Definition – Examples – How to Write
Persuasive Nonfiction Definition
Persuasive Nonfiction are nonfiction books in which the author intends to convince readers to believe in an idea or opinion and to do an action. Keep in mind that many writings that aren’t books, such as criticisms, reviews, reaction papers, editorials, proposals, advertisements, and brochures, also use different ways of persuasion to influence readers.
Examples of Persuasive Nonfiction include:
- How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing by KC Davis
- The One Hour Content Plan: The Solopreneur’s Guide to a Year’s Worth of Blog Post Ideas in 60 Minutes and Creating Content That Hooks and Sells by Meera Kothand
- Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
- The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin
How to Write in the Persuasive Nonfiction Genre
So you want to know how to persuade someone with your words alone? There are many strategies to convince someone of something. Let’s go over a few of them now:
- Urgency: Some topics may come with a built-in sense of urgency, such as the health of your reader or their loved one. If your topic already has an urgent message, you can lean in on this in order to persuade your reader to take action.
- The Small Yes. You’ve likely already heard that if you can get the reader to agree with a small yes early on, they will often build to bigger and bigger yes responses later. This is a tactic a lot of marketing agencies use, the first small yes being a free opt-in or something very cheap and easy to provide, like a coupon code for an email exchange. This leads to later yes responses when the customer uses that coupon code to buy a product or service later down the road.
- Trust. “If it’s in print, it must be true!” While authors know this isn’t the case, a lot of people do believe that mentality, that somehow a book is a more trustworthy source of information than a lot of their local news sources are. This implicit trust gives you a level of authority to start that you can build on throughout your piece.
- Authority. And speaking of authority, even if you don’t feel you have the personal authority, just the mention of studies or quotes done by other people with big names who do have authority, can also lend you their authority. This can help persuade a person even without their knowing it, because they already know and trust the person you mention.
- Logic. The most persuasive tactic in your toolbox is to make sure that your argument makes logical sense. People can often see through gimmicks, and are always looking out for how this new thing is going to have them fooled. Your most important job is to present your audience with facts and figures that cannot be disputed by logic. Establish beyond the shadow of a doubt that your solution makes sense. Clear logical arguments backed up by facts are very hard to refute and are easy to embrace.
Next week, we would normally be starting our next Pillar of Genre, but I made a mistake in my posting schedule and I have some backtracking to do before we can dive straight in. I’ll explain more in next week’s post.
- What is your favorite nonfiction book?
- Do you have a favorite type of nonfiction subgenre?
- What genre is your favorite to read in, and do you write in the same genre or a different one?
- What is the most important reason writers should be aware of genre and its conventions?
- What questions would you like to see me answer in a blog post or podcast episode?
Leave your answers in the comments section for this post!