Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Track agents, deals and editors at PublishersMarketplace

Not much blogging for the next few days. Family stuff. When I return, I want to write more about what you can do *before* you start writing to increase your chances of success with a nonfiction book.

Meanwhile, a few useful links.

1. PublishersMarketplace is the best place to track agents, deals, industry news and editors.
When you are checking out an agent, go to PublishersMarketplace to find their recent deals. The full website costs $20 a month on  a month-to-month basis. At the very least, sign up for a few months when you are marketing a book.

2. PublishersLunch is a free daily email from the folks at PublishersMarketplace.

Bonus links...

3. Jason Boog at Media Bistro's Galley Cat has a great article about Google resources for writers and publishers. (H/T to Jason for the following 4 links.)

Free eBook by director Christopher Nolan

Michael Wiese Productions is proud to provide a FREE 30 page sample PDF of a new EBOOK entitled, Instant Filmmaker by Christopher Nolan.

Just click on and follow the links
Get it today!. It's Free! It's Fresh!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Are you the right person to write a nonfiction book?

The right person to write a good nonfiction book will have three things: Authority, passion, and a good idea.

Today's post is about authority.

Gaining authority
Let's say you want to write a book on kayaking. One of the first things to ask yourself is "Do I have recent, first-hand experience"? If you are a world-class kayaking expert, the answer is yes. You do.

But what if you are not already an expert?  Then your job is to gain the experience you need to become an expert. You might do something like doing a year-long kayaking training program, and then going on your own kayaking adventure. Ideally the adventure will be something remarkable. Like kayaking around British Columbia's Victoria Island, or perhaps Ireland.

As you train for your adventure, take detailed notes on the day's experiences. Ideally before you go to bed each night.

Always try to take notes the same day. The more hours that pass between the experience and note taking, the less valuable your notes become.

By the end of your training program and the following adventure you would have the authority you need to write a kayaking book.

Finding authority
Another way to gain authority is to work with someone who already has the authority you need for a successful book. You might interview and quote dozens of kayakers, kayak manufacturers, kayak teachers, and kayak experts, or you might decide co-author a book with a famous kayaker.

Whatever method you choose, you need to find some way to gain first-hand experience.

If gaining first-hand experience is impossible--say you are writing about a historical event--you still need to immerse yourself in the field. You might read everything you can find, talk to all the experts possible, and visit historical sites.

1. Note taking apps
Use your smartphone for notetaking.  Writing in the New York Times, Kit Easton tells how to use a smartphone with an app like Diaro (Android) or Day One! (iOS) to record your thoughts. Take and attach photos and audio interviews to your notes and then store the results in the cloud.

2. Gaining or finding authority
Marc McCutcheon's book Damn! Why Didnt I Write That? contains one of the best explanations of the importance of having or finding authority that I've found.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

When your book project fails

I just spent two years working on a nonfiction book.
It failed.
The manuscript is going in a box, and then into storage. 

The project failed for five reasons.
1. I was not the right guy to write the book.
2. I did not test the idea to see if it was 'big' enough or compelling enough to support a book. Instead, I rushed into the project and wrote the book without a contract. The traditional method of writing query, then a proposal, and signing with a publisher is one a way to test the idea by exposing it to professionals like editors and agents.
3. I did not choose the correct nonfiction genre. There are several distinct genres for nonfiction. A few of them: narrative nonfiction, investigative journalism, collaborative (one or more co-authors), survey, general informational, self help/how-to, biography, inspirational and self-published manifesto. Each genre has distinct requirements for research, structure, and language. The genre you choose at the beginning of the project shapes everything that follows.
4.  I did not build an appropriate platform for the book as I researched and wrote it. As one agent said, "No platform, no project."
5. I did not stay abreast of the publishing industry trends. One way to do this is to regularly read the website ($20 a month).


How to raise money for your film

On October 3, veteran fund raiser Morrie Warshawski will tell you how to raise the money you need to make your film. Warshawski, author of the classic book Shaking the Money Tree will be interviewed by Carole Lee Dean on her Internet radio show, "The Art of Film Funding" on Oct. 3rd at 11 AM.

Dean is the author of her own book on fund raising, The Art of Film Funding.