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Non-fiction PBs

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iyerani

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Hi,

I have some NF PB manuscripts ready to be sent out. I am seeking information about how many actually sold their NF PB via

1. Slush

2. Agent

3. WFH


It seems to me that most NF is written for WFH market. Am I wrong?

Is there a poll somewhere to find out this information?

Thanks.

Rani
#1 - December 08, 2010, 12:41 PM

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My experience has been more WFH involving a commission - in which the publisher gives a very specific brief to write on a particular topic of their choice, involving payment in advance and royalties. I have also been paid an up front WFH fee (without royalties), but still for topics the publisher chose.
I hope this helps.
#2 - December 08, 2010, 01:16 PM
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink (August 2018)

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It really depends on the publisher and the market. Overall I'd say that trade publishers of PB NF pay royalties and advances. Many publishers do the occasional NF PB, but companies such as Holiday House and Charlesbridge are KNOWN for their interest in this market. If you approach an institutional publisher--someone specializing in the school and library market--you are more likely to encounter a WFH situation.

Agents are fairly scarce in this area, whether trade or institutional.

Julie, would you agree with the above, and are you comfortable with naming publishers? That will help iyerani, even if the specific publisher isn't quite right, but just to get a sense of the market.
#3 - December 08, 2010, 06:35 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

tamigirl

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Rani you might want to go to the I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) blog and poke around a bit. The authors who contribute to that blog are listed with links to their websites in a column on the right.
#4 - December 08, 2010, 07:43 PM

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I'll second what Julie, Harold and Tami say. All my books are WFH ... educational pubs (Capstone, Macmillan-McGraw-Hill, Perfection Learning, etc.) and they assign the topics based on my interests expressed originally  (math, science, nature). But if you are pitching your own ideas and have complete manuscripts, submit to the trade market. Study the nonfiction books that are sold in regular stores (not necessarily just in schools). INK is a great site.

Good luck, Rani.
Vijaya
#5 - December 08, 2010, 10:52 PM
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iyerani

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Thanks all.

So, the general consensus seems to be that WFH is easier to publish.

Harold, thanks for the leads. I am surprised there are so few NF PB publishers. I will certainly spend some time researching for the publishers.

Tami, nice to see you here. Thanks for the INK suggestion.

Julie and vijaya, thanks for sharing your leads.

Just reminds me how much there is to do!

Happy Holidays everyone.
#6 - December 09, 2010, 11:09 AM

shoniker

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If you are interested in writing F for the educational market...
Laura Salas has an on-line class on writing for the educational market or you can purchase a self-guided textbook.  (www.laurasalas dot com)
Also, Evelyn Christensen has a list of educational publishers on her website

I am new to this market myself and have been researching it for a while. 
I am getting ready to submit my first proposal and will be looking for BB to crit a sample NF MS that I will be including. 
Anyone interested... :hiding
#7 - December 09, 2010, 12:29 PM

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Harold, thanks for the leads. I am surprised there are so few NF PB publishers. I will certainly spend some time researching for the publishers.
I didn't mean to suggest there are few NF PB publishers. Many publishers do publish NF PBs. But I thought you might want to know that there are companies that have a reputation for doing quite a few of them. And you'll find more when you do your research.

I worked for a few years at Charlesbridge, and I love the genre.

Good luck!
#8 - December 09, 2010, 06:24 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

shoniker

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If you are interested in writing F for the educational market...
Laura Salas has an on-line class on writing for the educational market or you can purchase a self-guided textbook.  (www.laurasalas dot com)
Also, Evelyn Christensen has a list of educational publishers on her website

Ooops...
That should say
If you are interested in writing NF for the educational market...
#9 - December 09, 2010, 06:42 PM

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Julie, would you agree with the above, and are you comfortable with naming publishers? That will help iyerani, even if the specific publisher isn't quite right, but just to get a sense of the market.

Sorry to be a bit slow in getting back to this thread. Harold, all my experience (limited as it is) has been with educational publishers, so I can't talk about Trade. I'd LOVE to, mind you, maybe one day....

Like Vijaya, I have worked for Capstone (WFH). In Australia, I have written for royalties (with no advance) for a packager, and for advance+royalties for Macmillan.
#10 - December 09, 2010, 06:52 PM
I've Got Eyes! - Amicus Ink (August 2018)

www.juliemurphybooks.com

iyerani

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Thanks all. I have tried to get into educational markets for the last 5-years. I have done Laura's course. Still no luck with US markets. O, well! One has to keep tying.

Thanks much.

Rani
#11 - December 10, 2010, 10:54 AM

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Hi, I have one royalty non-fiction picture book  and many WFH. It is certainly easier for me anyway to get WFH. I guess that's because I just need to convince the editors I can write accurately and on time, and they have series they want to get out. With MY books, I have to convince a publisher that it will sell.

There is a non-fiction list serve that might be worth checking out NFforkids -- you can google the name and apply to join. People on that list have published all over.

Good luck.
amy
#12 - December 12, 2010, 06:52 PM
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Aud

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I haven't done any WFH, but I have two nonfiction picture books. One is out with the Collins imprint of HarperCollins. Clarion's publishing another one in spring 2012. Both were sold by my agent (to answer the original question).
#13 - December 12, 2010, 07:10 PM

iyerani

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Thanks Aud and Amy,

It does look like we need an agent to sell NF too. Never knew that!

Is that a good thing? :stars

Not sure.

Thanks for sharing your experience.


#14 - December 13, 2010, 05:33 PM

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Some agents represent NF, especially for clients who write other types of books. That doesn't mean that you need an agent to sell a NF PB to a trade house.
#15 - December 13, 2010, 07:16 PM
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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About half my books are NF. One or two are WFH, the rest are trade or educational NF (Charlesbridge, Walker, Millbrook, Beach Lane, Sterling, Houghton Mifflin). Of those, I've sold a number without an agent. Persistence has a lot to do with it.  I prefer to write the manuscript and then sell it, although I've done it both ways.  You need to find a really attractive topic, or a new slant on an old topic--in other words you've got to be original (but not too original--in which case you cross the line into weird).  And you have to keep polishing your prose.  To sell it by proposal, you need to put the same level of work into that as you would the book itself.   

Ellen Jackson
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#16 - December 13, 2010, 07:31 PM
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Hi again,
I didn't have an agent to sell my book. I did have patience -- and am practicing it again now   :mob  as I submit and wait to hear on more trade books.

good luck.
amy
#17 - December 14, 2010, 06:31 AM
How Things Work (Publications International, 2006)
Bugs & Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter (Boyds Mill Press, 2010)
Touch the Earth (NASA, 2009)

iyerani

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Thanks Harold, Ellen and Amy.

So, when you say you must be persistent, how many months or years did it take to sell one book?

Thanks

Rani
#18 - January 03, 2011, 03:45 PM

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