Publishing decision for nonfiction

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

donnag

Registered
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
I am in the final self-editing and revision stages for a book on the history of Galician peasants (formerly Poland and Ukraine before WWI.) I wrote an article on one aspect of this topic, and it was well received, so I said, "Why not write a whole book."

I sent a query and proposal to several publishers just a week ago. Now, I'm thinking maybe to just self-publish. I've been through the traditional and self-publishing experience several times. Here's the issue: I'm 72 and just don't want to wait around for a publisher to pick it up and then the 18-24 months of a publishing schedule. To be honest, I make more money on my KDP books than my trad. books. I'm "over" the thrill of a contract. Also, it seems that so many agents and publishers are looking for diverse, LGBTQ+ authors and such. That's just not me. I know this book has a niche audience and isn't going to be an NYT bestseller.

Any thoughts for this somewhat older author?
 

Chris P

Likes metaphors mixed, not stirred
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
20,462
Reaction score
4,281
Location
Wash., D.C. area
Welcome to AW!

All of your reasons for self publishing are valid. Honestly it sounds like you know what you want to do already, and how to do it. Is there some hesitation about self publishing? Is there an advantage from commercial publishing you hope to gain?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mutive

Helix

socially distancing
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 31, 2011
Messages
9,679
Reaction score
4,918
Location
Atherton Tablelands
Website
snailseyeview.medium.com
I am in the final self-editing and revision stages for a book on the history of Galician peasants (formerly Poland and Ukraine before WWI.) I wrote an article on one aspect of this topic, and it was well received, so I said, "Why not write a whole book."

I sent a query and proposal to several publishers just a week ago. Now, I'm thinking maybe to just self-publish. I've been through the traditional and self-publishing experience several times. Here's the issue: I'm 72 and just don't want to wait around for a publisher to pick it up and then the 18-24 months of a publishing schedule. To be honest, I make more money on my KDP books than my trad. books. I'm "over" the thrill of a contract. Also, it seems that so many agents and publishers are looking for diverse, LGBTQ+ authors and such. That's just not me. I know this book has a niche audience and isn't going to be an NYT bestseller.

Any thoughts for this somewhat older author?

I have no advice because it looks as though you've got a plan that suits you.

But I do have a comment about this bit:

Also, it seems that so many agents and publishers are looking for diverse, LGBTQ+ authors and such. That's just not me.

There is no shortage of publishing deals for straight white people, especially men.
 

donnag

Registered
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
This book is unique as the only books written about it are in a different language and are quite old (100 years.) It seems a shame if this book would get lost in the quagmire of publishing.
 

Unimportant

But you can call me Fran, if you prefer. Or birdie
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
11,032
Reaction score
8,255
Location
Aotearoa
I am in the final self-editing and revision stages for a book on the history of Galician peasants (formerly Poland and Ukraine before WWI.) I wrote an article on one aspect of this topic, and it was well received, so I said, "Why not write a whole book."

I sent a query and proposal to several publishers just a week ago. Now, I'm thinking maybe to just self-publish. I've been through the traditional and self-publishing experience several times. Here's the issue: I'm 72 and just don't want to wait around for a publisher to pick it up and then the 18-24 months of a publishing schedule. To be honest, I make more money on my KDP books than my trad. books. I'm "over" the thrill of a contract.
If you have experience (and a successful track record) in self publishing, and you can reasonably assume that your work is sufficiently niche-market that only small, niche-market presses would be interested, and you're doing this for the money, it seems that it would be the financially correct decision to self-publish.
Also, it seems that so many agents and publishers are looking for diverse, LGBTQ+ authors and such. That's just not me.
Agents and publishers are looking for the same things they've always looked for: books that will sell well because they're well written, they'll attract a sufficiently large readership, and they're easily marketable. The fact that agents are publishers are now discriminating less against LGBTQ+ and PoC authors does not mean that what they're looking for isn't you. It just means they're open to a broader range.

ETA: Since you're a very new AW member, I'll just add a word of caution: please do not initiate a conversation about how white and/or heterosexual authors are now being discriminated against or cancelled or frozen out of the publishing industry. Please. Do not go there. It will not end well.
 

