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Pitching A Book To Publishers


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#1 Hellfish6

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Posted 11 October 2018 - 1528 PM

Hi guys

 

Anyone have military-specific advice for pitching a book to publishers? I have what I think is an interesting non-fiction military affairs topic, I have experience with the topic, and I think it would make a good non-fiction, illustrated book. I've cold-pitched it to a couple of publishers recently - including Osprey, which I thought would be an ideal fit for the subject, style and content - but was pretty unceremoniously shot down. With no explanation other that something to the effect of my "book is not suitable." Another publisher passed as he doubted the availability of high-resolution historical photos for illustrations, as he publishes photo-heavy books primarily aimed at modelers and vehicle enthusiasts. If I'm able to dig up sufficient numbers of attractive photos on my subject, he might be interested in the future. Unfortunately, I am not a very good photographer and I live OCONUS and don't get back often enough to dive into NARA's photo library.

 

My pitch was about five pages, with an author's statement, author information, and a fairly detailed outline. I also included separate pdfs of sample images (some from my own collection, some from US military sources) and my working bibliography.

 

I've looked online at places that offer advice on pitching non-fiction, and followed their advice, but I'm a bit disheartened. I know some of you are published authors in the realm of military history and military affairs, so do you have any advice? Can you share your experiences - how did you get picked up by the publisher? Did you approach them or did they approach you based on previous work? How did you present your idea to them? How did it change between concept and publishing? How long did it take you?


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#2 RETAC21

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Posted 13 October 2018 - 0304 AM

Try to post this in the Mil Hist forum, here it may not be visible. Have you thought about self publishing?


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#3 Leo Niehorster

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Posted 13 October 2018 - 0446 AM

Try and find an agent. They take part of any royalties, but they have the contacts. They also advise if they think they can sell it, and of any changes, copy-editing needed, etc. to your manuscript.

They might even have contacts which provide photographs. (These will also take another part of the royalties.)

I have no personal experience, just heard from others who have.


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#4 Hellfish6

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Posted 13 October 2018 - 0907 AM

Try to post this in the Mil Hist forum, here it may not be visible. Have you thought about self publishing?

I'll do that, thanks. I had thought about self-publishing, but I've seen a lot of other people self-publish and the quality is typically awful. I'm not sure I have the time to do it all on my own, especially without someone to objectively edit my writing and gut-check my choices.

 

Try and find an agent. They take part of any royalties, but they have the contacts. They also advise if they think they can sell it, and of any changes, copy-editing needed, etc. to your manuscript.

They might even have contacts which provide photographs. (These will also take another part of the royalties.)

I have no personal experience, just heard from others who have.

 

I thought about that too. I'm not looking to make money off this book, so royalties aren't important to me. I just want to write about something I'm genuinely interested in and publish it. I'd much prefer to do it in book form rather than pdf or a website, as at least with a book I can point to something physical I helped create (and being a published author would help my career a bit).


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