a new topic so it’s almost like a new mini-book each time. I’ve struggled with ways to vary the beginning of each one. Your ideas are helpful.

  2. Cherrilynn Bisbano - Associate Editor A3
    Cherrilynn Bisbano - Write With You: Magazine and Article Writing

    Great article. All my books are bible based with testimonies. I start each chapter with a personal or a relevant story.

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