Ten (10) Types of Non-Fiction Books to Write (Even if you are an absolute beginner writer!)

You are here because you want to write a non-fiction book but have not decided what type of book you’d like to write. There are many types of non-fiction books you can write, depending on your interests and expertise, and the message you would like to pass to your audience. Below are a few examples for you to sort through.



A history book recounts the events of an exact location, time or era.  It may focus on a specific country, region, or civilization, or it may be a broader overview of world history. Popular examples include Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond and Africa: A Modern History by Guy Arnold.


2-Self-Help / Motivational

This type of book offers advice and guidance on a particular topic or issue, such as personal development, relationships, or career advancement. A self-help book usually provides the reader with strategies for improving oneself or one’s life. Popular examples include: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Broken Places and Outer Spaces by Nnedi Okorafor.



A cookbook contains recipes and cooking techniques/instructions for preparing various dishes. It may focus on a specific type of cuisine or cooking style, or it may be a general collection of recipes from all parts of the world. Popular examples include: Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli and The Orishirishi Cookbook by Tola Akerele.


4-Art / Literature

An art or literature book explores the history and significance of a specific art form or literary genre. It may focus on a specific artist or writer, or it may be a more general exploration of the art form or genre or provide instruction on the art form. Examples include; On Photography Susan Sontag, On Writing by Stephen King.


5-Travel Guide/ Travelogue

A travel guide is a book written specifically for travellers who need basic information about a specific place/s or region/s. This information may consist of tourist attractions, restaurants, and accommodation options etc. It may also include maps and other helpful resources for travellers.
A travelogue on the other hand  is a written or recorded account of a journey or trip, typically describing the places visited, the experiences had, and the observations made along the way. Travelogues can be written in various formats, including diaries, journals, articles, or books, and may include details about the people, culture, and history of the places visited, as well as the writer’s own thoughts and impressions. Travelogues are often accompanied by photos to give readers a more immersive experience of the journey. They can be a great way to learn about different places and cultures and can inspire others to travel and explore the world for themselves.  Popular examples include: The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in The World a Lonely Planet Journey Book, Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson, A Stranger’s Pose by Emmanuel Iduma.


6-Poetry Collection

A poetry book is a collection of poems written by a single poet or multiple poets. Poetry books may be organised in a number of different ways. Some poetry books are organised by theme, with poems grouped together based on their subject matter. Others are organised chronologically, with poems arranged in the order in which they were written. Some poetry books may include a variety of different styles of poetry, while others may focus on a specific form or technique. Poetry books can be an excellent way to explore the work of a particular poet or group of poets and to gain a deeper understanding of their style and themes. Examples include: Pillow Thoughts by Courtney Peppernell, A Fire in My Head: Poems for The Dawn by Ben Okri

7- Health and Wellness

A health and wellness book provides information about physical and mental health and offers strategies for improving overall well-being. This can include topics such as exercise, nutrition, stress management, mental health, and more. Popular examples are-  The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss, 

8. Biography

A biography is a book that tells the story of a person’s life, often a well-known or influential figure. It often focuses on their accomplishments and lived experiences e.g their childhood, education, career, relationships etc. Popular examples include: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Mansa Musa and The Empire of Mali by P. James Oliver.


9. Memoir

A memoir is a book that tells the story of the author’s own life, often focusing on a specific time period or event i.e it utilises specific memories and anecdotes to pass the message across. It may also include reflections and insights about the author’s experiences. Popular examples include: Becoming by Michelle Obama, A Mouth Sweeter than Salt by Toyin Falola, and Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.


10. Autobiography

An autobiography is a book or account written by a person about their own life. It is a narrative that describes the events and experiences of the writer’s life, usually in chronological order. Similar to biographies, autobiographies most times centre on the personal and professional experiences of the author alongside details about their family, education, relationships, and career. They may also include reflections on the writer’s life and thoughts about their past and present.  Popular examples include;  Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela and An Autobiography by Agatha Christie.

NOTE: These three types of nonfiction books are very similar but the main difference between these three types of books is the perspective from which they are written: a memoir is a specific collection of memories written by the author themselves. A biography is written by someone else about another person’s life history, and an autobiography is a history written by the person whose life is being described i.e the author themselves.


There you have it! Listed above are only a few examples, and there are many other types of non-fiction books you could write. Consider your own interests and expertise, and determine what you could contribute to the conversation on a particular topic, then GET WRITING!


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