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Writing Books/expert preface

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Question
I am writing a book and would like to ask an expert to write the preface. Should I ask the expert to sign an agreement before or just send the manuscript. I am not a publisher, just trying to self publish a book about French conjugation that took a long time to prepare.

Answer
Hi, Houda Araj!

First you'll have to ask permission to send the manuscript. A simple letter of introduction, stating your credits and why you're qualified to write the book, plus the reason why you feel a preface by them would be valuable is probably sufficient. Keep in mind that since you're self-publishing, quite a few experts might decline. That's because there is no editorial vetting that will take place, so the expert might (to protect his status as an expert) feel compelled to verify the content as accurate before s/he introduces it. Many aren't willing to do that.

If the expert is willing to read it, send along the manuscript, along with when you need the written preface back (and in what form. Not every expert types, so you might wind up getting back a handwritten document on notepaper.) Keep in mind that quite often, the preface of a book is a separate paid contract, so it could be that you'll be asked for money for the privilege of their introduction. Decide how much (if any) you want to pay, so you'll be prepared when asked.

Hope that helps, and feel free to ask any other questions that might come up.

Cathy

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Cathy Clamp

Expertise

I'm happy to answer questions about any aspect of writing novels, from the beginning kernel of an idea through completion. I can help with writing a query letter and synopsis to an agent or editor. I can explain publishing terminology and acronyms. I can also assist with questions about verifying the credentials of agents/publishers and how to proceed once you've been accepted for publication. I can teach the rules of formatting a manuscript, creating viable plots, characterization and flow in the following genres: romance, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, suspense, horror, women's fiction, mainstream and mystery.

Experience

I'm a USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy and paranormal romance for Tor/Forge Books. Along with a co-author, I've published fifteen novels (combination of mass market and trade softcover) since 2003, and have contracts for four more books through 2011.

Organizations
Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Western Outdoor Writers, Horror Writers of America.

Publications
Tor/Forge Books, Western Reflections Publishing, BenBella Books, Running Press, Wild Child Publishing. Many others.

Education/Credentials
My educational background is limited to real life experience of publishing novels commercially for the past five years.

Awards and Honors
USA Today bestseller, Waldenbooks Mass Market Paperback Top 20 bestseller, Nielsen BookScan Top 20 bestseller, RT BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award winner, 2009, Book Buyers Best Award for Paranormal, Romantic Times Best Werewolf Novel, Write Touch Readers Award, EVVY Best Historical Chronicle Award, The Lories Best Paranormal. Many others.

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