Tuesday, August 18, 2009

When it’s Time to Start Searching for a Publisher

When I had collected several excellent, heart-tugging stories that were just what I had envisioned for my book, it was time to begin thinking about putting together a book proposal.

In the publishing industry, the way most books are sold are through “book proposals.” Writing a book proposal is quite involved, takes a lot of work (as it should, because there’s a lot riding on a book proposal), and frankly, by the time you’ve written the book proposal you’re more than halfway done with writing the book.

Because I want this blog to be instructional, helping writers reach their writing goals, I’m planning to take several "Side Trips" along the way of telling the story of this book. The first "Side Trip" we’ll take will be several posts on “how to write a book proposal.” I will post this information in parts, taking it one step at a time. My plan is to intersperse these how-to-write-a-book-proposal parts in between the pieces of the story of the book.

That way, if you’re reading because you’re enjoying the story of how this book came to be, you can skip the how-to teaching so you won’t be bored with this technical stuff.

On the other hand, if you’re reading this blog to learn how to write a book proposal, you can follow that label and get the information you want.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Wait a minute. I thought this was a self-publishing adventure. If you are self-publishing this book, then why are you writing a book proposal to present to an editor, publisher, or agent?

Good question.

Answer: I didn’t always plan to self-publish this book. My first, best choice was to find a traditional publisher for it. I had in the back of my mind that I might end up self-publishing it, but I promised myself that I would try everything possible to find a traditional publisher first. Only after I had exhausted every possibility for finding a traditional publisher would I begin to look into self-publishing this book.

At the time I’m writing this, that’s about where I am—though not entirely. When I started this blog I had made the monumental decision to self-publish this book. Now I’ve been set back even on that decision. How? By there being a possibility—albeit remote—that I may find a traditional publisher after all. Even that seems to be a long story. (We’ll get to it. Eventually…) But while I’m waiting for these recent developments to play out, I’ll continue telling this story.

I know what you’re thinking: Why look for a traditional publisher first? Why not just self-publish?

Answer: There are a lot of pros and cons to going with a traditional publisher. There are a lot of pros and cons to self-publishing. There are just different pros and different cons for each. We’ll discuss those next.

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