We asked Shelly Kramer “having gone through the process of finding a publisher, what would you do differently the next time around.”
My answer is a bit different, Dave, than what you might expect because my publisher sought me out. That said, it only makes the process a little bit easier.
I’ll answer the question you didn’t ask first. If you have an idea, you have to be prepared to sell it. A well-written proposal that includes not only your idea but also your ability to SELL BOOKS is key. Publishers don’t market, authors market. So bringing that understanding to the table will help you a lot – and including information in your proposal about why you’re uniquely suited not only to write this book, but to market and sell it, will go a long way.
I wouldn’t do anything differently. We wrote a great proposal and didn’t have to work hard to convince the publisher that our topic was timely and that we had the power to sell books.
After agreeing on a contract and ultimately submitting a table of contents (which is the first step), my co-author and I quickly realized that the book the editor wanted us to write and the book we thought was important and timely were two very different things. She wanted a primer and we wanted something with a bit more substance. Because we’re already busy on a day-to-day basis, moving forward and writing something we weren’t totally psyched about just wasn’t something we were interested in. You might think it odd, walking away from a book deal that was a lucrative one financially, but for us, it just seemed the right thing to do. We’re marketers – not book authors. And our real passion is marketing and communications. So writing a book doesn’t bring us validity or credibility – just doing good work does that.
[See, my answer is different than you probably expected. And I won’t be offended if you don’t use it.]
Bottom line – if your dream is to write a book, have a great, well-written proposal filled with exactly what the book will cover and why it’s timely. Include a sales pitch about why you’re suited to not only write this book, but to market and sell a LOT of copies.
And sit down, buckle up and dig in.