A lot of articles about writing for the indie market focus on fiction, but there is a substantial amount of non-fiction writing that has found its niche in today’s markets as well.
‘Niche’ could be the operative word here. I started out my writing career writing non-fiction books for the Mind, Body, Spirit market. In other words, Esoterica: books about magic and occult subjects.
They say “Write what you know” and this had been a lifelong interest, so after publishing in esoteric magazines for a few years, my first book was about chaos magic and placed with a speciality publisher. This was naturally followed by others with similar subject matter. Twenty years later, the driving force behind the publishing company died and I made the decision to publish this material in the indie market.
Non-fiction books can cover a vast array of subject matter. How-to books, biographies, special interests in any area; gardening, boat building, cat breeding, needlecrafts, or any other hobby or interest the author might be knowledgeable about.
There is a growing market for cookbooks in the e-book market and many fiction writers have published a book or two about a special interest in the non-fiction market, only to find that they outsell the fiction!
My subject is magic and nature spirits. I made my original reputation as an author with this subject matter and much of my old material is currently being revamped to release in new forms, along with newer material. The only trouble is the increased ‘fluff’ that an open indie market allows for. People with only half an idea what they’re talking about can publish books with little substance as long as they come up with a good title and book cover. This makes it harder, particularly in my subject, for the reader to ferret out the more informative material and separate it from the ‘quick-profit’ school of publishing.
One way around this is to know what author names to look for. Esoteric material has a long legacy and serious seekers of this area of knowledge will quickly learn to avoid anything too commercial or that looks like a first book from someone not old enough to actually have any notable experience in the field. While a commercial market for young people who watch The Craft or get their ideas of magic from Fantasy novels certainly exists, I write for the more serious student of magic and ironically, some of ‘the real thing’ makes its way into my Fantasy novels.
Modern publishing has long made what would have been hard-to-find tomes of esoteric material widely available in paperback for many years, though some collectors still prefer the atmospherics of an old, leather-covered hand-bound volume. These look very good on the shelf, but to be honest, a Kindle book is much easier to access for the reader who wants to refer back to relevant information and actually benefit from the substance of the words, rather than the artistic integrity of an artifact.
With a modern age comes modern methods. I’ve written on esoteric matters for over thirty years and taking it to electronic publishing is something I see as a natural evolution.
For those who have an interest in this subject matter, my esoteric website is at http://jaqdhawkins.co.uk Be sure to check out the Chaos Library.
I keep my esoteric writing separate from the fiction, which is on http://jaqdhawkins.com
It saves confusion, though which site a reader might find more magical could be a matter of opinion.
Those who want to write in this subject matter might want to do some sleuthing on Amazon to see what’s already out there. Many subjects have been done over and over and unless you can find a new approach, your book will easily get lost in the slush. Experience and first hand knowledge are essential. I was actively practicing as young as twelve, but was over thirty when I started writing articles and closer to forty when I wrote my first book.
This was after many years of studying what had already been published, mostly by long dead magicians who would be shocked to find that their books are not still laboriously copied by hand. It is not a subject you can look up on the Internet in an afternoon and concoct something valuable to add to the existing literature.
As with any non-fiction subject, the most informative books are written by those who live it; for whom it is part of their daily lives. I am a magician (not a witch), and I write about magic. I have a long established reputation within the genre. Though like any author, it started with a single article about something I knew.
Books available at: