If your story and network are good enough, I can probably get you a literary agent to represent you and sell your project even before you have written your non-fiction book.
The steps in non-fiction publishing are usually:
- Have a great story to tell
- Have a strong network to promote your book (if your story is exceptional, publishers might still be interested even if your network is weak)
- Have a polished and completed proposal to send to an agent (usually includes one or two sample chapters)
- Query lots and lots of agents with the proposal
- Chew your nails and hope endlessly that one of them will bite eventually
- Agent tries to sell the manuscript for the highest amount
- You get an advance
- You write the book (if you haven’t written it yet)
- The publisher edits it and publishes it. They will promote it for a few days but you are mostly responsible for promoting it yourself.
If you hire me to write your story for you, I might be able to shortcut the above process for you.
I have built a small network of literary agents whom I work with. These agents are willing to receive quick emails from me to let me know if a project sounds interesting even before the proposal is written.
This is one of the benefits of working with a professional ghostwriter. Agents and publishers are usually hesitant when it comes to new authors. By working with a ghostwriter, they are working with someone they have experience with and trust.
Also, new, inexperienced authors are notorious for having unpolished manuscripts. (This is not always true, of course.)
By bringing in a professional ghostwriter, the agent and publisher are more at ease because they know there is likely to be less work for them during the final editing phase.
Professional publishing and advances
Once an agent has a strong proposal and one or two sample chapters, they can try to sell the project to publishers.
There will usually be an advance for the project. The amount for the advance depends on (1) the strength of the story, (2) your network, and (3) how confident they are that the writing itself will be top-class. (Again, a professional ghostwriter here helps a lot.)
Advances can be as low as a few thousand dollars to as much as six figures. It depends on the three things mentioned above.
How it works when you hire me
- You tell me a bit about the story you want to write, as well as about your network.
- If I think the story has the potential to be sold for a decent advance, I’ll pitch it in a quick email to a few of the agents on my ever-growing list.
- If one of them is keen, I’ll tell you. But I will not share their details with you unless you and I then enter into business. (Why not? Because agents simply don’t take “random queries” from people they don’t work with. I am privileged and honored that they allow me to email them directly. Agents are busy people.)
- You and I agree on a fee to get the proposal and sample chapters done. This is usually between $5,000 and $10,000, but it depends on the project’s complexity.
- We do the proposal and sample chapters. I then introduce you to the agent and we fix up the proposal in light of the agent’s feedback. (You are also welcome to then pitch that proposal to other agents you find. It’s up to you.)
- You are under no obligation to continue working with me after that point. But I will let the agent know this, and it is up to them if they want to risk taking on a project from a new author without a pro ghostwriter behind it. (If you are an exceptional writer and have a lot of time on your hands, this probably won’t matter. And I am totally fine with whatever you decide to do.)
- If you do decide to continue working with me, you can then decide if you want to proceed immediately with the rest of the project, paying me from your own funds
- We can wait until the agent sells the project and secures an advance. Then you can pay me from that amount if you prefer.