View Full Version : When should I write?

Scabrous Birdseed
07-04-2006, 13:28:29
Stupid copycat thread about a serious life issue.

If you've read occasional undercurrents in my posting over the past year you might know I'm currently unemployed. My "job" is part of one of those stat-shuffling political programs that are used to cover up real unemployment figures.

Finding work as a journalist this summer has proved difficult so I'm probably going to stay on the dole and try to accomplish a project I've been thinking about for several years: writing a book along the same theme as the radio show I used to do. I think I'd be able to take a convincing shot at it.

But how am I supposed to do it? Do I finish the manuscript first and try to shop it out to publishers? Or do I try to sell in the idea first? Or, as a middle option, write a few choice chapters as an example and try to get a deal for the rest?

I've got a great-uncle who used to be a publisher so I'll ask him, but I was wondering if anyone here has a clue.

07-04-2006, 13:36:13
If you are already well known then you can sell the idea first.

If you are the standard, write in your spare time type, then finish the manuscript and try to shop it arround (probably the commonest thing done).

If you are set on making a living writing, than write a few chapters and try to get a deal for the rest (you have to be very sure of your skill though...)

Jon Miller

07-04-2006, 13:36:37
Middle option

do a work up/treatment and send it out

Scabrous Birdseed
07-04-2006, 13:39:48
Does the fact that it's non-fiction make a difference?

07-04-2006, 13:42:24
Maybe puts it a little more towards the middle option, but still overall towards finish manuscript and shop it arround.


Scabrous Birdseed
07-04-2006, 13:44:36
'Cause my dad says you can't do that with a non-fiction work, that the publisher wants more input or whatever.

I think I better make that phone call to my great-uncle...

07-04-2006, 13:55:11
I don';t know, I'm talking out my ares.

If writing non-ficition I would submit "queries" to publishers. Maybe even start by doing some freelance writing for journals for the same or similar markets in order to have something to show the publishers.

07-04-2006, 21:11:50
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
[B] Or, as a middle option, write a few choice chapters as an example and try to get a deal for the rest?

I/B] At the absolute minimum you will need writing samples. A complete manuscript is by far the best route.

Scabrous Birdseed
11-04-2006, 07:37:49
My Great-uncle the retired publisher (who I've finally talked to) says no. No writing samples, no complete manuscript (that would only annoy the publishers). You have to go up and present the idea (brining along a consise thee-page summary) and they'll evaluate you based on that.

Which scares me to death, frankly, but I'll give it a shot.

11-04-2006, 07:56:59
Good luck. :beer: