Many budding authors are overwhelmed and somewhat shocked at the number of genres and sub-genres that exist today. And what is worse, you have to pick one.
As a book writing coach, I get to hear this a lot. What genre is my book?
The thing is, autobiography, memoir, self help and personal development are the top genres in the nonfiction range – at the moment.
And many writers are wanting to blend their factual narratives with personal story to fit neatly into these hot popular categories.


I can’t remove the autobiographical slant from the things I write. You always bring yourself into what you are writing – Natalie Merchant


The 5 most popular book categories in the nonfiction arena, according to one of the many book trends sites are these 5

  • Memoir & Autobiography.
  • Biography.
  • Cooking.
  • Art & Photography.
  • Self-Help/Personal Development.


Here are a couple of suggestions to assist you blending the two areas of narrative nonfiction and story.

  1. Research your topics throughly. Read what others say with an open mind.
  2. Make a list of 8 to 12 topics/subjects, give them short concise titles. These will become your chapters.
  3. Create 2 columns. On one side write the lessons/facts and the other the story that illustrates it.


Having a good understanding of the work of other authors helps you to think outside of your comfort zone. To view things from another angle. To dig into what you really what to say on the topic you have chosen.
When you have the list of subjects you feel compelled to write about, start to add sub-headings, even a sentence or three to remind you later.
The columns of lessons and stories will grow, develop and change over the time you write your book. Keep all versions. There will be nuggets in all of them.

In all my programs and workshops, I emphasise early on, an awareness of being able to find your category and genre. You’d be surprised the confidence it evokes in you!

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