How Nonfiction Writers Can Connect With Readers

Writer’s Relief
3 min readAug 16

With imaginative storylines and interesting characters, fiction writers can engage their readers from the first sentence to the last. But when you’re writing nonfiction like a self-help book or an autobiography (or even creative nonfiction like a personal essay or memoir), you don’t have the same license to be flexible and inventive — you have to stick to the facts. How do you keep readers interested and turning the pages when you can’t make up mind-bending plot twists or contrive a sympathetic underdog hero? Nonfiction experts have some tips and advice to help nonfiction writers effectively connect with readers.

The Best Ways For Nonfiction Writers To Connect With Readers

Get emotional: Just like with fiction, you want to make your readers care about the people and situations you’re presenting. You can’t make up the facts of what you’re writing about, but you can control the tone of how you write. Real life is messy and emotional, and your nonfiction can reflect that. Use words and descriptions filled with imagery and personality where appropriate.

Stating a fact: Many Continental soldiers perished during the winter encampment at Valley Forge. Adding some emotion: During that bleak winter at Valley Forge, influenza and typhoid spread through the camp, killing many of the Continental soldiers already weakened by hunger and the unrelenting cold.

Include personal examples: When you’re writing nonfiction, you can include a little personal history to draw in your readers. You want your writing to have peaks and valleys of honesty and vulnerability. Save moments of intense, intimate honesty and vulnerability for the most important, impactful parts of your work so that they really hit hard.

Use real-world examples: To help readers connect more fully with experiences or information they may be unfamiliar with, draw parallels that may help them to engage more fully with your writing. Similes and metaphors are great ways to do this. You can also bring in real-life examples about the experience to provide details through a different lens.

For example: If you’re writing about the health benefits of yoga, include input from medical experts as well as some real-life examples of how people’s…

Writer’s Relief

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