What is Prescriptive Non-Fiction?

The question, what is prescriptive non-fiction, isn’t the only question I received at a recent workshop I taught called Is It Time to Write Your Book. However, it’s one I have also asked so I thought it was an excellent topic to cover.

What is Prescriptive Non-Fiction

When I first started planning my book I thought there were two choices: fiction or non-fiction. But deciding on non-fiction is just the first step.

I outlined this a bit when I explained how word count changes based on book genre. Here is the TL;DR version.

Non-Fiction Genres

  • Devotional
  • Self-Help
  • Memoir
  • Narrative Non-Fiction
  • Biography
  • Prescriptive/How-To

And yes, there are more genres within non-fiction (personal development, practical non-fiction, general non-fiction). But that’s another topic for another day.

What is Prescriptive Non-Fiction?

Prescriptive non-fiction books are known as being strong topical guides or instructional how-to books. They help readers accomplish something or acquire a new skill.

Here are a few examples.

From these titles you know what you’re getting. First you’ll learn how to walk in high heels, then how to get great book reviews and finally how to write a first draft in 30 days.

What does it take to write prescriptive non-fiction?

In order to write a prescriptive non-fiction book the author has to know and understand the topic at a deep level. Deeper than the people who are learning the topic. An expert, if you will. Another option, if the author is not an expert, is to curate interviews with experts and compile the information into a book.

Writing prescriptive non-fiction is a good option if you’re looking to write something but you don’t have an idea yet. Because chances are you’re an expert about something. Think about what you know a lot about, what you have interest in and what you think you could spend a lot of time talking about without getting bored. The more specific you can get, the better.

Everyone is an expert in something so writing prescriptive non-fiction is a good option if you're looking to write something but you don't have an idea yet.

If you’re looking for a challenge, read Nina Amir’s How to Blog a Prescriptive Nonfiction Book in 30 Days. Of course you’ll need a tight writing schedule to accomplish that but I know you’re up for it.

Creative Collaborations by Kirsten Oliphant [book review]

I’ve heard “colab” so often I didn’t question it when I saw Kirsten Oliphant’s new book Creative Collaborations. I just said, “collaborations, yes please.”

Creative Collaborations

Creative Collaborations: How to Form Lasting and Lucrative Partnerships without Being Smarmy

But now I have questions. As I read through Oliphant’s creative collaborations suggestions (for example affiliate partnerships, Twitter chats, and in-person events) I began wondering what on earth a collaboration is. What do I think it is?

Maybe I don’t know. I see the word everywhere on social media. Influencers work it into their Instagram bios (“DM me for collabs” or “Collaborations? Email me”) and it makes me want to collab too. But now I wonder…what does collab mean? And what are creative collaborations?

The Internet says collaboration is the action of working with someone to produce or create something. OK, that makes sense. And Oliphant says it’s like roller derby. I had to think about this for a bit because I don’t know anything about roller derby but I think I get it: you stop being a lone wolf and instead become a teammate. You work with others to achieve a common goal.

That sounds nice in theory, but isn’t setting up creative collaborations with your competitors risky?

Yes, it could be. Oliphant says the secret to successful collaboration is trust.

“Your team is only ever as good as the trust you have for one another. Rogue players, even great players, playing singularly hurt the team as a whole. They don’t just break apart strong defensive walls; they break trust.”

The risks:

You could get burned, you could have your work stolen, you could be let down. All of this could happen when you work with others.

However, there are also potential benefits:

You could grow strategic partnerships that bring you further than you could go on your own, you could make new friends, you could join a tribe where you feel encouraged, strengthened, and inspired to keep moving forward.

So now you must decide, are creative collaborations worth the risk? Are you willing to work with others towards common goals to be the rising tides, lifting all boats?

