View Full Version : Getting Started Question

10-23-2004, 09:17 AM
Hi everyone--

I am considering ideas for writing a book on a subject that I write on very often and am an expert on.
My question is this-
I would like to include other professionals suggestions, in addition to my own, throughout the book. I would like to have quite a bunch of them.
Can I do this? Do I need to give them a copy if they just give me a quote? How do others do this?
Any advice would be appreciated.
(Oh-one more thing . . . for non-fiction do I need to get an agent? I know which publisher I want to approach . . . suggestions?)

10-23-2004, 07:38 PM
If you're asking for suggestions or comments from other professionals to enhance your text, I think it is not really necessary to offer them copies of your book, usually contributors will be happy with a credit. After all, if you have a whole lot of contributions, it might become financially unfeasible to hand out, say 20 to 30 copies to everyone who contributed one line or two.

However, if a contributor added much more than just a line, say a whole chapter of goodies, then I personally would consider giving him a copy.

When I researched the <a href="http://www.allensedge.com/cincinnatisubway.html" target="_new">Cincinnati Subway</a> and <a href="http://www.allensedge.com/onthego.html" target="_new">Cincinnati on the Go</a> I gave copies to everyone who contributed pictures and/or information, as well as credit in the books.

In one case, I spoke with my wife's great grandmother who offered information from what she remembered from ninety years ago. I offered her a copy of the subway book for her information, but she insisted on paying for it.

So, you're not obligated to offer copies for information, but it is nice and can build goodwill if you plan to write additional books on a similar subject.

Getting nonfiction published is easier than fiction and it is understood that generally you don't need an agent. (It's different if you already have an agent, then just let him handle it.) Obviously an agent can potentially negotiate a better deal for you, but some smaller publishers might not want to deal with an agent.

On the other hand, your topic is probably different than my historical subjects. If you're writing a business-related book, or something else non-regional then you may need an agent. Say you want to pitch a book on writing, or sales, or another business of some sort to a large publisher like Harper Collins you could need an agent. If it were me in this case, pitching my hypothetical book on writing and editing, I would consult Writers Market and take it from there.

I guess it depends on whatever book you want to pitch. If it's going to be a regional title, then probably not. If your target is a large market, then probably.

aka eraser
10-23-2004, 09:44 PM
Since you know the publisher you want to approach first, their guidelines will tell you whether or not they accept non-agented subs. Most nonfiction houses are approachable without an agent (which doesn't mean you shouldn't try to land an agent - just that one may not be required).

If you're only looking for short quotes, as opposed to essays for instance, your contributors will probably be happy to credited within the book (where their quote appears) and perhaps again in the acknowledgements. If you can work in a plug for their own websites/books that would sweeten the pot.

Good luck Cate.

10-24-2004, 07:12 AM
Cate - what they said. They both gave you good information. Good luck with the book.


10-24-2004, 07:31 AM
Thanks everyone!

I appreciate the advice and support-