View Full Version : Question about type of manuscript

05-26-2010, 07:30 PM
Need some help from my fellow writers!

My completed manuscript is what I have been referring to as a "Bible study guide." It is a Biblical and spiritual guide for parents/caregivers of special needs children - part memoir, part inspiration, part Bible study. Each chapter addresses a specific topic of raising a special needs child (getting the diagnosis, making time for your typical children, getting through medical procedures, etc). I begin each chapter with my story - I have a child with autism - then discuss in detail several Bible references and stories that relate to the chapter's topic. Each chapter ends with reflective questions which allow the reader to think about their own situation.

I was hesitant to call it a "Bible study" because I feel like it is not a traditional Bible study; although I have presented it as a 10-week bible study with much success and positive comments. My pastor and a few close friends recommended it as a "Bible study guide."

I've queried a few agents and have had some good comments (including a request for a full and a few partials! :)) but so far just rejections due to the focus being too narrow. But, I'm also thinking I may need to change what I am calling this manuscript for agents to fully grasp what it is when they read the query. I am at a loss to describe it. Any thoughts?

Deb Kinnard
05-28-2010, 11:06 PM
Two options: you could call it a "study guide for parents of special needs children." Or how about just calling it nonfiction and letting the publisher who buys it decide what to call it? I don't know much about nonfic marketing, but at some point you'd need to agree with the agent or publisher on what niche to put it in.

Any savvy agent could help when you sub it as nonfic. If your proposal looks more like "Bible study" he or she will tell you so. If it looks like something else, ditto. They're very good at ferreting out the shelf position any given project might take, from reading the proposal.

05-29-2010, 12:22 AM
Deb - thanks for the input. I've really struggled with this question as I write my queries because I don't want to mislead but on the other hand I don't want an agent to prejudge simply by what I'm calling it. Just referring to it as nonfic, or possibly even inspirational nonfic, might be the way to go. Thanks!

05-29-2010, 01:34 AM
I even see it as a 'How to' book. Perhaps a "suggestion book'?

I agree with others that an agent will pinpoint it down better. I would not use the term Bible Study in your query, as they will have a pretty set idea what that should be.

Good luck.