Advanced search

Writing non- fiction: any tips for what next?

(6 Posts)
UrkStarkadder Mon 07-Oct-19 12:57:55

I wondered if anyone had any experience in writing and publishing non- fiction?
The area is in women’s well-being/ mental health (I am a professional in this area!) and the manuscript looks at my experiences in this area and my patients and how they contrast and inform my work.
I realise that sounds somewhat vague so am happy to elaborate. I just wondered what to do/ who to approach with it?
Is the process like fiction, so find an agent or go self publishing route? And does anyone have experience writing non-fic, particularly things to avoid doing?
Any words of advice would be much appreciated.

AppropriateAdult Mon 07-Oct-19 14:26:23

So, my understanding is that for non-fiction you approach agents with a proposal and sample chapters, rather than a finished book. So you'll want to have a comprehensive outline of the whole book, chapter by chapter, and then write at least the first three. Your platform is important, i.e. what makes you an authority on this subject, why should readers listen to you (so obviously if you're a professional working in this area that's hugely important). Then you make a list of agents who represent non-fiction - if you go on the website of any literary agency there'll be agent profiles with the type of books they're looking for - and send them your proposal and chapters. I think for very academic books publishers will sometimes deal directly with writers, but for most things your interests are better protected if you have an agent.

UrkStarkadder Mon 07-Oct-19 15:23:55

Thank you AppropriateAdult (great username by the way), that is very helpful. I’ll crack on with that advice.

weliveinapigsty Mon 07-Oct-19 15:29:31

I do lots of non-fiction OP - I don't work with an agent any more, but that's because I can just approach publishers directly. At this stage of my career, I don't really need one but if I had a tricky story or one that was obviously going to be huge, I would use an agent. If you're starting out, then yes, definitely get representation.

Good advice above - covering letter, synopsis, chapter outline.

All the very best with it!

UrkStarkadder Mon 07-Oct-19 20:17:18

Hi @weliveinapigsty! Thanks for your input. Also, props to you being at the point where you can approach publishers directly.
I will look into getting an agent then. I’m pretty clueless about publishing, so I will obviously need someone to guide me. And also tell me if my work is shit and to stick to practicing rather than writing!

weliveinapigsty Mon 07-Oct-19 20:40:54

If you do approach them directly though and you get an offer, the Society of Authors look over contracts for free if you're a member - it's a great service and they are very helpful.

I know that I wouldn't have had a clue how to do any of this when I started and the agent I had was worth her weight in gold. Also, don't be afraid to say 'no' to representation if you feel that they just aren't right for you. Approach quite a few, meet up if you can, and go with the one you gel with.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »