freelance and nonfiction writing with natalie roberts
Tell me about yourself I’m a freelance writer and hybrid author. I mainly write about self-help, personal development and social care topics. I’m a mum of 4 and I’m passionate about raising awareness around mental health issues.
That’s really awesome. When did your writing journey begin and what inspired you to start? I started writing as a teenager. My nan wrote for Women’s magazines and she inspired me to give it a go. I got my first article accepted when I was 21 and have carried on with non-fiction ever since.
Tell me about your published works. Besides magazine articles, I have two books independently published. Write Through Depression and Journal Through Depression, which are interactive workbooks. They focus on the therapeutic value of writing for mental health.
That’s awesome. What has inspired you to write about mental health? I’ve had depression since I was a teenager. Writing has always helped me work through my emotions, and I felt like it could help a lot of other people too. As someone who also struggles with depression, I really get that. What does your writing process look like?
I write a bunch of ideas in a notebook, like a brain dump. I then research anything I don’t know. Then I sit down and plan out chapters on Scrivener and just write. The great thing about non-fiction books is you don’t really have to write in order. So if I’m not feeling a chapter, I can just move on to another without it ruining the plan.
How long did it take you to write your books?
The first one took about a year, due to some personal circumstances. The second took four months.
Since I’ve only written fiction, I’m curious about non-fiction. What are some of the elements you need in a nonfiction book? It needs to answer a question or fill a need someone has. For example, my book Write Through Depression gives exercises, advice, tips and tools for taking control of depression creatively. A book like Save the Cat Writes a Novel would fill a need for anyone writing fiction, as it is a step by step guide for writing a novel. It also needs to be in a logical order.
Your book sounds awesome. Why did you decide to go the route of indie publishing vs traditional? I wanted complete control over the books, because I had specific ideas. I was worried they may get changed with a traditional publisher. Having said that, I do have a traditional book deal for a social care book, which I’m more than happy about. They have the contacts and credentials to get the niche book into the right hands.
That’s very exciting. Can you tell me more about this book and the process for obtaining a tradition publishing deal for nonfiction?
Sure. It’s called, Mouth Care: An Essential Guide for Carers. In a nutshell it’s a text book for care professional, about how to provide effective oral health care for the elderly and disabled. I researched the market and found there were no books specifically aimed at carers on this subject. I put a proposal together, along with a query email, and it’s was accepted buy the first publisher I tried. In a previous life I was a dental nurse/manager and then went on to be a carer in a nursing home. I combined my skills and came up with the idea when I saw how neglected mouth care is in the health care sector.
As a nurse, I love this so much! What a great need and congratulations on this. Is the book written or did you send the proposal prior?
I just sent the proposal. The usual industry standard for non-fiction is that the book isn’t already written. They like to have a big say in the direction and any changes before it’s written.
Tell me more about magazine publishing. What magazines have you been published in and what is the process of getting an article published?
I’ve mostly been published in new age and parenting magazines in the U.K. such as Kindred Spirit and The Green Parent. Unless the guidelines say so, I send a short email pitch on the subject with a proposed word count. Some magazines ask for the whole article first.
How do you query nonfiction, particularly magazine articles? For example, how long should it be and what info should it include ? It’s all dependent on the magazine guidelines. They will tell you how long the query should be. If they happen not to, I would say around a 200 word pitch including title and premise of the article would be fine. Then a quick bio stating why you are qualified to write the article. If you can include links to previous work or your website that is great. Social media links if you have a good following are also helpful. Thank you. That’s really helpful information. I’d love to talk a little more about your books on writing through depression. What do you think makes writing useful when coping for depression and why should people buy your book?
When you’re writing you can do it unedited. No worry about upsetting anyone with what you say. No worrying your loved ones. You can release your emotions on to paper and no one ever needs to see it. It’s also helpful to write down thoughts and feelings when trying to work through problems. It can sometimes show solutions. If someone is looking for an alternative to talking (which I do rate as another tool) writing might be useful. It can also be a creative medium if you choose to channel your emotions through fiction writing. Using your characters to play out and work through your emotions.
That’s amazing. I so need your book and so do a lot of other people. Is there anything I didn’t ask that you think people should know about writing freelance or writing nonfiction ?
Just if you have knowledge on a subject and you know it will help people, then write the book. Especially now! We need more book and more coping tools.
What is one random fact about you? And what is one piece of advice would give other writers?
Random fact: I love knitting and crochet. They help me relax. Advice for writers: everyone has a unique story. However insignificant you think your story is, it will help someone! So write it. As non-fiction or incorporated into the plot of your fiction book.
A big huge thanks to Natalie for taking the time to speak with me?
If you've suffered from depression like me, you need her book!
For more information, visit her website,Twitter, IG, Facebook or Amazon.