Write the Whole Book Before Pitching?

4679004_sI’m blogging at Books & Such today. Here’s a preview.

Classic wisdom for unpublished authors seeking traditional publication has been that if you’re writing a novel (fiction), you need a complete manuscript. If you’re writing non-fiction, you need a book proposal plus two or three sample chapters. If you’re writing a memoir, who knows — everybody has a different opinion.

Here’s what is true and will always be true: unpublished fiction authors MUST have a complete novel before trying to get an agent or publisher. No question, no exceptions.

But things are changing in publishing, especially when it comes to non-fiction. In some ways, the standards are higher. It’s more of a risk for a publisher to say “yes” to an unproven author. And in light of this reality, I’m going to make a bold and probably controversial suggestion.

No matter what you’re writing, even if you’re already published, even if it’s non-fiction or memoir:

Consider writing the whole book before you search for a publisher.

Why would I say such a thing? A few reasons:

1. It lowers the risk for the publisher.

Click here to read the whole post at Books & Such.

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  • http://www.tillhecomes.org/ Jeremy Myers

    Glad to hear you say this. I have been recommending this to other authors for a couple years now, but conventional wisdom seems to be that you should seek a publisher and/or agent before the book is written so that they can give input.

    But they can still given input (better input even!) on a finished manuscript, plus it proves you can actually finish a manuscript. Everybody has book ideas; few can actually get their ideas down on paper.

  • Amber Skyze

    I always believed this was the only way to get an agent. :) I guess I’ve been doing it the right way.

  • Jean | DelightfulRepast.com

    Yes, I’m definitely going to click over and read the rest of this post. “Writing the whole book before you search for a publisher” flies in the face of everything I’ve ever read about nonfiction! Hmmm …

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  • CliffordSWhite

    If you’re writing non-fiction, you need a book proposal plus two or three sample chapters. If you’re writing a memoir, who knows — everybody has a different opinion. http://qr.net/sm4X

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