What should I do now?

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 10 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #346577


    I write non-fiction. I have written a couple of non-fictions books and self-published them, and they have sold reasonably well (a few thousand copies). But I want to make a career out of writing and have my books be traditionally published.

    My latest book is a prescriptive self-help piece. I have made query letters and proposals for my book. I’ve been sending my book to agents over the course of the past year. I’ve been revising my query letter as I go, with many different revisions, as I realize the query letter is essential in getting an offer. At some point I even paid professional editors in the publishing business to look at my queries and manuscripts.

    I did have a few agents who asked to look at my proposal, or to read my manuscript. But this did not lead to any offers to buy the book. All of them basically said the same thing, that they really enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t the style, and they wished me success on finding somebody who is a better fit.

    Well, I have queried a lot of agents. According to the Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents, I’ve queried just about every agency that specializes in self-help — about 70 agencies altogether over the past year.

    I’m not sure what to do at this point. I could totally forget about this book I’ve been working on, and write another book, but why would an agency accept another book if they didn’t believe in my platform the first time around? I could try to write another, better query letter and requery all of these agencies, but I’m not sure I should do that.

    I am a very optimistic person. I am confident I’ll be published someday. Just trying to figure out how to conquer this obstacle because now that I’ve sent my book into almost every self-help agency and nobody said yes, not sure what my next move is.

  • #654945


    This may be a good time to “table” the book. Perhaps there’s no mass market for the particular help you’re offering. Perhaps self-help books just aren’t selling at the moment.

    Have you looked at bookstores (online as well as brick-n-mortar) to see if there are similar books out there? It’s possible that your particular topic is oversold right now.

    Also, the publishing process for non-fiction is different than for fiction. Non-fiction is a more mapped-out process for submission. Depending on the credentials you bring to the work, you might even get paid for the work before it’s written. That usually happens via a book proposal (which I have no experience creating).

    But, first, maybe step away from it for six weeks (maybe after the holidays?). Then give it a fresh read, and see if any room for improvement shows up.

  • #654946


    Too many people fiddle with their query letters. If you’re getting rejections on your manuscript, it means your query letter is at least good enough that the agent/publisher requested more. It’s doing its job.

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