Is a college degree needed to successfully write & publish nonfiction?

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By trade, and love, I am focused & formally educated as a certified massge therapist and practice, & teach basic classes, in qigong.
Although Ive taken random community & university college courses over the years, I have never actually finished a college degree. Have mostly taken courses of interest, and sometimes courses I was told I should take & often left before finishing due to becoming sick for weeks numerous times or simply lack of interest in the subject ( math & sciences especially ).
Friends & acquaintances have suggested I should write a book, apparently related to being fairly curious, sensitive / perceptive & thoughtfully expressive in ways about some areas of being. Though as far as writing a book, I’ve never even written a magazine article or finished college writing courses.
So my question is how would I go about learning to create a quality nonfiction book without a degree in writing? Any examples of creative & published writers without formal training?

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I don’t think you have to have a degree to publish nonfiction. If you have a sound knowledge of your topic, and are passionate enough about it to continually learn more you should be fine.
Good luck 🙂


You don’t have to have a college degree to write a non-fiction book.
But it sounds kind of like you’re in the wishful thinking stage. You haven’t taken writing courses. You haven’t done significant writing. You haven’t created a platform for marketing your book. You have kind of a sketchy idea but you don’t really even know what you’re writing about.
People say, “you should write a book.” But do YOU want to write a book? CAN you actually write a book? Is your health there? Can you finish? Can you decide to write one?
If you really want to write a book, you need to decide exactly what you want to write it about. You need to develop a book proposal that you can shop to agents and editors. Developing the proposal will show you if you really want to write a book. It will take focus, discipline–actual writing! You’ll have to learn a bit about the business; how to do a competitive analysis; how to write a pitch; how to find reputable agents.
There is no place to begin except the beginning. No time like now. No way to write except to write. A book is not an overwhelming project. It can be done.
The co-author of my books, my mentor and friend, has a GED. She’s a very successful book author–blows me out of the water on a regular basis.
Go for it.


No you don’t need a college degree. But you do need to write and learn. alot of authors are self-taut. No formal education. And what I mean by self taut. Read books and articles on writing and grammar and punctuation, character and scene development, etc. etc. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
If you have an idea for a novel, start writing it. Don’t worry about your technique. Just get your story down on paper. this is called your rough draft. Worry about rewriting it later after you’ve learned some things on writing.
This is what I did. I had an urge to write so I wrote my first novel, not knowing much about writing.
I started researching on the internet for articles and such on how to write. ( I write romance and erotica. )
I learned alittle. THen I joined a critique partnership group and that was my godsend. I learned so much by having other authors critique my work, and in turn I critiqued there’s.
If there’s one thing that I strongly recommend,a critique group is it. There are several on the net.
I wouldn’t consider sending any of my work to a publisher without being critiqued first. There’s many things that you don’t see in your own work.
Good luck and write, write, write. You get better the more you write. And its an ever evolving process. you never stop learning and improving.
personally, after a couple of years of writing on my own and then another year and a half with a critique partnership, I now have 2 stories that are polished and ready for submission. They are both at publishing companies. I am awaiting word. You will get ALOT of rejections. this is a part of a writing career. don’t let that stop you. Keep writing and keep submitting. On my 2nd submission, I didn’t sell because she felt it didn’t have enough conflict, but the editor liked my writing so much, that she invited me to send any other work that I have. I did and waiting on word on that one. I then submitted the one that she thought didn’t have enough conflict to another company, and waiting word.
So you see, it can be done, but it takes alot of work and alot of time.
good luck to you.

Steve C

Publishers look for authors who have “platform.” That means that you have to have the credentials to be an expert and an audience that is ready to buy your book. That’s why publishers love celebrities.
Your platform is based on your experience. That’s great, but the more credentials you can build the better so some sort of degree would help with your platform. But a large, motivated audience is, by far, the most important element of platform. You might set up a website/blog and collect visitor traffic statistics to prove interest.
There are many books on the shelves about how to write. Read one. Then read several non-fiction books with a similar subject as yours and pay attention to the structure of the writing. How would your book deliver the same information better?
Maybe an unrelated subject of non-fiction book would have a structure or tone that you could use to differentiate your book among massage therapy books. What I’m trying to say is that you should see what else has been done and work to improve on that. But always, always, always write with a specific audience in mind.


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