Nonfiction Help

by Emily
(New Jersey)

Question: I've always been interested in the way that we are all influenced by the expectations of society on us. I have been brainstorming and writing small ideas that I've had about this topic for years now, but haven't actually formed these ideas into anything of substance yet. I'm 18 years old and am going to school for journalism because of my love for writing, however I really want to be able to form these ideas I've had into some type of nonfiction book or guide. I'm worried that even if I'm able to create something with my ideas, it won't be something that other people will be interested in. Any suggestions?

Answer: I think your topic, how society's expectations influence people, is actually one that would appeal to a lot of people, since most people at some point in their life have to resolve the issue of who they feel they are or who they want to become versus the expectations of parents, friends, teachers, the media, etc.

You might start by writing small articles around this idea. Perhaps begin with a column in a school newspaper. Write a couple of articles or essays, show them to the editor, and see if they're interested.

Alternatively, you could try writing a blog and see how many followers you can attract over the course of a year.

These are ways of testing or proving there's a market for your particular slant on the topic or your style of writing.

If your work catches on and you develop a healthy following or platform, you could use that to try to persuade a publisher to give you a book contract.

Of course, it couldn't hurt to build a little credibility along the way. You don't necessarily need a Ph.D. in Sociology, but perhaps you could interview sociologists or psychologists, or a variety of people your age who are coping with these issues. The more expertise or first-hand knowledge you have about your topic, the more interesting your writing will be and the more clout you will have when you go for that book deal.

It's a long-term project, but there are plenty of potential perks along the way.

Best of luck,

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