As a writer, you will most likely plan to publish a book of your own. However, before you publish a book, you should know what type of book you want to publish.

While there are many genres that you could write about, books are usually divided into two categories. These are fiction and nonfiction.

Choosing whether to write a fiction or nonfiction book could be a bit tricky. Both fiction and nonfiction books are great options. Your choice will usually depend on your preferences and objectives as a writer.

To help you choose, let us delve into the key characteristics of nonfiction and fiction books.

What is Fiction?

In layman’s terms fiction is defined as a narrative that is not backed by facts, statistics, or research. It is a literary work that stems from the writer’s imagination. If you are going to write a fiction book, you will have more freedom to use your imagination.

Fiction could come in the form of genres such as high fantasy, science fiction, romance, young adult, thriller, and many more.

While fiction is quite fun to write because of the lack of constraints, it is not easy. Remember that fiction writing comes from your imagination alone. This means you will have to come up with a concept, a cast of characters, settings, the plot, and even entire worlds for your characters to inhabit. This takes a lot of time and imagination.

While you could use other works of fiction and even some historical events and characters as inspiration, you will still have to come up with truly original work that stems from your imagination.

What is Non-fiction?

In contrast to fiction, nonfiction is a written work that is mostly supported by facts, events and research. If you are going to write a piece of non-fiction, you should make sure to do your research.

Remember that nonfiction is mostly supported by facts, dates, statistics, and other references, so you will need to be as accurate as possible. If your work has any inaccuracies, there is a chance that you will be called out by your readers.

Non-fiction books could come in the form of autobiographies, biographies, memoirs, DIY books, self-help books, cook books, and science books to name just a few. While these genres have key differences, they all require you to do your research accurately.

How are they different? 

The key difference between fiction and non-fiction is that fiction is based on the author’s imagination, while non-fiction is backed by facts. Fiction is usually made up and does not need to be researched.

Nonfiction, on the other hand, should always be backed by research, facts, and statistics. From a writing perspective, fiction books tend to use more emotional language and are elaborate by nature whereas the writing for nonfiction books is more exact.

Some non-fiction books, such as DIY books and science books, use jargon. These are very specific words that are used by a profession or group that other people may find hard to understand.

Yet another difference between fiction and non-fiction is that fiction is mostly written to entertain. Whereas nonfiction is meant to inform readers about a specific subject that is considered true and is backed by research and facts.

Which should you choose?

When it comes to choosing between fiction and nonfiction, it usually depends on the topic that you choose to write about. Your writing style and your goals as a writer are also key to your choice between writing a fiction or nonfiction book.

From a marketing perspective, fiction books and non-fiction books are equal. However, non-fiction books are more profitable when it comes to generating multiple revenue streams. While fiction books tend to make more money as time goes.

What’s important is that you choose for the right reasons. Don’t just write a fiction or nonfiction book just because it is popular. You should choose according to your main objective as a writer.


If you are going to write a book of your very own, you should make sure that you know the key differences between a fiction and nonfiction book. With this article, you’ll know their characteristics and choose the best book type for you.