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Getting your book published

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by CarlSpackler, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. CarlSpackler

    CarlSpackler Member

    I have a book idea. Several people have told me it is a good book idea. Good enough to speak of it vaguely so no one who is better connected takes it and runs with it. But as the tired maxim states, ideas are like assholes: everyone's got 'em. Or maybe that was excuses. At any rate, what I don't have is money, and this idea would require me to live in another city for a year. A city I've never even been to. And what are the odds on a first-time author getting an advance on something that has not yet been written?

    So I am looking for advice from those of you who are published authors. What is the best way to write a pitch, and who are some good publishers to pitch sports/culture book ideas to? How do you get squared away financially if there is very little in terms of an advance? (I work in newspapers, so there's $5 in my savings account. And I've got no outside financial support with my parents paying for my brother's college tuition and no special lady friend to help out financially or otherwise). Then there's the whole question of agents, though I suspect that would be one desperate individual.

    Anyhow, as someone who has never done this, any and all advice is welcomed. I figure there are others out there who may have similar questions too, so maybe this will be a helpful all-around thread.
  2. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    My experience:

    Don't pitch to a publisher. Pitch to an agent. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough. Bombard agents with a brief summary of your book idea. If one is interested, he or she may have you then begin work on an extended book proposal. Mine was 20,000 words/70 double-spaced pages.
  3. Walter Burns

    Walter Burns Member

    I got a book published through the History Press (http://historypress.net/). I dealt directly with the publishing company. If you're looking for national recognition and distribution, it's probably not your thing. But if you've got a book of regional interest, it's worth sending them a query.
  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I just re-read your post.

    Getting an agent isn't "desperate," and I'm curious about why you would even think that.

    It's how you get your proposal actually looked at by a major publishing house.
  5. CarlSpackler

    CarlSpackler Member

    No, I meant the agent would have to be pretty desperate to take on a first-time author, because I am heavy on self-deprecation. And slightly concerned that would actually be the case. Although desperate people make the strongest allies, so it might not be so bad.
  6. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Agents care about one thing - whether they can sell this book or not.

    They'll know whether you've got the chops from your idea and the subsequent further detailed follow-ups. They definitely want to be able to tell publishers that your book can sell. My agent never seemed concerned about whether I could write a book or not. (In my case, I had written one on a smaller imprint previously.) He cared desperately about whether I had contacts in high places in the business who he could tell publishers would promote the book.
  7. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    I've self-published 4 books in the last year through Blurb.com, hoping that it leads to something bigger with a publisher. Hasn't happened yet, so I'm doing a fifth volume of the book. Point being you can self-publish the book and market the shit out of it online (and generate sales) until a big publisher comes along.
  8. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    Agree with DW, if you can get an agent, do it...

    I wrote a few kid's books awhile back. For the first one, I took their first offer. For the second one, I had a friend who was an agent negotiate for me and I got roughly 4X what I did the first time.

    If you can get an agent, do it.
  9. Glenn Stout

    Glenn Stout Member

    This thread is still useful:

  10. Glenn Stout

    Glenn Stout Member

    As is this:

    What's not included is self-publishing electronically, which is more of an option now, not so much when these threads were done
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