ChaseJxyz

Writes 🏳️‍🌈🦅 and 🏳️‍🌈🦅 accessories
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
2,494
Reaction score
2,357
Location
The Rottenest City on the Pacific Coast
Website
www.chasej.xyz
This book is unique as the only books written about it are in a different language and are quite old (100 years.) It seems a shame if this book would get lost in the quagmire of publishing.

So this can go one of two ways:
  1. This is a book that the people have been CLAMBORING for, and will absolutely love that this is now available and will snap this up
  2. There is probably a reason why such a book hasn't been published already, and it isn't looking good for you
Since your book is more on the academic side and in such an incredibly-specific niche, maybe you should aim for smaller/university presses instead of a large trade publisher. But also, if you just want the book to be out there and easily available for whoever needs it, then self-publishing is a good route.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mutive

byarvin

Here!
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 8, 2006
Messages
125
Reaction score
42
Location
Pennsylvania
Website
www.brianyarvin.com
I am in the final self-editing and revision stages for a book on the history of Galician peasants (formerly Poland and Ukraine before WWI.) I wrote an article on one aspect of this topic, and it was well received, so I said, "Why not write a whole book."

I sent a query and proposal to several publishers just a week ago. Now, I'm thinking maybe to just self-publish. I've been through the traditional and self-publishing experience several times. Here's the issue: I'm 72 and just don't want to wait around for a publisher to pick it up and then the 18-24 months of a publishing schedule. To be honest, I make more money on my KDP books than my trad. books. I'm "over" the thrill of a contract. Also, it seems that so many agents and publishers are looking for diverse, LGBTQ+ authors and such. That's just not me. I know this book has a niche audience and isn't going to be an NYT bestseller.

Any thoughts for this somewhat older author?

In my experience, your choices aren't between self-publishing and agents, they're between academic, regional, and niche publishers. I think you should aim your marketing efforts in that direction because they're the ones who'll know the specialist retailers that can make the book work.

It is possible that you can hit it with an agent and big publisher deal. History books are known to do well; think "A Distant Mirror," or "Plain Speaking."

As for your age, it has nothing to do with the process.
 

donnag

Registered
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
If you have experience (and a successful track record) in self publishing, and you can reasonably assume that your work is sufficiently niche-market that only small, niche-market presses would be interested, and you're doing this for the money, it seems that it would be the financially correct decision to self-publish.

Agents and publishers are looking for the same things they've always looked for: books that will sell well because they're well written, they'll attract a sufficiently large readership, and they're easily marketable. The fact that agents are publishers are now discriminating less against LGBTQ+ and PoC authors does not mean that what they're looking for isn't you. It just means they're open to a broader range.

ETA: Since you're a very new AW member, I'll just add a word of caution: please do not initiate a conversation about how white and/or heterosexual authors are now being discriminated against or cancelled or frozen out of the publishing industry. Please. Do not go there. It will not end well.
I'm really not a new member. I moved recently and lost my email that I had been using, so I needed a new account.
 

ChaseJxyz

Writes 🏳️‍🌈🦅 and 🏳️‍🌈🦅 accessories
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
2,494
Reaction score
2,357
Location
The Rottenest City on the Pacific Coast
Website
www.chasej.xyz
I'm really not a new member. I moved recently and lost my email that I had been using, so I needed a new account.
You're not supposed to have more than one account per person. You should email the admin (here I am being smart and totally forgetting her name! I want to say "McCardey" but I'm 90% sure that's wrong) and she'll help you recover it.
 

donnag

Registered
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
10
Reaction score
3
It can't be recovered because I no longer have access to that email. I only have one account now.
 

Unimportant

But you can call me Fran, if you prefer. Or birdie
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 8, 2005
Messages
11,032
Reaction score
8,255
Location
Aotearoa
I'm really not a new member. I moved recently and lost my email that I had been using, so I needed a new account.
MacAllister can sort that. I'll ask them.
 

bunny hugger

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 24, 2022
Messages
70
Reaction score
61
I would second the idea of considering niche or specialist publishers. But if your goal is to make the book tangible as soon as possible, self-publishing is good for that.