On Developing Non-Fiction

I love, love, love very intelligent non-fiction published for the popular market. I love it when writers treat readers seriously, and engage their capacity for thoughtful and meaningful dialogue.

Much of my own work on the non-fiction development end requires engaging academics on their area of expertise, both from a philosophical perspective (where philosophy is understood here as the body of theoretical thought underlying a discipline; every discipline has a conceptual theory that underlies it) as well as a reader’s one: Why exactly is this true? Why would you start here? Have you thought about this before? Here’s what I’d want to learn from you.

Sometimes being a literary agent is a little bit like being an academic, and I couldn’t love it more.

While I don’t break the full template in public, here are some general categories for consideration:

  • Book Overview
  • Book Need & Uniqueness
  • Book Structure
  • Expected Manuscript Completion
  • Author Biography
  • Competitive Title Analysis
  • Marketing Plan
  • Table of Contents
  • Chapter Summaries
  • Sample Chapters

One might say that the purview of the development and editorial process here lies to a great extent in the hands of the agent, and so I’ve elected not to share more of my own template for these proposals here, but you can see some more extended questions to consider via another agency here as well as another (former) agent’s list of concepts here.

If you’re interested in working on a non-fiction project with me for the trade market, and have the personal experience, academic expertise, professional expertise, marketing platform, or any combination of these qualities, don’t hesitate to submit an inquiry email to weronika@lightningbugspub.com.

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