2008 Article Excerpt:
Elizabeth Lyon talks about how
writers can craft a winning nonfiction
” … Instead of writing a complete (nonfiction) manuscript, you’ll need to create a compelling book proposal that answers the seven questions agents and editors consider …
Why you? Are you an authority on the subject, or could you become one?
Why now? Two common reasons for a book’s rejection: It’s already been done, and it’s never been done! Is your book a rehash of existing books on the subject?
Who is your audience? Remember the publishing adage: ‘A book written for everyone is a book written for no one.’
What books already exist on the subject? Finding similar books to yours doesn’t quash your chances of getting published. They actually help you refine your idea and define how it’s unique.
How well can you write? A book’s style, diction, vocabulary, density of detail, and organization vary according to its subject and intended audience.
Do you have an established platform? Without a national platform, you can still succeed, but your book will probably find a home with a smaller or specialized press.
What kind of book organization have you planned? Your book’s uniqueness defines your slant, which is your perspective and approach to the subject, and allows you to create a title and subtitle that reflect it. Next, you can plan the table of contents.”
– “Professional Proposals: Launching a Winning Nonfiction Proposal” (page 45)
The 2008 edition is outdated now,
so snag the new 2010 edition!
While Guide to Literary Agents is best known for its large and detailed list of literary agencies, every edition has plenty of informational articles and interviews designed to help writers perfect their craft and contact agents wisely. The 2008 edition is no different, with more than 80 pages of articles addressing numerous writing and publishing topics.