View Full Version : Starting Over

08-12-2004, 01:26 AM
My contract ended with my agent...and she referred me to PA. They "accepted" my proposal (I sent it before reading the many posts on PA) but I haven't responded...and don't plan to use them.

So...the advice I as given here was to find a smaller publishing house that takes non-fiction proposals without being represented by an agent. I feel like I'm going back to the big bang, here. I haven't a clue where to start looking.

One of the rejections I got (the agent sent me all of them...man, was that depressing!) stated that they were publishing a similiar book this fall. Most of them wrote they didn't think there was a market for it.

I beg to differ. I've been researching and working on this for four years. It's on the politics of chronic pain management, and how this country's policies and the 'War on Drugs' has turned into a war on patients and doctors. Truly, reading the information I get on a regualr basis makes your hair stand on end. And there are over 50 million American's suffering from one form of cp or another. I have inoperable spinal tumors (benign) and trust me, I'm in pain all. the. time.

I'm also fresh out of ideas. Can anyone help?

aka eraser
08-12-2004, 08:44 PM
Sherri, I'd start by taking a notebook and pen to your nearest big book store. Browse the nonfiction section paying special attention to the medical, self-help and expose-type books.

Write down the names of the publishers. Scan the acknowledgments to see if the author thanks his/her agent. Make note of the agent's name.

In an hour or two you should have a list of publishers and maybe a handful of agents that you can then research further either via Writer's Market or online venues.

Every publisher's site I've ever visited has a submissions guideline page and you can check to see if they accept unagented queries/proposals.

Your book sounds interesting and important. Good luck.

08-28-2004, 09:06 PM
It sounds like a book with a potential market to me, but it all depends on how it's written. I know a good deal about chronic pain, and I don't for a second agree that the war on drugs has turned into a war on patients and doctors, so that may be part of the problem with the book. And doctor can prescribe any amount of any pain medication he deems is needed for your situation.

08-29-2004, 12:43 AM
Does this have anything to do with medical marijuana? And/or ability to order drugs from Canada? And/or carry them across the border from Mexico? I know American customs controls have cracked down on how much of any prescription can be carried across, as well as not allowing certain classes of narcotic drugs to be carried across at all.

I'm not clear if your book's focus is politics, chronic pain and how to treat it, War on Drugs?

I get from what you say you have evaluated the book market for your missive. Can you give an idea of what similar books there are, so we can have a clear picture of your genre.

I read many non-fiction books on health, and know people with chronic pain.

If you don't mind giving a bit more of the picture, maybe we can help more.

Good luck with your project. Four years is a long time. Keep going. When somebody tells me "no" I go ask somebody else, until I get a yes.

<img border=0 src="http://www.ezboard.com/image/posticons/pi_hippie.gif" />

cygne de noir
08-29-2004, 12:56 AM
As a physician and a publisher, I think you have taken on a challenging project. Chronic pain is an important area but it is also somewhat saturated in terms of books, journals, websites, seminars, forums, and various publications. When an announcement comes into my office concerning another offering on chronic pain, I will typically toss it unless it offers something unique.

I agree with others on this board that careful research is a key ingredient in producing a successful book. Perhaps you can find a new perspective or connect with something that has been critically important to you. For example, you may offer a integration of conventional and alternative (CAM) health care approaches, or offer an examination of the problem that focuses on a more ecological exploration of environment, locus of control, psychoemotional factors, and/or spiritual orientation.

Finally, the finished product must be polished and well-written. Some of the manuscripts we receive have interesting, maybe even important things to say. But the craftsmanship of the book is so poor that we simply reject them. We do not have the time or inclination to invest in a product that the author himself or herself did not seem invested in. For this reason, you may want to consider a professional copyedit/content edit of your book.

Having all of this in place, as well as a excellent understanding of your marketing focus, should put you in a better position with your book. Good luck.

08-31-2004, 06:08 AM
One of the rejections I got (the agent sent me all of them...man, was that depressing!) stated that they were publishing a similiar book this fall. Most of them wrote they didn't think there was a market for it.

These comments on rejection slips seem to indicate the problem is not professional presentation of the ms...

I'm wondering if you really have your market clearly defined. Who wants/needs this book? How many of them are there in North America? What other similar books are there on the market? (If the answer is none, you may actually have problems...) If the answer is more than none, how is your book unique?

I'm not certain publishers really want to know how valuable your book is to humanity. What they want to know is who's going to buy it. Does your query answer that question?

That being said, I think our black swan friend has some important points, too. I'm just assuming that you've taken care of them already...

And I like Frank's advice about cruising bookstores for possible agents/publishers. I do it myself in the fiction arena.