- May 28, 2015 at 5:32 pm #19149
I have over 50,000 followers for my three titles on Facebook but need to take my work to a higher level.June 1, 2015 at 11:41 am #19183
Peter M. BallKeymaster
This isn’t going to be impossible – particularly for non-fiction work – but you’re going to face an uphill battle moving from indie publishing to traditional publishing in the current marketplace unless you’re already in a position where you’re selling lots of books. This goes double for Australia, which represents a relatively small reading market by international standards. It’s not impossible – there have been authors who have made the transition – but they are outliers rather than the norm, and generally have achieved significant success with their self-published works that attracts the publishers attention.
WHAT TO DO
What you need to do is comparatively easy to explain: put together a pitch package and mail it out to publishers who are open to seeing new work. For all non-fiction except memoir, this means putting together an overview of the book, who you see as the target market, what the compelling hook is that makes you the right person to write it, and an analysis of what else is out there that occupies a similar niche so the publisher sees there’s an audience for the type of work you’re pitching. |If you’re an AWM subscriber, You can find more details by checking out Jane Friedman’s How to Write a Book Proposal in the writing advice section if you’re a subscriber.
If you’re not a subscriber, you can find more detailed information on what these pitches look like by googling “Non-Fiction Book Proposal” online and tracking down books like Write the Perfect Book Proposal by Jeff Herman Deborah Levine Herman, which walks you through ten successful non-fiction proposals and tells you why they work.
For memoir, you pitch will essentially be the same as a novel pitch – you create a one page synopsis in present tense that outlines the story you’re going to tell, and submit the first three chapters so the publisher can get an idea of your writing style. Again, we’ve got a sample synopsis in the Writing Advice section for subscribers, and there’s a wealth of advice and examples available around the internet.
You can’t avoid the fact that the books have been previously published in your pitch, but I wouldn’t necessarily make a big deal out of it. In fact, from a pitching point of view, ignore the existing books altogether – just focusing on selling your book and why you’re the right person to write it – until you mention that it was indie published at the very end when an editor has already been intrigued by your concept.
WHY ITS GOING TO BE A HARD SELL
It’s going to sound callous, but unless you’re selling thousands of self-published books, rather than hundreds or dozens, it’s going to be near impossible to re-sell your book to an overseas publisher.
Publishing is a business and at some point most publishers are going to consider the math of making the book profitable, figuring out whether they think they can sell enough copies of this book to recoup the costs of publishing it. This puts you at a disadvantage if you’ve self-published the work, because you’re already providing data that will inform that decision, and if you’re looking for a traditional publisher to pick you up because sales haven’t been what you’re hoping, you’re pretty much starting behind the eight ball. Having fifty thousand facebook fans and an established media profile will help, but the first question a marketing department will ask is why aren’t these people buying the book already?)
Generally the people who successfully move from indie publishing to traditional publishing are coming from a position of sales strength – they have the sales numbers that mean they probably could maintain a successful business going it alone, but they’re looking for someone to take the publishing tasks off their hands so they can focus on the writing side of things.
- This reply was modified 3 years ago by Peter M. Ball.
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