NF book proposal question

Avatar for 4rightathome
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
NF book proposal question
Sat, 03-29-2003 - 1:58pm
Hi all. I am close to finishing a proposal for a non-fiction book. Once I've completed this and done the required hoop-jumping for the publishers I intend to approach (ie; sample chapter, etc.).......What then??

I mean, if the proposal is successful, what will a publisher want from me? Will they want to see the entire manuscript PRIOR to assigning or contracting for the work? Or will there be a contract based upon the info in the proposal/outline?

A while back I read "Damn, Why didn't I write that?" and according to the author (author escapes me; sorry) one of the enticing things about NF is the potential to complete it after the proposal is sent and accepted (thereby saving yourself tons of work if it isn't a hit). But, I don't want to be caught unprepared if a publisher says 'yes, when can I see this?' and I have to spend months putting it together. Or is that the norm? I guess I need to read that book again; it was very thorough.

Does anyone have any experience with this?



Cash in on Your Kids: Parenting Queries that Worked
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 6:56am
Kris, I just heard what should be very good news for you on Book TV. Valerie Boyd said that she took over six years to complete a recent biography. (Darn! Wish I had taken notes! But Furry Murray doesn't like my spiral notebook on the coffee table.)

Ms. Boyd, after securing a contract for her book, found that she couldn't write at home. Her solution was to take part of her advance to rent a condo in Florida where she could work without neighbors and friends dropping in or calling and housework could be more easily segregated to break times.

After tons of time and much travel to do the research, Ms. Boyd spent a year on the actual writing of the book.

So don't worry, Kris. You won't be expected to produce a finished manuscript in three weeks. Based on your proposal (that's all they have to go on), a publisher may give you six months to a full year to complete your manuscript. There's a chance they may even ask how long you think it will take for you to write it. Don't sell yourself short on time. If a publisher wants the book in six months and you're sure you need at least nine to do the job right, let them know. They'd much rather have the best book possible published three months later than a slap-dash version on their original timetable.

Good luck with your proposal, Kris! Please let us know what happens.


P.S. Thanks for the good review of "Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?" It's been on my list of books to buy for a while now. Time to get it off the list and on my desk.