"Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book."
~ Attributed to Marcus Tullius Cicero, 106-43 BC

"Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win."
~Jonathan Kozol

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”
~ Winston Churchill

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”
~ Oscar Wilde

"It's a very excruciating life facing that blank piece of paper every day and having to reach up somewhere into the clouds and bring something down out of them."
~Truman Capote

“With the Internet, nothing is ever lost. That’s the good news, and that’s the bad news.”
~ Wendy Lesser, publisher of The Threepenny Review, quoted by David Streitfield in "Bargain Hunting for Books, and Feeling Sheepish About It" (The New York Times)

"There is in every human countenance either a history or a prophecy."
~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.”
~attributed to Michelangelo Buonarroti

"An essayist is a lucky person who has found a way to discourse without being interrupted."
~ Charles Poore

"I see no reason why the word [literature] should always be confined to writers of fiction and poetry while the rest of us are lumped together under that despicable term 'nonfiction' -- as if we were some sort of remainder. I do not feel like a Non-something; I feel quite specific. I wish I could think of a name in place of 'Nonfiction.' In the hope of finding an antonym I looked up 'Fiction' in Webster and found it defined as opposed to 'Fact, Truth and Reality.' I thought for a while of adopting FTR, standing for Fact, Truth, and Reality, as my new term, but it is awkward to use. 'Writers of Reality' is the nearest I can come to what I want, but I cannot very well call us 'Realtors' because that has been pre-empted -- although as a matter of fact I would like to. 'Real Estate,' when you come to think of it, is a very fine phrase and it is exactly the sphere that writers of nonfiction deal in: the real estate of man, of human conduct. I wish I could get it back from the dealers in land. Then the categories could be poets, novelists, and realtors."
~ Barbara Tuchman, as quoted in "Creating Nonfiction" by Rachel Toor, in the Chronicle of Higher Education (12/​3/​07)

"War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography." ~Ambrose Bierce

"First sentences are doors to worlds."
~ Ursula LeGuin

Quick Links

Find Authors

Nonfiction

including essays and academic (scholarly) publishing. See also Narrative Nonfiction (a/​k/​a creative or literary nonfiction) and Memoir, Biography, and Corporate History.

Academic writing and publishing
The art of nonfiction: Paris Review interviews
Books on the craft of nonfiction writing
Personal essays
Essays on modern love (the wonderful Times series)
Essay markets
Food writing

