Business of writing

Is there a forum here for discussing the business side of writing? I’d like to ask for advice about proposal/query-letter writing and going with an agent vs. no agent.

“No, not specifically”, is the answer to your question.

However, this forum, “Writer’s Block” does service, and the agent/no agent issue in particular has been discussed before, for example: [url]]. Are you writing fiction or non-fiction?

Thanks for the link. I’m writing non-fiction and should have my first draft ready in 3-4 months. I’m trying to get a jump on the business end of things so I’m not too hasty about it when I finally finish the manu. :smiley:

Probably I should also have asked where you are, or more particularly the geographical market you are targeting. I think that may have a bearing too. Generally - and there are many here who’ve much more experience than I - as far as I know, you don’t absolutely need an agent for non-fiction, although (in the UK) it helps considerably. You may also get away with a query letter and a synopsis, although as a debutant at least three chapters would almost certainly be essential as well, and the full completed manu ready to submit would doubtless be a good idea. But it sounds as if you’re already on the right track.

Edit: Sorry, I missed the Miami reference, but I can’t imagine the US (presumably New York) market is so very different from London. But as I say, there are folk here much better informed than me.

It does seem that the consensus is to have an agent.

My work fits into the “self-help” genre and is aimed at a general audience. I’ve been told that an agent is worthwhile if you’re not targeting a niche (which I’m not).

I suppose one of my next steps should be getting the attention of a well-connected agent who works in my genre.

What do you think, Hugh?

Go for it! :smiley:

I have a friend who’s at a similar stage as you with his first book, a popular factual title. He’s completed his three chapters, synopsis and query letter and is moving on to completion. Meanwhile he’s contacting agents. Unlike in the fiction world, they don’t seem to be demanding an immediate “full”. I think what’s most important is the strength of the idea, although some evidence that you can keep the bum (sorry, butt :slight_smile: )in the chair for the necessary amount of time to get the words on to the paper is also strongly desirable.


Hugh, is your friend also going to take on the marketing responsibilities of his book’s release?

He doesn’t know yet. It will depend on the deal his agent does for him. But in any case, the responsibilities are bound to be shared. As a new author, he can’t expect anything else. The issue of course is how the share of the effort will be split – in other words, how much his publisher will require him to do. Quite a lot, I expect.

In the publishing world of nonfiction, it is completely acceptable in most circles to pitch your idea before the book is completed. To the publisher, anyway. Agents and editors have their own stipulations.

The opposite is true for fiction. A completed and thoroughly edited novel is the only time to submit to editors/agents/publishers.