Saturday, April 11, 2009

You had me at hello...and then you kept talking

I'm always on the lookout for good business oriented non-fiction. As you might imagine, given my job, I read a lot of "how to sell" and "how to network" and "how to be efficient with your time" kinds of books. (In case you do too, the best book so far is still Harvey Mackay's Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive and all of Julie Morgenstern's books)

If you plan to query an agent with a book in this category, you need to mention if you've already had it printed and assigned an ISBN number by xlibris, AuthorHouse, or any of the printing companies in that category.

Why? Because one of the biggest markets for books like this is back of the room sales at the author's speaking engagements. If you've already tapped that market with the book you've had printed earlier, that makes a difference in expected sales.

And if you plan to query about this kind of book, one of the first things I look for is not only platform (ie those speaking engagements) but also your real world experience. That's one reason I listen to Harvey Mackay. He actually worked in a company for many years; he wasn't just a consultant or speaker. This is when you say: "I worked in telecommunications sales for 16 years before becoming a consultant."

There are a lot of people in this world who'll tell you they know a better way to do the job. The ones to whom I listen say "I know cause I worked in that field and this is what I learned."


Alexander Field said...

Okay, I was just blog surfing when I read the title of this post, which by the way, should be the title of a book by an agent for writers (perhaps you?). Genius. Anyway, I agree with your post. When we sign an author who has a self-published book, we always ask how many they've's a big deal. : )

laughingwolf said...

nothing like 'hands on', for sure... and you already know, doing the same thing for 20 years is NOT 20 years' experience

Jenn Johansson said...

I enjoy reading non-fiction too, but the first thing that will make me put the book down is if I feel like the writer doesn't have the knowledge or experience to be teaching me about this topic.

Kirti said...

Just found your blog today and have already learned a lot...thank you!

Tara Maya said...

It's interesting that sometimes strong sales on a self-published book (especially non-fiction) indicates that it could do even better. Other times, it leads to worry that the market has already been tapped out. What determines the difference?

Jo said...

I'm interested as well in the point that Tara Maya brought up. Not only self-published books but those published by a very small or foreign independent publisher. If there are some previous sales is that a plus or a minus when a large traditional publisher is concerned?