Academic writing and publishing

Academic Publishing: An Overview (Charles Henry Editing). This is as helpful a description of academic publishing (both books and journals) as anything I've seen. Here are only a couple of many points the author makes; s/​he also points out the implications of some of the changes going on, and points up some of the problems in this field--among them that three firms collect most of the profits from academic publishing, provide very little added value, and rely heavily on two virtually free inputs: the articles and the peer review process. Journal prices keep going up, library budgets keep going down, teachers depend on academic publishing to achieve tenure, and the peer review process is definitely not foolproof.
~The part of academic written output that is not formally published but merely printed up or posted on the Internet is often called the “grey literature." Most scientific and scholarly journals, and many academic and scholarly books, though not all, are based on some form of peer review or editorial refereeing to qualify texts for publication. Peer review quality and selectivity standards vary greatly from journal to journal, publisher to publisher, and field to field."
~"Currently, an important trend, particularly with respect to scholarly journals, is open access via the Internet. There are two main forms of open access: open access publishing, in which a whole journal (or book) or individual articles are made available free for all on the web by the publisher at the time of publication (sometimes, but not always, for an extra publication fee paid by the author or the author’s institution or funder); and open access self-archiving, in which authors themselves make a copy of their published articles available free for all on the web.
University Presses: Homes for Tomes (The Economist, 10-29-13) An often ignored part of the publishing industry faces unique challenges. Many university presses are under financial pressure—after all, “academic monographs are considered a splash today if they sell just 800 copies in their first year”—but they are not-for-profit arms of their universities whose job is to publish works of scholarly importance. This forces them to balance intellectual impact with commercial interest." They face the same problems as commercial publishers, such as digitization and the decline of bookstores, plus some of their own: the rising cost of scientific journals (competing for library $$), increasing scrutiny of press subsidies. "Most will survive thanks to the machinations of the university system. To win tenure, academics need to publish their research, and university presses are hungry outlets. However, no press wants to be mistaken for a vanity publisher, so most of them try to publish academics from other institutions."
the magazine argues that “the machinations of the university system” will keep many presses afloat. This is because “to win tenure, academics need to publish their research, and university presses are hungry outlets. However, no press wants to be mistaken for a vanity publisher, so most of them try to publish academics from other institutions.”
Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
Academic and Professional Publishing , ed by Robert Campbell, Ed Pentz, and Ian Borthwick (a comprehensive look at what publishers do, how they work to add value, and what the future may bring). Read this interesting review of authors' expectations for future developments (Judy Luther, Scholarly Kitchen, 3-18-13)
What Editors Want: An Author's Guide to Scientific Journal Publishing by Philippa J. Benson and Susan C. Silver (University of Chicago Press)
Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success especially for humanities and social science journals, by by Wendy Laura Belcher (University of Chicago Press)
Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers (maintained by academic librarian Jeffrey Beall. On Facebook: Beall's List of Predatory Open-Access Publishers
BibMe(a free online site for searching for bibliographic information, creating a custom bibliography, and downloading it in MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian format), dependent on Amazon's database (which might limit scholarly uses)
Editage Insights . Dr. Eddy explains the basics of publishing in English language journals, sharing knowledge he has built over years of experience as a researcher. Each week, he writes about important aspects of journal publication.
From Academia to Amazon: Is a bestseller hiding in your academic papers? (Alan Rinzler, The Book Deal,3-23-10)
Publish and Prosper Editage blog, with tips for researchers whose first language is not English but who submit their papers to journals published in English. Touches on writing (spelling, grammar, punctuation, usage, and style) and everything else relevant to publishing research papers that journal editors wish their authors knew.
The Scholarly Kitchen (blog, What's hot and cooking in scholarly publishing)
Virtual Private Library (Marcus Zillman's annotated links to competent academic and scholarly search engines and sources)
Writing History in the Digital Age (a born-digital, open-peer-reviewed volume edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki, available online here and forthcoming in print and open-access digital formats from the University of Michigan Press for the Digital Humanities Series of its digitalculturebooks imprint)
Get Together to Write (Jennifer I. Friend and Juan Carlos González, American Association of University Professors, Jan.-Feb 2009)
New Faculty Writing Groups (Billie Hara, Chronicle of Higher Education, 9-29-09)
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The Art of Nonfiction: Paris Review Interviews


Joan Didion, The Art of Nonfiction No. 1 (interviewed by Hilton Als)
Gay Talese, The Art of Nonfiction No. 2 (interviewed by Katie Roiphe)
John McPhee, The Art of Nonfiction No. 3 (interviewed by Peter Hessler)
Janet Malcolm, The Art of Nonfiction No. 4 (interviewed by Katie Roiphe)
Emmanuel Carrère, The Art of Nonfiction No. 5 (interviewed by Susannah Hunnewell)

American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA), professional association of freelance/​independent journalists and nonfiction book writers, who share info about markets, writing rates, contracts, editors, agents, etc. Members have access to samples of successful query letters and book proposals, among other resources. Non-members may attend the annual conference; there is also a more advanced day for members only.

Books on the craft of nonfiction writing

The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism , ed. Kevin Kerrane and Ben Yagoda
The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, edited with an excellent introduction by Phillip Lopate
The Elements of Story: Field Notes on Nonfiction Writing, by Francis Flaherty
Follow the Story: How to Write Successful Nonfiction by James Stewart
Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, by Janet Burroway
Intimate Journalism: The Art and Craft of Reporting Everyday Life, ed. Walt Harrington
The Making of a Story: A Norton Guide to Creative Writing, ed. Alice LaPlante (how writers create -- for serious writing students and teachers)
The Passionate, Accurate Story: Making Your Heart's Truth into Literature, by Carol Bly (excellent -- you'll have to buy used copies as it's out of print)
Writing the Personal Essay, an excellent quick guide to structuring a narrative essay, by Adair Lara (writer, teacher, writing coach, and author of Naked, Drunk, and Writing: Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay)
The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative by Vivian Gornick
Story Building: Narrative Techniques for News and Feature Writers by Ndaeyo Uko
Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers' Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University, ed. Mark Kramer, Wendy Call (an excellent guide)
Writing a Book That Makes a Difference, by Philip Gerard
Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books, by Dan Poynter (his guide to self-publishing, repackaged)
Books on the craft of narrative nonfiction.
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Essay markets

