What does a nonfiction writer do?

Would you make a good nonfiction writer? Take our career test and find your match with over 800 careers.

Take the free career test Learn more about the career test

What is a Nonfiction Writer?

A nonfiction writer writes about real people, events, or ideas. Nonfiction writing is based on facts, research, and observations, and it aims to inform, educate, or persuade readers about a particular topic or subject. Nonfiction writers can cover a broad range of topics, including history, science, politics, biography, memoir, and more. They use a variety of techniques, such as narrative storytelling, analysis, and argumentation, to present their ideas and engage readers.

Nonfiction writers typically have a strong background in research and a keen eye for detail. They may conduct interviews, gather data, or do extensive reading to ensure the accuracy and credibility of their work. Nonfiction writing also requires a clear and concise writing style, as well as the ability to convey complex information in an understandable way. Successful nonfiction writers often have a deep passion for their subject matter and a desire to share their knowledge and insights with others.

What does a Nonfiction Writer do?

A nonfiction writer doing some research.

Nonfiction writers play a crucial role in informing, educating, and entertaining readers on a wide range of topics. They provide readers with new perspectives, challenge assumptions, and offer solutions to societal problems. Nonfiction writers also contribute to our collective knowledge and understanding, helping to shape our culture and inform our decisions.

Duties and Responsibilities
Here are some of the most important responsibilities of a nonfiction writer:

  • Research: Nonfiction writing requires extensive research to ensure accuracy and credibility. This may include reading books, articles, and other resources, as well as conducting interviews and field research.
  • Writing: The primary duty of a nonfiction writer is to create clear, concise, and informative works of nonfiction. This requires a deep understanding of the subject matter and the ability to convey complex information in an engaging and accessible way.
  • Editing and revising: Once a draft of the work is complete, the writer must edit and revise their work to ensure it is polished, error-free, and engaging. This requires a critical eye for detail and an ability to accept and implement feedback from editors and other sources.
  • Marketing and promotion: A nonfiction writer must also be able to market and promote their work to potential readers. This may include creating a website or social media presence, attending book signings and other events, and building relationships with reviewers, book clubs, and other influencers in the industry.
  • Networking: In addition to promoting their work, a nonfiction writer must also network with other writers, editors, publishers, and industry professionals to stay current on trends and opportunities. This can help the writer to build relationships and collaborations that can enhance their career.
  • Professional development: A nonfiction writer must also commit to ongoing professional development, including attending workshops and conferences, reading books on craft and technique, and seeking feedback from other writers and industry professionals.
  • Fact-checking: A crucial responsibility of a nonfiction writer is to fact-check all information included in their work, ensuring accuracy and avoiding errors that could undermine the credibility of the work.
  • Ethical considerations: Nonfiction writers must also consider ethical considerations, such as avoiding plagiarism and ensuring proper attribution of sources.

Types of Nonfiction Writers
There are many types of nonfiction writers, each with their own unique style and approach to writing. Here are some of the most common types of nonfiction writers and what they do:

  • Journalists: Journalists are writers who work for newspapers, magazines, or other news outlets. They are responsible for researching, reporting, and writing news stories on a variety of topics, including politics, economics, sports, and entertainment.
  • Historians: Historians write about the past, often focusing on a specific time period, event, or historical figure. They are responsible for conducting extensive research, analyzing primary sources, and presenting their findings in a clear and compelling way.
  • Travel Writers: Travel writers write about their experiences traveling to different parts of the world. They may focus on the culture, food, history, or natural beauty of the places they visit, and their writing often includes personal anecdotes and observations.
  • Memoirists: Memoirists write about their own personal experiences and memories. They often focus on a specific period of their life or a particular event, and their writing is typically very reflective and introspective.
  • Essayists: Essayists write short pieces of nonfiction on a wide range of topics. They may write about politics, culture, history, or personal experiences, among other things. Essays are often very opinionated and argumentative, and they are designed to provoke thought and discussion.
  • Biographers: Biographers write about the lives of other people. They may focus on historical figures, celebrities, or ordinary people who have led interesting lives. Biographies are often based on extensive research and interviews with the subject's friends, family members, and acquaintances.
  • Science Writers: Science writers specialize in writing about scientific topics for a general audience. They may write about recent scientific discoveries, explain complex scientific concepts in layman's terms, or explore the social and ethical implications of scientific research.
  • Self-Help Authors: Self-help authors write books and articles designed to help readers improve their lives in some way. They may offer advice on relationships, career, finances, or personal growth, among other topics.

Nonfiction writers have distinct personalities. Think you might match up? Take the free career test to find out if nonfiction writer is one of your top career matches. Take the free test now Learn more about the career test

What is the workplace of a Nonfiction Writer like?

The workplace of a nonfiction writer can vary greatly depending on the individual writer's preferences and working style. Some writers prefer to work from a home office, while others may choose to work in a library or other quiet location. Many nonfiction writers also travel extensively as part of their research process, visiting locations related to the topic they are writing about and conducting interviews with experts in the field.

When working from a home office, a nonfiction writer typically creates a dedicated workspace that is conducive to productivity. This may include a desk, comfortable chair, and other office supplies such as a computer, printer, and reference books. The writer may also use tools such as productivity software or time-management apps to help stay on track and meet deadlines.

In addition to the actual writing process, nonfiction writers also spend a significant amount of time conducting research. This may involve reading books and articles, watching videos, listening to podcasts, and conducting interviews with experts in the field. Depending on the topic, the research process may take several months or even years to complete.

Once the research is complete, the writer will begin the actual writing process, typically using a word processor or other software to create a manuscript. This process may involve several drafts and revisions, as the writer refines their ideas and clarifies their message.

Frequently Asked Questions

Writing Careers

Journalism Careers


Continue reading