Fiction VS Nonfiction Reading And Writing

cat reading paperI was talking to the wife today about fiction vs nonfiction, and for the first time ever, she said the words, “You should write a blog post about that.” It took me by surprise because “posting to the blog” is something that happens with the door closed, at the end of the hallway. It’s a mysterious beast.

Seeing as how she’s usually right, I figured I better go ahead with getting the words to paper.

I’ve been nonfiction writing on fitness for the majority of my work since I’ve been personal training for 18 years now, but have begun to write fiction over the last couple of years.

Looking at other authors twitter account bios, websites and facebook pages was what prompted the chat.

The conversation was about the difference between fitness authors and authors that write fiction. A typical example would be fitness author Tom Venuto and Joe Haldeman who wrote The Forever War.

Here’s the difference.

Any fitness author with a best selling book has professional, fitness contest ready pictures of himself plastered all over his website, book and bio. He has a mission statement about how he wants to help the world get healthier. His website says, “Ask me questions about fitness!” His newsletter says “Sign up to burn fat and build muscle!” All the articles on his website are about sets and reps, burning fat versus building muscle ect. He sells supplements, a couple pieces of workout gear and tweets motivational quotes like “Train hard or go home” and “Sweat is the tears of dying fat.”

Everything, 24/7 is fitness.

Now the mainstream fiction author…

He does what he wants with his life.

He has a smoke or drink if he wants. Blogs about his hobbies and that his dog is awesome. As a matter of fact, they went for a walk and the family is planning a cross country RV trip this may.

The thing I thought was interesting is basically that being a fitness author affects the whole 24 hour, 7 day a week way you live your life. Being a fitness guru means dieting, not missing workouts, getting to bed early and other rigidity. It also tends to narrow what you can write about once you build an audience of readers. For example, I’ve been gaining fitness based readers since I went online in 2002, but that doesn’t mean they want to read my latest war fiction book.

A war fiction author could pretty much keep a good portion of his readers as long as his next book was action orientated.

The fitness author’s books are judged based on the authors lifestyle, appearance and of course reviews.

The fiction author’s books are judged on a cool cover and reviews.

I guess the bottom line is, would you buy a book about a top secret mission during WW2 from a guy that didn’t go on that fictional mission? I’m guessing you would if it got good reviews.

Would you also buy a book on burning fat and building muscle from an overweight, out of shape guy on the cover who has never lifted a weight but knew about it? Didn’t think so.

Well, maybe if he was Richard Simmons….

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