Throughout Creative Collaborations, Oliphant overviews different types of collaborations, builds an argument for why we need creative collaborations, teaches the difference between good and bad collaborations, cautions about legal implications when collaborating, and gives tips for creating life-changing collaborations. If you’re wondering how collaborations can change your business (and maybe your life), you will love this book.

Creative Collaborations: How to Form Lasting and Lucrative Partnerships without Being Smarmy synopsis

Is your career as a creative solopreneur going nowhere fast? Harness the power of collaboration to supercharge your audience and income.

Has fear of rejection kept you from reaching out to influencers? Are you worried about making a bad first impression? Author, blogger, and podcaster Kirsten Oliphant has landed career-changing speaking gigs and industry leading guests with her simple outreach methods. And now she’s here to help you do the same.

Creative Collaborations: How to Form Lasting and Lucrative Partnerships without Being Smarmy is a game-changing resource for finding potential collaborators. With Kirsten’s guidance, you’ll explore the many advantages of collaboration and the common pitfalls to avoid. Inside, you’ll learn how to craft the perfect pitch and maintain long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships.

In Creative Collaborations, you’ll discover:

  • Why you need to start collaborating and which kinds of partnerships you can start pursuing right away
  • Which commonly taught outreach methods will only waste your time and what you should focus on instead
  • The framework for an attention-grabbing pitch that will get you results
  • Insights and best practices from successful authors and social media experts
  • How to protect yourself from collaborations gone awry, and much, much more!

The book also comes with a free companion course that contains videos, resources, and other guides to help you take the next step in your collaborative solopreneurial career. Creative Collaborations is your step-by-step guidebook for expanding your network the right way. If you like expert advice, extra motivation, and practical actions you can take immediately, then you’ll love Kirsten Oliphant’s inspirational resource.

I've heard "colab" so often I didn't question it when I saw Kirsten Oliphant's new book Creative Collaborations. I just said, "collaborations, yes please."

Other Book Reviews

175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes

I am super busy but also want to eat healthy. So you can understand why 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes caught my eye. Game changer.

175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes Header

175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes

Even though I have, like, two hours between getting home and going to bed on weeknights, I’m still trying to cook well-balanced meals. My issue? I’m not a fast cook! So you can see why I’m interested in the idea of pressure cooking, and why 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes caught my eye. I LOVE my slow cooker but the everyone’s into the Instant Pot now. What on earth is that!?

OK, so I learned it’s a pressure cooker. And you already knew that. But here’s the thing. Everyone’s saying it has changed their lives. That’s bold. And I want in on that.

Except for one thing…

I’m afraid of pressure cookers

Did you hear me? I’m afraid of pressure cookers.

They’re intimidating!

But…well everyone else says they’ll change my life, so I thought I had better at least give it a try.

Reading through 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes helped calm my pressure-cooker concerns. Author Marilyn Haugen spends the first 15 or so pages going over pressure cooker basics, walking newbies like me through best practices, what to expect, and the different types of cooking you can do in your pressure cooker. Hmm…it does seem quite liberating…keep reading….

The recipes are divided into obvious sections: breakfasts, soups, stews and chilis, main courses, side dishes, paleo dishes, vegetarian and vegan dishes, desserts, and stocks and sauces. Each recipe has between two and seven simple steps and offer tips and alterations on the recipe page. After reading through a few I felt ready to attempt my first pressure cooker recipe.

I grabbed my inherited 1970s pressure cooker from the pots and pans cupboard, set out my ingredients, and placed my 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes book on the counter for reference. And then…I panicked.

What if this pressure cooker’s too old and it explodes!?

I decided to watch a few YouTube videos before starting. Watching other people use the same pressure cooker would help my confidence right?

Well I’m happy to report it worked. Wow, there’s nothing to it. This was going to be SO easy. And then I remembered what the book said and got downright excited to get cooking.

“It’s perfect for busy people who want to get a nutritious meal on the table with little effort and minimal cleanup.”

OK, I’m convinced. Pressure cooking is for me!