(more to come)

I haven't checked the links on these items. I listed them if the titles made sense.
Generally, publications want to see the whole essay -- queries don't make sense because "pulling it off" is more important than the idea for the essay.
Paying Markets for Personal Essays (Carol Celeste's excellent links, Writing to Heal, Writing to Grow)
Fifteen Paying Markets for Personal Essays and Life Stories (Chryselle D'Silva Dias, Writing-World.com)
Paying Personal Essay Markets (Chantal Panozzo, Writer Abroad)

Can we figure out a ‘unified theory of writing’? (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter, 7-6-12). "In a story, it’s Robert McKee’s inciting incident colliding with the safe patterns of daily life; in news, it’s a radical variation from the norm: Man bites dog."

Creating Nonfiction (Rachel Toor, Chronicle of Higher Education, 12-3-07). For more on the subject, see Narrative Nonfiction

Creating Scenes: The Yellow Test (Lee Gutkind, The Opinionator, NY Timnes 8-22-12). "Readers remember information longer — and are more likely to be persuaded by ideas and opinions — when it’s presented to them in scenes. This is why so many TV commercials are narrative."

Dictionaries, clarity, and the Supreme Court:
Skip The Legalese And Keep It Short, Justices Say (Nina Totenberg, NPR's Morning Edition, 6-13-11, audio and transcript). Worth reading for the concluding anecdote alone.
Justices Turning More Frequently to Dictionary, and Not Just for Big Words by Adam Liptak (NY Times 6-13-11).

18 strategies for brainstorming a title, an excellent guide to developing great titles, from Developmental Editing: A Handbook for Freelancers, Authors, and Publishers by Scott Norton, posted on Scrib'd

Essays on modern love

(the wonderful Times series)
The essays in the New York Times' Modern Love series are usually terrific. Check out also the Modern Love Rejects site (essays rejected by the Times). Here are some examples from Modern Love:
The Race Grows Sweeter Near Its Final Lap (Eve Pell, NY Times, 1-24-13)
A Student of Intimacy, Step by Step (Matthew Parker, 1-23-09). An ex-con learns about love.
My Husband's New Son: A Choice Not as Easy as It Looked (Lisa Schlesinger, 5-30-13)
When the Words Don't Fit (Sarah Healy, 10-27-11). On the difference between fantasy love and real love
Friends Without Benefits (Hannah Selinger, 1-10-13)
Chubby, Skinny, Accepting (Cole Kazdin, 1-3-13)
Three Mothers, One Bond (Jennifer Hauseman, 12-27-12)
After the Affair (Judy Wachs, 11-23-12)
Labels of Married Life, in a New Light (Margot Page, 1-18-13)
A Role I Was Born to Play (Evan James, 11-14-12)
Sleeping with the (Political) Enemy (Sheila Heen, 11-1-12)
A Sister’s Comfort, if Not a Cure (Tara Ebrahimi, 12-13-12, on helping a brother with mental illness)
Married, but Dancing by Myself (Teresa Link, 11-30-13, on marrying, but not for love)
We Found Our Son in the Subway (Peter Mercurio, Townies (not Modern Love, but it belongs there too)< Opinionator, 2-28-13).
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5 Questions to ask before you start to write your non-fiction book (Paul Lima, 5-26-12)'

