Write end of chapter summary in nonfiction books

When writing a nonfiction book, novice authors often omit a key element: a summary at the end of each chapter.

Usually chapters come packed with information that prove more than a reader can remember. The summary helps jogs readers’ memories of what was read, and in doing so sets them up for the next chapter. The summary can appear either as a paragraph of text or as a set of bullet points. Usually these bullet points are the headings of chapter subsections or the opening sentences of each subsection.

Writing a summary also can benefit authors during the early drafts by keeping them on track. Before writing the summary, jot down what the table of contents and the opening paragraph says will be in the chapter. Next, read the chapter, taking notes of the key points. These notes then serve as a summary. Compare the notes to what was jotted down earlier from the table of contents/opening paragraph. Do they jive? If not, then something needs to be rewritten – the table of contents, the chapter’s opening paragraph, or the chapter text itself.

Also consider adding links with the summary, especially for ebooks. These links might go to other articles or even books that elaborate on the bullet point. By including these links, your title becomes a reference book for its field and even can lead to sales of other books you’ve written.


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.