The 5 Keys to Selling Your Nonfiction Book or Memoir — Webinar, April 21, 2011

Selling nonfiction (and memoir) requires a different mindset. You have to step out of your writer shoes and step into business shoes. That means drafting a nonfiction book proposal with a breakdown of target audiences, marketing plans, platform, and more. So it’s a good thing we have Adams Media editor Peter Archer teaching an awesome webinar called “The 5 Keys To Selling Your Nonfiction Book or Memoir” on April 21, 2011. Peter acquires books all the time, so he is an expert at explaining why some nonfiction projects stand out and most do not.


The webinar happens at 1 p.m. EST, Thursday, April 21, 2011, and lasts 90 minutes. Don’t worry if you cannot attend the live event. All attendees still get access to the recorded webinar and can send questions to the instructor afterward. Remember that no question goes unanswered in a WD webinar. Sign up here.


Each month, hundreds of nonfiction and memoir submissions come to publishers. Submissions that do not come from agents are consolidated into a slush pile. Editors will spend no more than several minutes in an initial glance through each submission. Therefore, if your submission is going to get any consideration, you have to know what to emphasize and how to prioritize your points to make your book attractive.

Your nonfiction book can quickly stand out and get attention if it presents the 5 key aspects of a book project. What you will learn to present:

  1. The unique sales proposition: This addresses why your book is different from other books on the market that cover the same subject. We will talk about various ways to differentiate your project, while also boil your book down to one compelling sentence.
  2. Good comparative titles: These titles give the publisher an idea of what other books exist on the topic and how they’re selling. We will talk about Amazon and other channels to create your list.
  3. Powerful marketing platform: Publishers like authors who have strong credentials as well as an ability to sell the book themselves. We will talk about the building blocks of a platform and what catches a publisher’s attention. Sign up here.
  4. Compelling Table of Contents: The TOC is the skeleton of your book. We will talk about making sure chapters flow in a logical order, and how much you have to flesh out your work before submitting.
  5. Strong writing: You will need to include sample chapters to give a good indication of your writing skills. We will talk about what chapters to include with your submission, and the value of having a ghostwriter onboard if you need one.


Peter Archer is an editor at Adams Media and the author of The Quotable Intellectual and I Watch, Therefore I Am. He is the former editorial director of novels for Wizards of the Coast, creators of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. He is also the author of half a dozen fantasy novels and several short stories. He lives in Wareham, MA.

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