Food writing


Jean Patterson's FAQ about food writing
Ruth Reichl, James Beard award winners cook up the future of food writing (Dawn Failik, Poynter, 5-25-11). Hear from Ruth Reichl, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl (“Being a restaurant critic in Minnesota is relentlessly local”), Holly Hughes (“I love the alternative weeklies; they still devote space to longform writing”), Jonathan Gold, Miriam Morgan, Craig LaBan (“You can’t underestimate how the change in technology has changed food writing”)
Michele Anna Jordan on Food and Food Writing (interesting Q&A on Andy Ross's Ask the Agent blog: Night Thoughts About Books and Publishing)
From Bananas to Blintzes: Writing about Diet, Nutrition and Food by Kelly James-Enger (Writing-World.com)
Advice for Future Food Writers (Amanda Hesser, Food52, 4-10-12) "Except for a very small group of people (some of whom are clinging to jobs at magazines that pay more than the magazines' business models can actually afford), it’s nearly impossible to make a living as a food writer, and I think it’s only going to get worse."
Haute Cuisine (Doug Brown, American Journalism Review, Feb/​March 2004). Food journalism, once a throwaway compendium of recipes and “what’s hot” articles, has gone upscale. Newspapers and magazines are dedicating top talent to the food beat, and they are hungry for sophisticated stories with timely angles. (This was printed in 2004)
Why newspaper food writing is bad (W. Blake Gray, The Gray Report, 11-1-11)
Is Food Writing a Dismal Way to Make a Living? (Dianne Jacob, Will Write for Food, 4-17-12)
Food for Thought (and for Publishing!) (Kavitha C. Reinhold, Chicago Women in Publishing, Feb. 2009). The Food Publishing panel comprised Carol Haddix, Chicago Tribune food editor and editor of Chicago Cooks; Doug Seibold, president of Agate Publishing, whose Surrey imprint publishes books on food, dining, and entertaining; Laura Bruzas, founder and publisher of Healthy Dining Chicago, a community education and outreach effort; and guest moderator Tom O'Brien, of O'Brien Culinary Communications and Kendall College food writing faculty.
BOOKS FOR THE FOOD WRITERS BOOKSHELF:
If you buy any books from Amazon after clicking on one of these links, we get a small commission (which helps support the site).
Recipes Into Type: A Handbook for Cookbook Writers and Editors by Joan Whitman and Dolores Simon (who was copyeditor at Harper & Row when it first started publishing the big cookbooks)
Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More by Dianne Jacob
Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots by Nicole S. Young
Plate to Pixel: Digital Food Photography & Styling by Helene Dujardin.







Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd (also good on the author-editor relationship). See The Special Relationship by Scott Stossel (WSJ book review, 1-17-13). A Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and his longtime editor offer a guide to the craft of nonfiction.

Hijacking History: SBOE Conservatives Rewrite American History Books (Brian Thevenot, The Texas Tribune, 1-12-10). A fascinating study of political influence shaping Texas social studies textbooks.


A Historian's Code by Richard W. Stewart (10-13-10)

The Historian's Gaze. Blog for the Masters Seminar in History in 2009 at Dalhousie University houses, with entries such as False Memory and Historians' Fallacies.

Interesting Nonfiction for Kids (I.N.K.). Rethinking nonfiction for kids.

Learning to Do Historical Research: A Primer for Environmental Historians and Others . William Cronon surveys essential stages of the research process and different kinds of documents that can offer information and insights about the past

Literati.net (an online community--by invitation only--of published book authors, both fiction and nonfiction)

Playing for Keeps: Intensity and Creativity in the Lyric Essay. Margaret Kimball's notes on a panel discussion at the AWP conference. Panelists: Steven Harvey, Kathryn Winograd, Robert Root (in absentia), Rebecca McClanahan (posted on Brevity's blog)

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. The key elements of a sticky idea, they write, are simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories. Practical strategies for creating sticky ideas.

Max Holland on Nov. 22, 1963 (Neely Tucker, Wash Post, 7-24-08 on Holland's VERY thorough research on JFK's assassination)

Menand, Louis. Excellent New Yorker essay, The Historical Romance: Edmund Wilson's Adventures with Communism ( 3-24-03), in which Menand writes: "Intuitive knowledge—the sense of what life was like when we were not there to experience it—is precisely the knowledge we seek. It is the true positive of historical work." Read full essay at http:/​/​www.newyorker.com/​archive/​2003/​03/​24/​030324crbo_books1.

