You are here:

Writing Books/non fiction book advice

Advertisement


Question
I do apologize my request was somewhat unclear.  I understand you may feel skeptical, many do, In my experience I have actually met God (not an actual person face to face, of course) through the events of my life and a series of otherwise unexplainable occurances.  I then came upon other books by people who have had this experience, not the exact same, of course.  I have a very powerful story.  One which could enlighten, help and bring hope to a lot of people.  

When I came upon the book Conversations With God, I felt cheated.  I intended to, was deeply excited about sharing my own story.  But, I had no trouble, no doubt that this book is an actual dialogue with God.  I have, since reading these books, been much further enlightened and none of experiences really jibe with the popular held Christian beliefs.  They would not want to accept my story.  

When I asked about help, support, guidance, whatever, I should have clarified that I meant could you recommend any organizations?  There are publishers that I feel might be interested in my book, however they only accept manuscripts that are solicited by an agent.  I know that Penguin Putnam, who published Julia Cameron's, the Artist Way, will only accept agent solicited manuscripts.  

Who might I approach, what agents, specifically, with a book of this nature?  Yes, it may cost money for editing, yes, it is a difficult industry to break into, I know it can be discouraging, but, of course, I believe strongly in what I am trying to  do.  Not only to realize my lifelong dream of being an author, or for the financial rewards that might come from a successful book, it truly is a powerful, important story .  The events I would describe in my life, things I have survived, would touch a lot of people and has the potential to change lives.

Please, if you would, investigate a little on my behalf.  Talk with others you know, find out as much as you can as to who I would approach with a book of this nature.  Find out who would be a good Editor for me.
Which agents would or have taken an interest in this type of story.  Any legitimate organization or source of support  I understand it may take work, it would certainly take time.  But, any help you could give would be so appreciated.  I would like to assure you that it will be worth it.  

By all means, take your time.  If you would like to just respond with a brief note as to whether or not you are willing to help, then take all the time you need to research my request.  

I completely understand if you are skeptical about the nature of my story and my claim that I speak to and listen to God, constantly, for close to the last four years.  I assure you I am not a quack and I have a very powerful story to tell.  If you have any questions for me that would help convince you to lend your help, valuable time and energy, feel free to ask.

Thank you

Carolyn Fallon
----------------------
Followup To
Question -
I have been writing stories and poetry since I was a young child.  I have always wanted to write a book and have it published about my life experiences.  Whithin the last couple years my story has completed itself.  I believe very strongly in my book, though it is not yet complete.  There is a lot to tell, but the main point of it is that I experienced a very unique, spiritual (not religious) experience that I would like to tell and share with others.  I feel it would have a tramendous impact on those who read it.  I did want to explain this before asking my question:  I would like to be able to find a professional or professionals who would be willing to read and edit my book, legitimate professionals, not con artists.  And people who could help me to find an agent to get it to the best possible publisher when it is complete.  Any and all resources that can and will help me.  I deeply believe that, when it is finished, anyone who reads it will feel it is a remarkable story I am telling.  That many people would be enlightened and touched by this book and it is certainly worth the effort I am willing to put in to do everything I can to get it on the market.  Any andvice, any help you can give me would be so appreciated.

Thank You,

Carolyn Fallon
Answer -
Dear Carolyn:

It sounds as though you have a lot of faith in your work which is good, because you're going to need it. Getting a book published is a long, hard slog punctuated with disappointments. If you want to be published, you must rise above them all.

First, you must finish a first draft so that you have something to work with, and then perhaps a second, and possibly even a third.

Second, you must pay someone to edit it, or study up and learn how to do the job yourself - this is the cheap, but extended method - it may take months, or even years.

Third, you must ship it around to agents until somebody agrees to sell it to you. You can find agents on the net.  Your best bet for publication is probably the Christian market, which I believe is a little easier to penetrate than the secular side. Check in Writer's Market for publishers of Christian material. Read what the book says about them to see if they will read your 3 chapters and a summary/synopsis or if they want you to go through an agent. If you have contacts in the business, so much the better - exploit them.

A successful writer needs talent (the ability to learn), endurance (ever try typing an entire book?); a willingness to change things if an editor requests it; the skin of a rhino and the kind of blind faith that leads lemmings off cliffs,plus a sizeable portion of luck. But above all, she needs persistance: the ability to send the thing off again after 482 rejections. (Some books have collected as much as 700 rejections before being accepted).

If you are at some point accepted, then the real fun begins. You are likely to be asked to pay for your own advertising, do your own distributing (driving around to bookstores with your car full of books you have yourself purchased); persuade all your friends and relatives and their friends and relatives to buy a copy and give back your advance (if there is an advance) if sales do not reach that level.

Yes, it's discouraging. It's to try to save you wasting time on a futile effort. In my experience, a real writer cannot be discouraged. So if all this only fans the flames of your ambition, follow the steps above.

I hope this has helped. If it has, a nice rating would be appreciated. I am proud of my "straight 10" record over 140+ questions.

And good luck with your book.

Answer
Dear Carolyn:

I don't believe I said anything about the content of your book. I don't often comment on content; you are free to write about anything you please. Whether I believe (or whether an editor believes) what you're writing is truth or not is immaterial. I was merely trying to present to you the realities of the publishing business today.

I am sorry to tell you that if I were to take on the tasks you suggest, I would have to work by the hour, and it would be time consuming and very expensive. I haven't that kind of time, unfortunately.

There is no reason why you can't do this on your own. Most everyone in your situation does! (Previously unpublished, I mean, as I assume you are?). Beginning writers do not often have funds to pay professionals for this kind of work. Besides, if you can interest an agent in your work, they will do some of this research for you - it's part of an agent's job. Most agents are familiar with editors and know which ones like which kind of material.

There is another option you might consider: self publishing. You can make a website and put your book up on it, even sell your book from it. My publishing company, The Pygmy Press, is actively soliciting MS now. E-Publishing is the wave of the future, and I know from experience that it is a lot more fun than collecting rejection slips.

Give it some thought. I'd be interested to know what you come up with.

Writing Books

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Susan Rand

Expertise

I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.

Experience

I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

Education/Credentials
BA degree in Written Communication

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.