Where do I start with my non-fiction book idea? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-18-2009, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I have an idea for a non-fiction book. I pretty much know the layout and style I want (it'll be quite picture- and diagram-heavy, I know what chapter/section themes there'll be, etc). Where do I go from here? How do I find a publisher, and will he or she accept an unsolicited idea sent in the mail? Should I query/pitch the book in the same way I'd pitch a magazine article? I live in NZ; would there be any reason why an overseas publisher wouldn't accept the book idea? NZ isn't exactly famed for its publishing market.

Now I'm champing at the bit wanting to write and research the darned thing, but I don't know how to begin! I don't want to write the book only to find it's impossible to get it published, obviously. I know some of you lot have published non-fiction books; how did you do it?


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#2 of 6 Old 01-18-2009, 08:08 PM
 
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I recommend you go to this site: http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/

It can tell you everything from how to pitch a nonfiction book to which pubs are legit and/or open to international authors.

That said, it might be a good idea to research the market first. How many books are there that cover the same subject? How is your book different? Are those books selling well? What could you do to innovatively market your book?

If you believe your book is still a winner after that, I think you should write the first (or any, really) chapter. Most pubs are going to want to see a sample of your work and/or of the book anyway, so you'd have to write it anyway.

Good luck to you!
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#3 of 6 Old 01-18-2009, 09:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks! I'll check out that site now.

I did Google for other books on my topic, and couldn't find any that cover the exact same topic and angle I'm going for. The one that looked to be the closest match turned out to have very bad reviews... is it bad that I was delighted about that?

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#4 of 6 Old 01-19-2009, 05:21 AM
 
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Nah, you sound like a writer!
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#5 of 6 Old 01-19-2009, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I Googled me some literary agents and found a NZ-based agency which specified what info they wanted you to send by way of a pitch. They accepted pitches via email and didn't require writers to send in a sample chapter (not initially, at least), so I took the plunge and queried! I'm now somewhat anxiously awaiting a reply... I realise my chances are slim, but never having done this before I can hope for a miracle, right?

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#6 of 6 Old 01-19-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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There's also an agentquery.com and querytracker.com, which are very good sites for agents.

Do not write the whole book before getting an agent / publisher! Non fiction sells based on query, a proposal (which is quite involved and detailed), and the first 3 chapters.

Also, you need to be flexible in terms of layout, structure, etc, because from what I know, these are the elements most often played with by your editor.

it might also be a good idea to workshop your query until it is the best you can imagine, because agents get so many of them and yours needs to stand out. Though I've heard of stories of really "bad" queries working well, because an agent just loved the idea!

Good luck with your query!

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