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Getting Ready To Pitch Your Book

September 15th, 2021

Whenever new writers consider writing a book, many think about the great novel which they hope will be turned into a blockbuster film.

However, for every novel published there are at least five non-fiction books. Statistically, there is more chance of getting a non-fiction book published than a novel. In the UK alone, over 140,000 new books are published every year, and in the USA this figure is double. Of the UK’s 140,000 books, approximately 25,000 are novels, which means the remaining 115,000 are non-fiction titles.

It’s often easier for a publisher to quantify the potential market for a non-fiction book. Publishing a novel is riskier. It’s an unknown quantity, because publishers have no idea how many people will buy the book. However, with a non-fiction book it’s possible to identify how many people might, potentially, be interested in the subject matter.

So, if you feel the urge to write a non-fiction book here are some tips on what you should be thinking about before starting to write, or contacting a publisher. And, to be honest, it’s still a useful exercise if you are considering penning a novel!

First, why should it be you? What specialist knowledge do you have that would make you the ideal person to write on that subject?

Why now? If there are already books on the subject, then are they dated? If there are no books available, why would one be profitable now?

What’s unique about your book? Or if it’s not unique, why is it substantially different (and potentially more successful) from the other ones out there?

If it is non-fiction then what category does it fit into? Hobby? Leisure? How To? Historical? The list is lengthy, but a publisher will want to know which shelf in the bookshop it will fit on, or what category to tick on Amazon. If it is a novel, then what genre is it? Thriller? Romance? Crime? Horror? And when you’ve decided, it might be useful to try and think what other books it is similar to so that you can provide an example.

If it’s non-fiction, what will your reader learn from your book or how will it help them? It’s important that you analyse this and have the ability to express it succinctly and clearly.

Next, who is your target reader? This is essential so that the publisher (or you) can work out a rough ‘guesstimate’ of how many people might purchase it and how profitable it might be.

Do you have any ideas on how to find the target market for your book, for advertising purposes? What do you plan to do yourself to promote and sell your book? In these hard times, publishers are only prepared to spend so much on promotion and they will look favourably on authors who appear to have some good ideas of their own and understand commercial realities. Authors both famous and not-so-famous are now expected to help out by agreeing to interviews, book signings and plenty of social media input.

Finally, what do you hope to achieve as an author? This is obviously a very important point for you but it’s also important for a publisher. Most don’t want to invest in a one-hit-wonder. They prefer their authors to have plans for the future and certainly another book or two under their belt.

I know this is quite a lot to think about and work out, but if you get these points clear in your mind it will make it much easier for you to pitch your book to a publisher. I also think you will find it useful in keeping your book true to its original purpose – something that often gets overlooked in the urge to get everything down on paper once you start writing.

My guest next week is Anne Lawson who’ll be looking at whether the quotation ‘Everyone has a book in them’ is really as encouraging as it first seems…




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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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