For my first recipe I thought I’d start simple: Easy Weekday Creamy Steel-Cut Oatmeal. Yum. Something I eat already and can make in FIVE MINUTES. Wow. This is life-changing stuff. So I set to work, and it went AWESOME! I thought the steam from the pressure cooking was going to be crazy but it wasn’t and it also wasn’t scary. I just followed the directions.

Except for one thing.

At some point I must have flipped the recipe page, I don’t know, maybe I was flipping through looking for what I would make next or something, because I noticed I was no longer making Easy Weekday Creamy Steel-Cut Oatmeal but was instead attempting Steel-Cut Oats and Farro with Dates and Coconut. Whoops. Comparing the two recipes I realized I didn’t mess anything up, I just took it all to the next level. Jumped straight to Intermediate.

What a wonderful accident. Tasty too.

Next up? Country Sausage Scotch Eggs.


175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes Synopsis

Delicious meals in a fraction of the time that stovetop or roasting methods take.

With their many function features (some have as many as 7), electric pressure cookers help make delicious and healthy foods that are not only easy and quick to prepare, but use much less energy. Clean up is minimal, too.

Bestselling small appliance cookbook author Marilyn Haugen uses her expertise to create rewarding recipes for this ingenious small appliance. There are recipes for every meal of the day. In a hurry? Done. Low and slow? Got it. The perfect stew or roast? No problem. Entertaining? How about Coq au Vin with Creamy Mashed Potatoes?

Haugen has created super time-friendly recipes for those frantic mornings like Sausage, Hash Browns and Pepper Casserole or Quinoa, Millet and Almond Bowls. And even on the busiest of work weeks, Beef Barbacoa Tacos with Chiles can be on the table in no time flat. Butternut Squash, Quinoa and Pomegranate Casserole made the night before can just be reheated.

These inviting recipes are sure to become family favorites that will be requested time and time again. The home chef can impress family and friends with the wide variety of satisfying dishes effortlessly created in an electric pressure cooker.

I am super busy but also want to eat healthy. So you can understand why 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes caught my eye. Game changer.

Other Book Reviews

What Is Hip? The Life and Times of The Tragically Hip

Canada is celebrating 150 years of being Canada and when What Is Hip? The Life and Times of The Tragically Hip came across my desk I thought it would be a nice way to celebrate. By reading books about Canada and Canadians.

WHAT IS HIP- The Life and Times of the Tragically Hip

What Is Hip?: The Life and Times of The Tragically Hip

The Tragically Hip is one of those legendary stories, everyone I know has a moment where he or she discovered The Hip and many of my friends made it out to their farewell tour.

My journey began with purchasing Road Apples on cassette. What what. I may even still have it somewhere. Even thinking about it song lyrics float through my mind and I smile. What was it about The Tragically Hip that has us so captivated?

To be honest, I didn’t find out in this book.

I had hoped I would, but it’s more of a Wikipedia history of the band’s career. It’s all interesting and factual but I guess I was looking for more heart. Perhaps what put me off was reading the introduction. You know, before the book started. Author Marc Shapiro goes out of his way to say he didn’t write the book to capitalize on lead singer Gord Downie dying of brain cancer. I found it strange to have to even bring it up and couldn’t shake the opposite opinion as I read the What Is Hip?

Weird, right? But because it seemed to be missing heart I found I doubted the author’s intentions, and even if he was a fan of the band. Not quite the reading experience I was hoping for.

That said, if you’re curious about the band this is an interesting biography showcasing a great Canadian story. Why not grab a copy and decide for yourself if this is a worthy tribute?

