Skip to main content

Publish Your Nonfiction Book

Strategies for learning the industry, selling your book, and building a successful career.
  • Author:
  • Publish date:


Publish Your Nonfiction Book
Strategies for Learning the Industry, Selling Your Book, and Building a Successful Career
by Sharlene Martin and Anthony Flacco
Writer's Digest Books, 2009
ISBN 978-1-58297-578-8
$17.99, paperback, 304 pages

book proposal | publish a nonfiction book

Buy the Book

Buy the Digital Download

Read an Exclusive Q&A
Martin and Flacco discuss changes in the publishing industry, advice for writers, writing groups and more.

Watch the Book Trailer

Read an Excerpt:

Why You Should Include Book Comparisons In Your Book Proposal

How to Build an Internet Presence

About the Book

Demystify the publishing process with this insider’s guide to beating rejection!

In Publish Your Nonfiction Book, successful literary agent Sharlene Martin and noted novelist and nonfiction author Anthony Flacco draw on their years of experience to provide you with an in-depth understanding of what the publishing industry is really like and how to successfully navigate it in order to ensure a long-term career. You’ll learn:

• Techniques for writing a strong query letter that hooks agents and editors right from the start
• Strategies for putting together a stellar proposal package that successfully pitches you and your book
• Methods for creating a respectable author platform—before you start pitching your book
• Tips for getting an agent and building a lasting working relationship
• And much, much more!

Plus, the authors examine actual query letters and proposals that worked, so you can see firsthand exactly what catches an agent’s attention and why.

Publish Your Nonfiction Book is the one-on-one agent consultation you need—but seldom get—to learn the ropes and seal the deal.

About the Authors

Sharlene Martin and Anthony Flacco have used their considerable experience as a successful literary agent and widely published writer, respectively, to demystify the publishing process for nonfiction books in a way that any writer will find to be informative and enlightening. …

—William Shinker, President & Publisher, Gotham and Avery Books

In Publish Your Nonfiction Book, Martin and Flacco have used their years of experience and their insiders’ understanding to provide an easy-to-follow path to building a successful career in a volatile and competitive marketplace. It will become an invaluable classic on any writer's bookshelf. …

—Roger Cooper, Vice-President, Publisher, Vanguard Press

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Chapter 1: How to Surf the Tidal Wave in Today’s
Nonfiction Book Market 5
Chapter 2: The Many Forms of Nonfiction 15
Chapter 3: The Platform Dance 37
Chapter 4: Getting the Rights Right 55
Chapter 5: The Nine Essential Elements of a Book Proposal 64
Chapter 6: Three Proposals That Sold—and Why They Did 82
Chapter 7: The Tao of the Query Letter—and Beyond 104
Chapter 8: Crazy Queries: How Not to Do it 116
Chapter 9: Why Your Query Will Work 133
Chapter 10: Submitting Your Query 150
Chapter 11: From Agent to Deal (or Not): Tactics for Presenting Yourself 162
Chapter 12: Demystifying the Process: How Your Sale Is Made 174
Chapter 13: High Fives: The Book Contract 190
Chapter 14: The Self-Publishing Option 208
Chapter 15: Discipline Is Your Friend:
Follow This Schedule to Finish Your Book 223
Chapter 16: A Targeted Public Relations Campaign:
Your Ticket to the Top 245
Chapter 17: The Nonfiction Writer’s Life and You: What’s Next? 268
Appendix: Resources 282
Index 292

Larry Beinhart: On Rejection Leading to Mystery

Larry Beinhart: On Rejection Leading to Mystery

Award-winning author Larry Beinhart discusses what he learned in the process of writing his new mystery novel, The Deal Goes Down.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A Competition Announcement, 6 WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our self-published e-book awards, 6 WDU courses, and more!

Leah Franqui: On Killing Our Critical Inner Voices

Leah Franqui: On Killing Our Critical Inner Voices

Award-winning playwright and author Leah Franqui discusses how she examined her life through a fictive lens with her new novel, After the Hurricane.

Pacing Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Pacing Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch discusses how to pace your story's fight scene and shares three examples from writers who tackle pacing differently.

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing the Drafting Process

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Rushing the Drafting Process

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so this series helps identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's mistake is rushing the drafting process.

Kwana Jackson: On Finding the Right Home for Your Story

Kwana Jackson: On Finding the Right Home for Your Story

USA Today bestselling author Kwana Jackson discusses writing her new romance novel, Knot Again.

Jaden Terrell Killer Writers Post 2

A Conversation With Jaden Terrell on Writer Expectations, Part 2 (Killer Writers)

Killer Nashville founder Clay Stafford continues his conversation with novelist Jaden Terrell about writer expectations and success.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Antagonist Reappears

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Antagonist Reappears

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have an antagonist reappear.

Karen Rose: On Characters Showing Up in the Writing Process

Karen Rose: On Characters Showing Up in the Writing Process

Award-winning author Karen Rose discusses the surprising joy of secondary characters in her new romantic suspense novel, Quarter to Midnight.