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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Publish Nonfiction

Hello Fellow Writers!

That's not a picture of me on the left, folks. That's Annette, and I just thought the photo was appropriate for today's blog. Here's her blog, which you may find useful.

Anyway, the other day my mother approached me with an idea for a nonfiction book based on her area of expertise as a social worker. She asked me to ghost write it for her. I told her I'd help her write it but since I'm an RN, BSN, my input as a professional should earn me a co-author byline, right?

So, as I think about how I'm going to go about writing this book, I suddenly remembered that getting a nonfiction book published is a whole different animal than getting a fiction book published. In short, with fiction you have to write the book first, then sell it. With non fiction, you sell it first with a book proposal, and then write it!

I found a great article about writing a killer book proposal. Here's an excerpt from "How to Get a Nonfiction Book Published: A Bulletproof Book Proposal for Publishing Agents, Editors, and Companies" by Robert Bly. Read the whole article here.

Every book publisher asks five key questions about every project he or she considers. Here's how to make sure your book proposal gives all the answers, and convince your book agent to help you publish your book.
You have a great idea for a nonfiction book. Everybody thinks it's a great idea. But will a book publishing company think it's a great idea - enough to pay you an advance, commission you to write it, publish your book and sell it?
That will depend largely on your book proposal. Here's where you demonstrate persuasively that your idea has merit, and that the company will benefit from publishing your book. Of course, even a solid idea and a great book proposal can't guarantee success, but they surely can tip the odds in your favor. But if either the idea or the proposal is weak, your chances of a sale are slim to none.
Book editors look for certain things when reviewing book ideas and proposals. To improve your chances of winning a book publisher's contract, let's look at the five key questions they ask and the best ways to answer them.
The article goes on to explain in detail the five key questions, which include:
1. Is there a large enough audience interested in this topic to justify publishing a book?
2. Is this a book or a magazine article? Will it sell?
3. What's different or better about your book?
4. Will people pay $25.38 for this book?
5. Why should the publishing agent hire you to write it?
While I contemplate these questions, I am still waiting to hear back from Harlequin regarding the partial they requested, and I am waiting to hear from my critique partners about how they think I did on my erotic romance revision that Ellora's Cave requested. I'm waiting to hear back in case I have to fix something before I resubmit it to EC. In the meantime I'm keeping busy by working on a new erotic romance so that I'll have something else to show EC when the time comes.
Wish me luck, and good luck to you too!
Yours Truly,
Shoshanna Evers

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