Why not try Nonfiction?

Did you know that you aren’t limited in your writing? If you can’t sell your fiction, perhaps you should turn to writing nonfiction. It’s an easier sell as there are thousands of small publishers out there looking for specific books. And you don’t have to write something that only New York might be interested in. Believe it or not, there are millions of readers in the heart of America looking for books about the region they live in. It’s a viable market today.

First step, of course, is to know what you’re capable of writing. Or perhaps, what you want to write. Don’t force something that you don’t like. What do you know? What are your interests? Perhaps you like to garden, veggies or flowers; maybe you are one heck of a cook; what if you know how to make something that is unusual or in demand? Or maybe there’s a topic everyone is talking about that you feel you could research and come up with an interesting and unique slant for a book. There are so many subjects I couldn’t begin to list them all.
Once you’ve decided what you might enjoy doing, the next step is to check out the small publishers to see who might be interested in your subject matter. Google small publishers and take a day to peruse everything you can learn about them. Don’t forget to check Writer’s Market, either online or through your library. Double check the websites once you have a list of publishers you think might be interested. Make sure the editor at the house is still there. Find out how they want you to query. Check their guidelines. I like to download those I’m interested in and put them in a file so I can have easier access when I get ready to query.
Perhaps they want more than a query to begin with. Perhaps they want sample chapters and an outline of the book. What I would do is query those who only want a query to begin with to find out what interest you can stir up. Remember that your query is your first selling point. It should represent you just as if you were sitting in the publisher’s office for an interview. Open with a hook, something that will urge him to read on. Write about the book first. How long it will be, what you plan on including, will there be photos. Then go on to tell him why you are uniquely qualified to write the book. If you’ve been published in the field, or your education is in that field. Anything that will help sell you as the writer. If you’re not published, just don’t mention it at all.
Once you’ve stirred up interest with your queries, it’s time to send off your outline. When writing nonfiction, it’s better to send a chapter by chapter outline of what you plan. Let him know how you’ll approach the writing. Will it be creative nonfiction, or academic or somewhere in between, more like a textbook or how-to book? Send some sample photos if they will be included.
Normally, a nonfiction contract is signed before the book is written, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go ahead and work on your first chapters while you search for publishers. I write historical nonfiction, and can rely a lot on interviews and old articles from newspapers as well as books about the area I’m covering. Using other writings is allowed if you only use them to glean information. You must not copy the writing itself. It’s well written that using one writer’s work is plagarism, using several writers’ works is research. That doesn’t mean you can copy word for word, other than quotes, and they must be atributed.
If you find that more than one publisher is interested in your book, go with the one whose other books you like the best. You might offer the other publisher something else written on the subject but coming from an entirely different slant. Never try to publish the same book with different publishers. You would think I wouldn’t have to say that, but I heard another author say it was permissable when he spoke to a writer’s group. It is definitely a no-no, even with articles. Rewrite totally if you get a chance to publish somewhere else.
Once your rights revert to you, then it is permissable to republish somewhere else. Be the kind of writer publishers want to work with. That means, be professional, forthcoming polite and truthful. And write the best material you are capable of.
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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in guidelines, nonfiction, publishing, query, small press, Uncategorized, Velda Brotherton, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Why not try Nonfiction?

  1. roxy says:

    Thanks for post. It’s really imformative stuff. I really like to read.Hope to learn a lot and have a nice experience here! my best regards guys! — rockymeet — seo jaipur–seo jaipur

  2. Good to hear from you Roxy. Keep reading and experiencing. And check out my other blog.

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