Publishing a book is a lifelong dream for many people. But just because you have a great nonfiction idea doesn’t mean you know how to do it publish a non-fiction book.
Those who are familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of novels will be surprised at how differently fiction and non-fiction are published and acquired by publishers. If you’d rather learn how to publish a book yourself, check out our self-publishing guide. in the This Once published, however, we’ll take you through a 5-step approach to selling your book to a traditional publisher. Let’s dive in
Step 1: Do not do it write your whole book first
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, the first step is to sell a non-fiction book Not write a great non-fiction book. Or, for clarification, nonfiction publishers purchase a book based on the pitch (the idea of the book) instead of the book itself.
Why? Nonfiction publishers work much more closely with their authors than those on the fiction side. Where fiction may be more of an art, writing non-fiction is more of a science. You can’t throw chemicals around in the lab without the permission of other scientists – there are procedures for a reason. So if your goal is to publish your nonfiction traditionally, focus on really understanding what your book will be – and for whom it is.
Step 2: Research your category and validate your idea
When looking at non-fiction authors, the gatekeepers are always looking for people who understand their category. You not only want you to know which books are doing well in your region, but to tell them about them Marketing potential.
When you present your book to someone, you want to know exactly what to expect and that you actually have the opportunity to sell books in your category.
How to start your research:
• Go to Amazon and find out if similar books have already been published.
• Get an estimate of the daily sales of these books by going through their Amazon ranks Amazon calculator.
• Go to large and local bookstores and see how well your category “represents” on the shelves.
If you’re struggling to find similar books, it could mean that you came across gold with an original idea. Most of the time, however, this probably means that there is no market for it (at least not yet).
Step 3: Refine Your Book’s Commercial Potential
Fiction fans read for pleasure and often look for books that resemble those they already love. For this reason, the market can publish novels that are “more of the same”. Non-fiction, however, can be much more competitive.
Non-fiction readers often look at books solve a problem. How can you play guitar better? How can you learn to code Python? If there is already a pioneering book that offers exactly the same thing as you, you could be in trouble.
What is special about you and your book?
Put yourself in the position of a hard-working publisher who wants to move a few copies: What would force you to buy your book? Here are some ways to answer this question:
• “There’s an interest in the topic I’m writing about.” Are there any books in the same stadium as you that are selling well?
• “My book has a unique selling point.” Your idea must have something convincing that distinguishes it from the currently successful titles on the market.
• “I am uniquely qualified to write about it.” Unlike fiction, where it really doesn’t matter who the author is, you have to explain why you are the person who best writes this book. A book about air disasters written by an accountant is not as convincing as one written by a 30-year-old FAA veteran.
Step 4: Write a book proposal
As I said, most non-fiction authors Not write books before selling them. Instead, you have to create one Book proposal – This is more of a business proposal than an artistic document.
When you saw Shark tank (or The dragon’s denYou know that all investors want to know certain things before they work with you. Your proposal should answer the main questions of an agent or publisher – especially the points above.
The proposal must address the following:
• the target group of your book,
• Your trust in the topic,
• a possible marketing plan and
• Contest titles.
Your suggestion should also include a detailed chapter overview and a few Sample chapter.
Additional resource: How do I write a book proposal (guide and template)
How much does it cost to publish a non-fiction book?
If your book was purchased from a traditional publisher, it will cover the production costs. Of course, the help of a never hurts Specialist for book suggestions to help you land this deal, but you should only ever pay for it publication If you publish yourself, watch out for fraudulent “publishers” who tell you otherwise.
Step 5: Query an agent or send directly to publishers
With your proposal (and pitch) in hand, you can sell your book. Usually when you write general non-fiction (think about history books and Biographies) or if you want to contact a major publisher, you probably need an agent. With textbooks and with small and medium-sized presses, you may be able to get away without one.
If you would like to submit your proposal directly, you should do your research before contacting a publisher. Ask:
• Does this publisher have a history and an interest in my topic?
• Does my book complement what is already on the backlist?
• Do you accept unwanted manuscripts?
Additional resource: How to submit a book proposal (guide)
Hopefully you will get an answer from an interested party soon and sign this sweet contract.
Each publisher has different expectations of every project they buy, but you can be sure that you will be there in the long run. Writing a book takes time and publishers understand this. Between designing, working with a publisher, and the actual book production process, don’t expect your nonfiction to go on sale at least a year or two after you close your deal. Nevertheless, we know that with perseverance and the right idea, one day you can see your work in print!
It is always helpful to stand out from others when you contact publishers. Sign up for our free authoring platform course to give your book a boost before submitting your suggestion!
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