Can Anyone Write a Nonfiction Book?


I get it. 

The thought of writing, self-publishing, and marketing your first nonfiction book feels overwhelming. You may not know where to start or what to do next.

And you may be asking yourself:

“Can anyone write a nonfiction book?”


You’re not alone.

I felt the same way when I wrote my first book. And many first-time authors have gone through the same struggle.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it. The book market is competitive.

Free kit to start your first nonfiction book


Unit sales of print books fell only 2.6% in 2023 from 2022 at outlets that report to Circana BookScan… Sales performance by format was something of a surprise in that hardcover sales, despite price increases, held up better than trade paperback…

1Jim Milliot, Publishers Weekly

Although there was a modest dip in sales in 2023, books are still selling.

That’s the good news.

Unfortunately, there’s also bad news.

Although people are still buying books, the average independently published book in the U.S. only sells about 250 copies or less.2

What’s more, the average book sells no more than 1000 copies in its lifetime.

Most authors, whether they’re speakers, coaches, consultants, or other business owners, sell a handful of books in their lifetime. The few books they do manage to sell are purchased by friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and other people that want “to be nice.”

Discouraged to Write My First Nonfiction Book

When I shared my dream of writing a book with other people, many weren’t very supportive.

One publishing expert said I would never even finish my first draft, because I was a busy professional.

Other people pointed to the statistics saying that, even if I miraculously managed to write and publish my first business book, I wasn’t going to sell many copies. I didn’t have a social media following, raving fans ready to buy my book, or a website that attracted sufficient traffic. And I wasn’t famous.

I had no book industry knowledge, no mailing list, and no publishing house to back me up. 

I was nobody to write a book.

To top it off, I wanted to write a book in a highly competitive category—leadership and management.

Some friends and family were also unsupportive. It wasn’t intentional, but it still hurt.

I can still see and hear them now: their rolling eyes, “good luck with that,” and “like you’re going to sell hundreds of copies.”

You see, these are the stories people tell us.

But the Stories We Tell Ourselves are Worse

“I’m nobody to write a book.”

“I don’t know anything about writing, publishing, or marketing.”

“What if the book isn’t any good? My reputation and business are at stake.”

“What if the book doesn’t sell?”

“What if I get horrible reviews?”

What if. What if. What if.

We let our thoughts run amok, and we give in to fear and self-doubt.

These thoughts come from an enemy called Resistance.

Resistance is Killing Your First Nonfiction Book

Resistance shows up every time you’re getting ready to have a breakthrough moment in your life, transitioning into the next season of your journey towards fulfilling your calling and destiny.

You see, some people desperately need your book to transform their lives. No other book will do. Only you can speak directly to their heart. Your unique experiences, life story, and perspectives are precisely what they need.

Resistance’s job is to stop you from making that life-changing difference.

If you keep dwelling on the lies Resistance tells you, you’ll never write your book and make an impact at the scale you were meant to make.

Yet, You Can Write a Competitive Nonfiction Book

Before you start to panic or give up on your dream of writing your first nonfiction book, I have two pieces of amazing news for you.

First, you can write and publish a high-quality nonfiction business book that sells.

Second, the value of a competitive book extends far beyond book sales. Income-wise, your book is a stepping-stone that attracts the right clients to your higher value business offerings.

But there’s a huge caveat.

To write a quality competitive book, you can’t just randomly pour out your stream of consciousness thoughts onto the keyboard. Writing a book that people want to buy requires strategically planning before you type your first word.

But don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds.

On this website, I’ll share tips, tools, and resources for you to write, publish, and market your first nonfiction book quickly and professionally. What’s more, these resources will help you produce a book your readers will buy, love, and rave about, so that you can grow your authority and your impact.

You can do this, even if you’re an unknown first-time author starting without a high-traffic website, without a huge social media following, and without a massive list of raving fans.

free nonfiction book starter kit - how to start your nonfiction book


Why Do I Know This?

Because I did it.

I’m Sylvia Melena, the Founder and CEO of Melena Consulting Group, a leadership and management consulting, training, and book coaching company. I’m also the Founder of the Nonfiction Book Accelerator Academy™. Contrary to what the naysayers said, I’m not “nobody.”

Because I refused to listen to discouraging voices, including my own, I’m now the international award-winning and best-selling author of Supportive Accountability:  How to Inspire People and Improve Performance.

Supportive Accountability book by Sylvia Melena

In its first year alone, Supportive Accountability sold thousands of copies in five continents—North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America—and was recognized by reputable book award programs at the local, national, and international levels. It was also used to train leaders in university and workplace settings.

I’m sharing this not to brag but assure you that, regardless of the stories people tell you or you tell yourself, you can write a quality nonfiction book that sells.

So, go ahead. Write your book. People are waiting.

SYLVIA MELENA is the Founder and CEO of Melena Consulting Group, a leadership and management consulting, training, and publishing company. She is also the international award-winning author of Supportive Accountability: How to Inspire People and Improve Performance and the Vice President of the San Diego Book Awards Association. As an unknown author with zero platform, Sylvia’s first book gave her exposure in the Society of Human Resources Management HR Today, Entrepreneur, the Human Performance Association, My Quest for the Best, LEADx, Fit Small Business, and other outlets.

Article updated on February 20, 2023.
1 Milliot, Jim. “Print Books Sales Fell 2.6% in 2023.”, January 5, 2024. Accessed on February 20, 2024. 2 Chandler, Stephanie. “How Many Books Can You Expect to Sell? The Truth about Book Sales and the Keys to Generating Income from Publishing.” Nonfiction Authors Association, October 3, 2018. Accessed August 12, 2021.

Recommended Articles