Submitting Nonfiction: The Key is You

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Mar 06 2017

I’ve opened up again to nonfiction and have been delighted with some of the queries I’m getting. I’ve received a number of pitches for business and self-empowerment titles, parenting, and even narrative and journalistic accounts of dog rescue. Keep them coming (and more of course).

One thing nonfiction writers lack is the advantage of supportive writers groups and organizations to teach them the ropes and prepare them for handling interactions with agents. This includes query letters, offers of representation, and understanding guidelines. It also includes the key points agents look at when considering your work.

When submitting non-narrative nonfiction (memoirs don’t count), who you are is almost as important as what your idea is. When I review a query letter I look at the concept first. If I like that, the second thing I look for are the author’s credentials. When selling a book on self-empowerment, kindness, leadership or diversity in parenting your platform is crucial. Just as crucial as your idea and your hook. In your query letter, I need to know who you are (because editors will want to know who you are) and what makes you the expert on this subject. Most importantly, I need to know that any Joe can’t be write this book, unless Joe has built a name for himself by coaching, consulting, speaking, writing, blogging, vlogging, or any other method of building an audience of potentially hundreds of book buyers.

For those of you with a kick-ass nonfiction idea, but no platform. Get building.