Modern Love Rejects ("All the Love That's Not Fit to Print"). Interesting to study the pieces that didn't make the cut for this popular New York Times essay slot.


Personal essays


The Essayification of Everything (Christy Wampole, Opinionator, NY Times, 5-26-13). "I believe that the essay owes its longevity today mainly to this fact: the genre and its spirit provide an alternative to the dogmatic thinking that dominates much of social and political life in contemporary America."..."When I say 'essay,' I mean short nonfiction prose with a meditative subject at its center and a tendency away from certitude. Much of the writing encountered today that is labeled as 'essay' or 'essay-like' is anything but."
Writing the Personal Essay (by Adair Lara)
Essay and Memoir: writing about what changed you (by Adair Lara)
Crafting The Personal Essay: A Guide for Writing and Publishing Creative Nonfiction (Dinty W. Moore)
The Wayward Essay (Parul Sehgal, NY Times, 12-28-12).
The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present, ed. by Phillip Lopate. Two collections of Lopate's essays: Against Joie de Vivre: Personal Essays and Bachelorhood: Tales of the Metropolis. Among notes students of his memoir classes (in this case Roger Martin) have taken: To turn yourself (your “I”) into a character, distance from yourself. To give “I” a meaning requires building the self into a character. People must be knowledgeable enough about themselves, and free-willed enough, to surprise us.
Writing a Winning Personal Admissions Essay (by Jim Bock, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, Swarthmore College), on PBS)
A Student's Guide to Writing a Scholarship Essay (StudentScholarshipSearch.com)
Winning personal essays in 500 words or less (application help, i-studentglobal)
The Power and Glory of Sportwriting (Nicholas Dawidoff, NY Times 7-28-12). "...for really good writers, sports offer an opportunity to express all the pleasure and passion of life."
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When journalists become authors: a few cautionary tips (Peter Ginna for Nieman Storyboard)

When the author isn't a writer: bringing in a ghost (Alan Rinzler, The Book Deal, 8-5-08, on getting experts published). See also section on Book collaboration and ghostwriting.

Will the E-Book Kill the Footnote? (Alexandra Horowitz, NY Times, 10-7-11)

Writing History in the Digital Age (a born-digital, open-peer-reviewed volume edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki, available online here and forthcoming in print and open-access digital formats from the University of Michigan Press for the Digital Humanities Series of its digitalculturebooks imprint)

Websites, organizations, and other resources

A GREAT READ
Blog roll, too
and communities of book lovers
Best reads and most "discussable"
Fact-finding, fact-checking, conversion tables, and news and info resources
Recommended reading
long-form journalism, e-singles, online aggregators
BOOK AND MAGAZINE PUBLISHING
New, used, and rare books, Amazon.com and elsewhere
Blogs, social media, podcasts, ezines, survey tools and online games
How much to charge and so on (for creative entrepreneurs)
And finding freelance gigs
Blogs, video promotion, intelligent radio programs
See also Self-Publishing
Indie publishing, digital publishing, POD, how-to sources
Includes original text by Sarah Wernick
WRITERS AND CREATORS
Plus contests, other sources of funds for creators
Copywriting, speechwriting, marketing, training, and writing for government
Literary and commercial (including genre)
Writing, reporting, multimedia, equipment, software
Translators, indexers, designers, photographers, artists, illustrators, animators, cartoonists, image professionals, composers
including academic writing
Groups for writers who specialize in animals, children's books, food, gardens, family history, resumes, sports, travel, Webwriting, and wine (etc.)
Writers on offices, standing desks, rejection, procrastination, and other features of the writing life
ETHICS, RIGHTS, AND OTHER ISSUES
Contracts, reversion of rights, Google Books settlement
Plus privacy, plagiarism, libel, media watchdogs, FOIA, protection for whistleblowers
EDITORS AND EDITING
And views on the author-editor relationship