Non-Fiction Salesmanship

By: Scott Lindsay

The research you have conducted has been exhausting, yet the first draft of your non-fiction work is complete and you are in the midst of revisions and personal editing. Your plan is to send it on to a publisher soon.

Are you really finished with the work at that point?

You can take satisfaction in the fact that one of the harder elements of your experience in writing is over, but there are many details yet to attend to. You will need to write a cover letter and provide a synopsis or outline of the work, but you may have forgotten a key bit of research.

Market Research

In order to convince a potential publisher your work will make a needed contribution to the non-fiction subject matter you have chosen it is imperative to conduct some market research. This information is not only useful to the potential publisher it is key to their continued assessment of your manuscript. If you cannot provide a reason for the publisher to consider this work unique and marketable they will likely stop the review process at that point leaving the manuscript you worked so hard on untouched.

Every potential business conducts market research to find out if there is a need for the type of business they are seeking to establish. If a business decides they need to establish a hamburger fast food establishment, but the town already has enough 'hamburger joints' then the entrepreneur needs to establish research that indicates the hamburgers he will be selling are far superior than what is currently offered - or he might go back to the drawing board and determine if there is another specialty food item that might be more marketable (even if it's a niche market).

For the writer this lesson indicates that your best market research should be conducted prior to investing creative energy in the crafting of your book. If you have already completed your manuscript without market research you might go back through your manuscript and find the many unique characteristics about your book and the content covered. This information should provide adequate material to move forward with the market research you need.

It may be hard to view yourself as a salesperson, but in the context of writing you must be able to present a clear case as to why the publisher should consider your work for publishing and in turn providing you with royalty checks for your efforts.

Sales
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