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Beware: if you don’t answer this question when you begin writing your book, you may end up doing a good deal of extra work.
That’s because authors who intend to self-publish can just write their book, but those who intend to traditionally publish need to write a book proposal first, particularly for a nonfiction book.
A book proposal can take almost as much work as writing your book–and the time and resources you put into writing a great proposal can make the difference between no publisher and finding a publisher, or between a small advance (maybe $3,000) to a much larger advance (low- to mid-five-figures and up).
So, how do you make that important decision? I teach a 10 day self-study course on the subject (e-mail me if you’re interested in learning more about the course) along with a private coaching session at the end. That course takes you through several case studies, quizzes and lists, so that you can directly apply the information to your own book, but here are the basics:
1. To interest a publisher, you almost always need a platform (think big following of tens of thousands of people). You may reach these folks through the internet, public speaking, radio, TV, a print column, or a variety of ways, but you need a strong following to interest publishers nowadays. If you don’t have one, are you willing to create one now, before you pitch your proposal? If not, self-publish this first book.
2. If your story is unbelievably compelling, it’s possible that an agent and publisher may see the media potential and be interested without a current following–but not terribly likely.
3. Okay, let’s say you have a following, should you definitley traditionally publish? Not necessarily. Take these things into consideration:
This article should have answered some basic questions. Feel free to ask additional questions as a comment below.