Writing and Publishing Nonfiction: Module I

writing and publishing nonfiction books

I’m putting together a multi-media web series on writing and publishing nonfiction, placing emphasis on nonfiction in the spirituality and New Age category. I was going to wait until I finished the entire course, all proposed modules, but then I was like F it. Let’s just play this by ear. Throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks.

As each new installment is published here, I’ll link everything together so no matter when you stumble upon these posts, you can trace back to the beginning and follow the steps in consecutive order. All installments will be tagged with the “book writing” category, so you can simply click on that category label and every installment will pop up.

This independent study course will consist of a bunch of downloads, some free and some not so free, pretty much depending on my mood that day that I’m putting the installment together and posting it. There may be some jumping around, however. So for instance, the next installment I have scheduled is out of the order of modules and instead, is a single workbook on publishing contracts. Then we’ll get back to the modules, for Module II.

All right. Why don’t you read on to see what this is all about.


In this workbook-centered course, I’ll cover the writing and publishing process of nonfiction books and impart what I know about both traditional and independent (self) publishing. The focus will be on nonfiction under the Spirituality category. That includes books on New Age, New Thought, alternative religions, and esoteric or occult topics. However, the core of the course content applies to any nonfiction book that is seeking either placement with a small to medium size publisher or through print-on-demand channels. We will also cover basic legal knowledge, from author-publisher contracts and entity formation for independent publishers to intellectual property law, which every author should be familiar with.

The course material will be multi-media in format, but focused on the workbooks that will guide you from outlining your idea for a nonfiction book to querying traditional publishers, preparing your manuscript for independent publishing and even marketing and promotions.

Course Objectives

  • To provide an aspiring author with insights into publishing nonfiction books in the Spirituality category and the day-to-day logistics of finishing your manuscript
  • To provide an insider view of both traditional and self-publishing
  • To provide an aspiring author with the beginner tools needed to complete a first manuscript and take it to publication, either by traditional or independent channels
  • To get personal and share my thoughts and experiences from an insider’s perspective
  • To be realistic, and give you real information and hard numbers, not the glossed-over, polished, and exaggerated fluff you often get from would-be insiders

BW Old Chunky Necklace

About Your Instructor

benebell wen is the author of Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth (North Atlantic Books, 2015) and The Tao of Craft: Fu Talismans and Casting Sigils in the Eastern Esoteric Traditions (North Atlantic Books, forthcoming September 27, 2016). Wen has also served as the editor-in-chief and managing editor of various literary journals, assisted authors with line-editing, formatting, and releasing self-published books in the categories of spirituality and religion, and has represented independent artists and writers in both the traditional and self-published categories. Wen is also a full-time practicing corporate attorney who specializes in business organizations, business law, corporate mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, and intellectual property law.

Writing and Publishing Nonfiction Independent Study Course

Module I

Let’s start at the very beginning.

Module 1 is an introduction to the world of publishing nonfiction books in the New Age and Spirituality category. Let’s start by talking about you and what you want. Workbook A covers the elements of successful nonfiction and walks you through prompts to help you establish a strong foundation for your book. We’ll talk about what it is exactly you want to say through your book and who you want to say it to, or your target audience. We’ll also cover current trends and together, reach important deductions about the authors publishing in this market category. Even at this early stage, you need to be thinking about your author platform. Workbook B will help you brainstorm and build your author platform. Handout 1 dovetails on Workbook B that walks you through the process of structuring, preparing for, and organizing public speaking engagements to help you establish your author platform.

There are four audio files that consist of lectures (total play time just shy of 40 minutes), two workbooks, and supplementary handouts. Follow the work in the order noted below.

Here’s your course outline:

HDT Introduction PDF
AUD Current Market Trends M4A (10:18)
AUD Why Write and Publish a Book? M4A (09:46)
WBK Workbook A – Examination of the Seed DOCX | PDF
AUD What Are You Sharing? M4A (06:44)
WBK Workbook B – Establishing Your Author Platform DOCX | PDF
HDT Handout 1 – Brainstorming a Speaking Engagement DOCX | PDF
AUD Birthing a Book: My Story M4A (10:20)
  • AUD = Audio File
  • WBK = Workbook
  • HDT = Handout

Click on the linked files in the right column to download.

Note: Whenever possible, work off the DOCX file, not the PDF. Sometimes the conversion from my original DOCX file to PDF causes the PDF to look a bit wonky. The PDF is provided here just as a backup, in case you want a quick view for reference (since they load more efficiently on a computer or smartphone than DOCX files).

If you have any trouble there, try downloading everything at once, via the below Dropbox link.


And here is the Note Taking Template referenced in the Introduction:


I recommend the Cornell Method of note taking, which the above template is based on. Use it to take notes while you listen to the audio lectures. (Or not.) With the Cornell Method, jot notes in the right hand column while you listen, emphasize important points you want to remember or questions you have in the left hand column, and then after you’re done with the audio lecture, review your notes and recap the most important points to you in the bottom box.

Module 2

When you’re done here, move on to MODULE II.

Writing and Publishing Nonfiction Independent Study Course

For a full service listing of divinatory reading options I offer, click on the banner.
For a full service listing of divinatory reading options I offer, click on the banner.

13 thoughts on “Writing and Publishing Nonfiction: Module I

  1. You are awesome for putting this online! Going to carve some time out of my schedule to follow along 🙂


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