I received a query recently by a person interested in taking a painful personal crisis and turning it into a book. They admitted to having no idea where to begin. Could I help them?
The following is my response after finding out the word count they had to date and the manuscripts potential length.
It sounds like you do have a book after all. A non-fiction book is anywhere between 40,000 words to 55,000 words. Some come in a 60,000, but I tend to like the lower word count. Today’s reader is often pressed for time.
I would imagine a good editor might trim about 5,000 words out of your manuscript. That is about average. But keep on writing and get your story down.
The best thing to do is go to your library and ask if they know of any writers groups in your area. Join one.
A few good books you might also ask about at your library would be:
(But if you can buy a copy - this is the one I would invest in if you plan on writing more non-fiction books). This book also tells you what you need in a book proposal. You will need a solid proposal to approach an agent.
- Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont is also a great book I often recommend on the craft of writing.
Once you have a proposal, you can look up agents that are looking for your type of book in The Writers Market Guide. (library's usually carry a copy of this book as well).
The biggest piece of advice I can offer is: DO NOT BE IN A HURRY. Research all you need to do and do not rush the process. You only get one shot most of the time when you approach an agent. Come prepared and you might procure an agent and get your book eventually published.
I hope this information is helpful.