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View Full Version : Should I write a feature first?



monsterorange
04-29-2005, 05:29 AM
Hi guys - I am new here and am hoping that you vastly experienced and kind folks can help me. I have an idea for a book that is quite original and I think it would sell really well. Unfortunately, I don't have a whole lot of writing credits, so I was thinking of writing a feature article first so that book publishers will be more inclined to talk to me. What I am concerned about is, what if I write a feature and then someone else writes the book before me? Is this a risky thing to do? Should I wait until I have more of the book written?

I guess the big question is: is a good idea and professional pitch for a book enough for an unknown writer?

Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.

Carolyn

mommie4a
04-29-2005, 05:36 AM
Carolyn - congrats on your confidence and eagerness. They will carry you to success, I'm sure.

I did just that - worked out a book proposal but then sold four articles based on the proposal after floating a query to an agent and a publisher. Other work has intruded on my pursuit of the book (which is just fine by me) but you will read in many resources that getting articles published about the idea is a good way to test the marketability and need for the book, not to mention it will show to agents and publishers that your idea(s) appealed to editors.

Good luck!

aka eraser
04-29-2005, 08:03 PM
Mommie's right; publishing an article(s) prior to seeking a book contract can make landing same easier. Nonfiction publishers always prefer dealing with either a "name" or someone with verifiable expertise in the subject matter, and preferably both.

If you become "the" expert in the field you're considering, I don't think you need worry overmuch about someone else encroaching on your turf. Just write a better book than they could ever hope to. ;)

Zoe King
04-29-2005, 10:09 PM
Hi Carolyn,
I'm in something of the same position. I do have a publishing record, a good one, but not in the field in which I'm currently working. However, my book will be on a teaching project I'm running, so you might consider whether or not your own book would lend itself to that. At the moment, I'm developing the project online, but also, I'm soon to visit Australia, where I'll be teaching face to face.

I won't pitch the idea until after my Australia trip, because by then, I'm hoping the idea will have wings enough to fly.

What I'm saying here is that if you can point to evidence in whatever form, that your idea has potential, it will work in your favour. I can see your point about others coming in and hijacking your idea, but if this is something you're developing, by the time any articles appear, because of lead times, you will be further down the road than others could hope to be. Also, if you get acceptance on the features, that will add weight to your agent/publisher proposal even before the pieces are published.

Good luck.

Zoe

mommie4a
04-29-2005, 10:24 PM
I can see your point about others coming in and hijacking your idea, but if this is something you're developing, by the time any articles appear, because of lead times, you will be further down the road than others could hope to be. Also, if you get acceptance on the features, that will add weight to your agent/publisher proposal even before the pieces are published.


About the idea hijacking thing - I'm sure you've heard it or read it before, but it really is a rare occurance. Also, be clear for yourself, on how your idea is different from the competition. You will need to say it's the first to do x, or it's the only one that does y, or it's been covered in the past but never like this and so on.

For one of my book ideas, I spoke with THE biggest names in the fields involved (all authors too) and none of them have stolen my idea at all, although two of them have come out with books since I consulted them but even so, those books are distinguishable from what I will do - some day. Haha.

monsterorange
04-30-2005, 07:56 AM
Thanks for that great advice everyone. I think what I will do is get my book proposal a little bit closer to being ready and then pitch the feature around the place. This way I can ride the wave.


I love this forum - you are all so friendly and helpful!!!