Most people equate writing a book with writing a novel, which is a fiction story but this is not the case today as there is a very big market for non-fiction books as well. Cookbooks, how-to books, motivational books and biographies are all examples of non-fiction books that sell very well and are often self-published. In order to get a book published by mainstream press that is non-fiction, you have to have a well known name or a very unique idea. You also need to be extremely lucky as there is heavy competition in the mainstream press for authors, especially those unknown.
Fiction books tell a story and have a conflict and resolution. Non-fiction books do not follow along the same lines. There is no conflict in writing a cookbook, for example. If you are writing a non-fiction book, you need to do heavy research and be very well versed on the topic of which you are writing. You should also have an angle to your book that makes it unique from others. Motivational books are a good example as there are many of them on the market at the moment. However, the question is, what can you do to make your book different? One example of a different type of motivational book is the Law of Attraction series of books. This took an old idea, put a new spin on it and created a series of very successful motivational books.
Biographies do not always have to be about famous people. You can write a biography about anyone who has led an extraordinary life or influenced many people. Cleverly crafted biographies about ordinary people who prove to be inspirational to others are very popular today. You will of course need to have permission from the person about whom you are writing or their estate in order to write a good biography. There have been unauthorized biographies that have made a sensation, but still required the person to do a lot of research on the subject, although they are not given the same amount of respect as biographies that are done with the consent of the author. You also risk running into a lawsuit, such as is the case with Kitty Kelley who wrote a slew of unauthorized biographies about famous people and ended up being sued by the late Frank Sinatra.
Cookbooks are very popular, especially when it comes to self-published books. Your cookbook needs to have something different, a unique angle, in order to sell. Why would anyone buy your book of French recipes when they can get the same from Julia Child’s cookbooks? One way to make yours unique is to add a bit of the French countryside and perhaps some fiction in with the recipes. This will prove to be entertaining to the reader as well as informational. If you are going to write a novel, then you will need to prepare your outline. Your novel should be of a genre that you like and most of all, something that you would buy yourself if it was available in the bookstore. You can put a lot of creative passion in your novel and turn it into something that will stand out. Whether you write fiction or non-fiction is up to you. If you have a lot of creative energy and can make up plots and characters in your head, fiction writing may be for you. If you consider yourself an expert in a certain field, non-fiction writing may be better.