Publishing a nonfiction book is a very different process from publishing a fictional book. Not only do you need to include a narrative within your book to gain the interest of the reader, but your facts must be verifiable. There must be a passion behind your words that helps others learn from reading your book.
Deciding what you will write about is the most important part of the publishing process. Your subject materials must have a niche that can be targeted by the publisher. If you’re not a niche expert, then people aren’t going to care about your book. You must also be able to solve some sort of problem for the reader by helping to develop skill sets, new perspectives, or another valuable outcome.
When you’ve done that, you’ll be ready to follow these additional steps in the process so that you can know how to publish a nonfiction book.
#1. Create a sales plan for your book.
Whether you decide to self-publish your book or you look for a traditional publisher, you’ll need to have a business plan that targets the specific demographics you believe will be interested in your book. You’ll need to have evidence that backs up your reader data so that publishers can see that there is a potential market. In essence, what you’re doing as part of your initial query is to create a business plan for your book just like an entrepreneur would create one for a start-up venture.
Create the sales plan before you write the book. If your sales plans, query letter, or other proposals aren’t interesting, then the manuscript isn’t going to be read in the first place.
#2. Locate a literary agent specializing in nonfiction.
Once you’ve created your sales plan and your book is written, then you’ll want to consider finding a literary agent to represent your work. Agents will typically have the same requirements as a publisher would when screening nonfiction works. They’ll want to see your sales plans, look at your credentials, and anything else about you that sets you apart from other writers. They’ll explore your niche, see if your book has relevance, and decide if there is a market for it.
If you cannot find an agent interested in your nonfiction book, then the odds are good that there won’t be a publisher interested in your book either. Most traditional publishers aren’t going to look at your work without an agent anyway.
#3. Create a literary refiner’s fire.
You’ll need the wisdom of others to transform your facts into an engaging nonfiction book. Your proposals are going to be debated and you’ll be doing the writing, but you won’t be the one who actually sells your book. Be willing to refine your book based on the feedback you receive from agents and others in the publishing industry so that you have a good chance of being published.
If you disagree with the feedback, then self-publishing might be your only course of action to take. Either way, you’ll need to get through this step one way or another to reach the next one.
#4. Get your book to the market.
If your book is accepted by a traditional publisher, then they’ll take the necessary steps to get your nonfiction work to the targeted markets. If you decide to self-publish your book, however, you’ll need to take several more steps after you mark your approvals on the final draft of your book.
A) You’ll need to thoroughly edit your book so that typos, grammatical mistakes, and other errors are kept to a minimum.
B) You’ll want to spend extra time on the interior design of your nonfiction book. How your data is presented will often dictate how many of the facts you’re sharing will actually be retained by the reader.
C) You’ll also need to consider the cost of printing against the revenues you’ll be able to make. If the cost of printing is $40 per book, then what price will you need to sell the book at to start making back some of your investment?
In a best case scenario, you’ll have multiple offers from publishers. If this is your first nonfiction book, you might be lucky to get one offer. Accept the best offer you receive or decide to pursue self-publishing and get your book to the market. The publishing journey, however, is not yet finished.
#5. Keep marketing your book.
You need to build a marketing platform for your book. Use social media, blogging, book signings, and public appearances to your advantage. Make the nonfiction book you’ve written become part of your identity. This will help new followers be able to identify the book with you and give you a chance at creating sales that may steadily grow.
Knowing how to publish a nonfiction book means being patient with the challenges that are in store for you. There is nothing holding you back right now except your own ambition. Follow the steps, create a solid business plan for your book, and be as accurate as possible with the details you include within your narrative. If you can do that, then you can publish a nonfiction book.