How to Finally Write Your Nonfiction Book

Tallulah Fontaine “I’d like to write a book someday.” Like many writers, I said this for years before finally deciding to commit to the long and grueling process of publishing my first book , which is about personal finance. Most authors would probably agree that writing a book is one of the most difficult challenges of their careers. You spend your summer inside writing while your friends post photos of their beach vacations on Instagram. Once your book is published, the work is far from over: You must now sell it like your career depends on it, because it kind of does. Failure is a constant fear, and impostor syndrome can feel overwhelming. But more often than not, it’s also completely worth it. Consider your ‘platform’ Before you write your first word, ask yourself: Do I have an audience? And, most important: Does my idea actually appeal to readers? “My most common recommendation for people who want to write a book is, ‘Don’t — not yet,’” said Ramit Sethi, the author of “ I Will Teach You to Be Rich .” “Build a large audience first.” Mr. Sethi, whose nonfiction personal finance book started as a blog with the same title, was able to amass hundreds of thousands of readers before he landed a book deal. Building an audience isn’t a prerequisite, of course, and it’s certainly not easy, but publishers like authors who come with a built-in market. Don’t write your book — yet Many aspiring authors assume that getting started means cranking out tens of thousands of words before you approach an agent or publisher, but it might depend on the book. If you have an idea for a nonfiction book, it’s better to write a couple of chapters and then pitch a book proposal. That way, you can see if there’s any interest before you churn out 80,000 words on a given topic. Even though you might not need to write the entire book before pitching it, it’s likely that if an agent or potential publisher likes the idea, they’ll still want to see at least two sample chapters. In any case, you’re going to want to fully flesh out your idea and write up those sample chapters before reaching out to agents, or, if you’re still building an audience, a few blog posts on your topic. Doing so will give you a deeper sense of what your book is about and what the rest of the writing process will be like — and this will also help you firm up your ideas of what the rest of the book will be like. Decide how to publish With traditional publishing, you’ll put together a book proposal, find an agent and then your agent will send your proposal to publishers. If those publishers like your idea, they could make you an offer. If multiple publishers like your idea your book might even go to auction, which could help you secure a more lucrative deal. If a publisher […]

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