Querying a Nonfiction Weight Loss Memoir type book

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

Mom

Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
71
Reaction score
8
Location
Somewhere in Time and Space
Hi, everyone -

My question is actually one that came up in my writer's group, and we never reached a satisfying answer. One member of our group is working on a book about her massive weight loss. It's actually a pretty funny book, from the bits I've read so far. It's a collection of essays chronicling her experience losing about 150 pounds. She had weight loss surgery. It isn't gastric bypass or the lap-band, but a newer procedure (sorry I don't remember the name of it). She said she noticed there were basically no books out there written about her particular surgery from a patient perspective. Tons of gastric bypass and lap band books, but very few (or none, maybe) about her type of surgery.

This is still a WIP. At this point, she is still writing the first draft. She thinks she might be done at the end of the year, depending on how long her editor takes to do his part. (Yes, she plans to pay an editor on her own...)

A few members of our group suggested she go ahead and start querying agents now. It was suggested that she put together a proposal package.

Other members (myself included) suggested that she finishes the book before querying.

I know that nonfiction works a bit differently than fiction when it comes to querying agents, and they are sometimes not written until after an agent agrees to rep it... but with a book like this I thought an agent might expect a finished product at the time of querying.

What do you all think?

I will also add that this writer is considering self-publishing the book, feeling that it is sort of a niche market and might not attract the attention of big publishers. She wants to try the trade route first, though, and see if there is any interest.

Thanks in advance for any opinions and advice. I'll share what you all say at our next meeting! :)
 

JanetReid

Absolute Sage
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 5, 2020
Messages
214
Reaction score
65
Location
New York NY
This is a memoir, and thus should be finished before the writer starts to query. She's got a big challenge ahead because this kind of book is largely platform-driven. In other words, she needs a fan base BEFORE she queries.

You might give her a copy of GET KNOWN BEFORE THE BOOK DEAL to help her get started.
 

Mom

Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 15, 2010
Messages
71
Reaction score
8
Location
Somewhere in Time and Space
This is a memoir, and thus should be finished before the writer starts to query. She's got a big challenge ahead because this kind of book is largely platform-driven. In other words, she needs a fan base BEFORE she queries.

You might give her a copy of GET KNOWN BEFORE THE BOOK DEAL to help her get started.


Great advice! Thank you - I'll pass that along. :)
 

Happy Thanksgiving

Autumn image for Thanksgiving