Why you must research your nonfiction book

If you’re writing a nonfiction book for the first time, you’ll soon find that can’t rely on memory alone. Passion for and even expertise in a subject won’t be enough to carry the book. You will need to spend time researching it.

The most important reason for doing so is to ensure accuracy. Messing up the details is simply too easy. You wouldn’t want to say something is ranked third when it’s actually fourth or to misstate a study’s findings. Indeed, every assertion you make that isn’t common knowledge should be found in some reputable publication or database that readers can access. With every inaccuracy readers find in your work, then the more easily they can pick it apart and dismiss it, even if your main points are compelling.

Research also allows you to strengthen your arguments through specific facts and expert opinions. Rather than asking the reader to rely solely on your opinion, by providing statistics and quotations from other experts you demonstrate that the argument isn’t only your own. When verifiable truths and others in the know bolster at least the underpinnings of your claims, you stand on a quite solid foundation.

You’ll also be able to stay current on the latest studies and even issues in your book’s topic. Earning a degree in a profession as recently as ten years ago can mean you’re not up to date on findings since then. Trends can come and go and new terminology arise in that same period. You don’t want your book to appear dated by decade (or more!).

Research also allows you to clarify in your own mind what the book’s focus will be. Perhaps you really just want to discuss a single issue, trend or theme in a subject area. Reading up on it can help ensure you address all of the pertinent points while trimming out loosely-related topics.


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.