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Any successful nonfiction queries?


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#1 patskywriter

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 08:46 AM

I'm a newbie, and soon I'll be approaching the time when I'll be sending query letters to agents. I'd love to see a successful query for a nonfiction / how-to book. Or two. Thanks!
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Currently working on my first nonfiction book, "And Then We Saw an Eye: Caring for a Loved-One with Alzheimer's at Home."

#2 mwsinclair

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 01:47 PM

We haven't had too many examples, frankly. But there's been at least one query in the NF/Memoir area.

#3 patskywriter

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 01:51 PM

Darn. Well, I'll go check out that one in the NF/memoir area. Thanks! Posted Image
Published community newspapers in Chicago for 8 years; now publishing www.durhamskywriter.com.

Currently working on my first nonfiction book, "And Then We Saw an Eye: Caring for a Loved-One with Alzheimer's at Home."

#4 kellyann

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Posted 26 August 2011 - 04:39 PM

I think my query letter is floating out there somewhere and it was for my memoir and thanks to the folks here and their imput it has been working so far I just starting sending it out and have some interest.


Post what you have and I will try to give any advice I learned about non-fiction I can - which is limited as memoirs are considered fiction. sometimes

Good Luck and I will look for your post oh... my title for my memoir is I AM NOT AFRAID if you want to check it out but don't know if final letter is on site.

Peace,

kelly ann
It’s never too late to shoot for the stars regardless of who you are- Nickelback

#5 kevinmont

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 12:53 AM

I'd post it in QL critique forum, as eveybody does. How-to books are hot sellers. I'd love to see a Query for non fiction.

#6 shawnrohrbach

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 04:58 PM

I'm a newbie, and soon I'll be approaching the time when I'll be sending query letters to agents. I'd love to see a successful query for a nonfiction / how-to book. Or two. Thanks!


My success in non-fiction has been by working hard at the proposal rather than a query. There are a few templates found on various publishing/agent websites, but generally it covers a brief description of the project, a detailed analysis of the prospective audience, a market analysis (how you intend to help sell it, solid reasons why people need to read the book, a comprehensive outline (a solid description of each chapter), a bio and a sample, usually one or two chapters. This is a lot of work, but it pays off in the end.
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#7 Star Jesus

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 05:04 PM

I scanned the Query Critique section but didn't find it. I'm doing a nonfiction memoir. too. I really hesitate to follow the advice I see on this site (and others) for fiction queries. I once read a book on how to write nonfiction queries, Rudy Shur's Square One System, How To Write a Nonfiction Book. It's a few years old, but it is drastically different from what I'm finding here, like comparing apples to oranges. I'm getting a bad feeling inside me about this whole thing. If it's easier to publish nonfiction, then why is nobody doing it? I'm a bit frightful about going this road alone.
Star Jesus VanAllen

#8 AQCrew

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 06:16 PM

If it's easier to publish nonfiction, then why is nobody doing it? I'm a bit frightful about going this road alone.


For fiction, you don't need experience, credentials, or a platform. You just need a damn good completed novel. So for many, many, many aspiring writers, that seems easier.

In order to get a non-fiction book deal, you need credentials and platform. If you have those two things, and you have written a decent non-fiction book proposal, it can be easier to get a non-fiction book deal.

We run into professionals all the time who want to publish a book on their area of expertise, but don't want to put the time or effort into drafting the book proposal or promoting the book the way a publishing contract would require them to do it.

In addition a few agents have asked us to be their "scout" in this arena -- which would mean finding professionals who have expertise in their field, credentials, and a platform (although we would argue you don't need a platform -- you can pay a good publicist to get you radio and TV time and that's better than wasting time building up a non-existent blog or "social media" platform).

Agents have a hard time finding those perfect professionals who can write a great book about their area of expertise and put together a killer book proposal. That's something agents really prefer that you already bring to the table. They aren't really interested in helping you draft it. And on the flip side, many experts aren't interested in investing their time to draft the proposal unless they are guaranteed a book deal.

Regarding queries for fiction versus non-fiction, it seems pretty straight forward to us. However, what's particularly difficult for most professional experts to grasp is what is and isn't marketable to a larger audience (not just what would be interesting to their peers and colleagues in their field), and how to convey this idea in a marketable way within their query.




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