What Is Hip? Synopsis

“The Tragically Hip…the soundtrack our lives.”—Justin Trudeau

On August 20th, 2016 11.7 million Canadians stood transfixed, watching the final concert of The Tragically Hip, and the rest of the world asked, “Who is this band?” New York Times Bestselling pop journalist Marc Shapiro answers that question in the first American book about this Canadian rock band that largely shunned the spotlight but has become the standard bearer of a resurgent sense of Canadian pride and patriotism. What is Hip? The Life And Times Of The Tragically Hip delves deep beneath the surface of this rock and roll story to discover how a band that spent more than three decades in the rock and roll trenches selling millions of albums and opening for the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin’s Page & Plant, remained almost unknown outside their home country, even as they rose to the level of rock royalty in Canada.

What Is Hip: The Life And Times Of The Tragically Hip reveals:

  • The behind the scenes story of how the band took over The Horseshoe Tavern and made it their own
  • How a high up political personality was instrumental in landing the band their manager
  • The day-to-day, often unforgiving, spirit-grinding days of life on the road in Canada

The ins and outs of opening for three of the biggest groups in the history of rock and roll The Tragically Hip are not cartoon rockers. They are real men who live by their creativity and their principles. Through extensive research and a couple of well-placed sources, author Marc Shapiro has put together a complete look at The Tragically Hip’s rise: from their humble Kingston, Ontario roots, to endless tours, to their internal struggles to keep their music fresh, to the fanatic loyalty they fostered in millions of Canadian fans. These fans shed more than a few tears when it was announced that singer Gord Downie had been diagnosed with brain cancer, and that The Hip were about to embark on what might be their final tour.

Marc Shapiro is the author of more than 75 books. His most recent releases include Trump This! The Life And Times Of Donald Trump and Hey Joe: The Unauthorized Biography Of A Rock Classic. When he is not working, which is rare, he can usually be found mowing the lawn, taking out the trash and walking the dog.

My journey began with purchasing Road Apples on cassette. What was it about The Tragically Hip that has us so captivated?

Other Book Reviews

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically

I’ve written about why I write reviews before but let’s flip the switch and concentrate on how to get great book reviews. Exciting, right!?

How to Get Great Book Reviews

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career

First of all, I know what you’re thinking. Is reviewing a book on how to get reviews too meta? I don’t care. If you’re an author you need this book.

This isn’t the type of book you read once and memorize. It’s the text book of getting reviews. Covering the gambit in six sections plus appendices, this book addresses everything from Your Review—Getting Arsenal to You Have Your Review. Now What?

But perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself. Why do you need reviews? If you’ve gone through the trouble of doing all the writing isn’t your work done?

Nope. Sorry. Now you get to do MARKETING! (My favourite part.)

Why You Need Reviews

I’m borrowing from the book’s argument here, but I hold it as well.

  • Reviews are platform builders

Regardless of negative or positive, stars or lattes, reviews give you the chance to be a better writer, learn more about your genre, and know your target reader better.

  • Reviews are resources for endorsements

Blurbs, praise, bullets, whatever. Need some nice quotes? You can get the with book reviews!

  • Reviews can be networking tools

Both getting and giving reviews gives you contacts with editors of review journals, contacts with other reviewers who are potential reviewers of your books, contacts with other authors who need quotations for their books or referrals.

Once you’re convinced you should get book reviews, then you’re ready for the rest of the book. It walks you through alllllllllllllll the things you need to think through and plan for. It’s a lot, but they payoff is worth it. Not only that, but once you have the reviews the fun is not over! You can reap the benefits of past reviews for years to come.

If it’s time to do marketing, get this book.

How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career (HowToDoItFrugally Series for Writers) (Volume 3) SYNOPSIS

How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically is the culmination of a nearly two decades Carolyn Howard-Johnson spent helping writers avoid pitfalls, misconceptions, and out-and-out scams perpetrated on unsuspecting authors…and helping them reach their dreams of great reviews, great book tours, and great launches. It turns out it is the essence for a successful marketing campaign that includes all those things and—more importantly—for building the readership necessary for a prosperous writing career.

I've written about why I write book reviews before but let's flip the switch and concentrate on how to get great book reviews. Exciting, right!?