Publishing Confidential: The Inside Guide to What It Really Takes to Land a Nonfiction Book Deal

Overview

"Any number of books explain ""how to write a book,"" but getting a book published is the hard part. Aside from talent, writers need a strategy for distinguishing their efforts from countless others. (No, don’t use pink paper.) Paul B. Brown has been an author on a dozen books with sales totaling more than 2 million copies. So you could say he knows what it takes. In Getting Published, Brown offers a straightforward approach to test-marketing book ideas, creating strong ...

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Overview

"Any number of books explain ""how to write a book,"" but getting a book published is the hard part. Aside from talent, writers need a strategy for distinguishing their efforts from countless others. (No, don’t use pink paper.) Paul B. Brown has been an author on a dozen books with sales totaling more than 2 million copies. So you could say he knows what it takes. In Getting Published, Brown offers a straightforward approach to test-marketing book ideas, creating strong proposals, reaching the right editors and agent, and more.

Equally important, he provides inside tips for how to become an integral part of the publisher’s marketing and sales efforts. The book also gives pointers on nontraditional arrangements such as self- and subsidy-based publishing.

The book’s many valuable tools include sample contract language, a fully annotated book proposal, and exercises to help authors identify what they may be doing right and wrong. With abundant humor and unparalleled insight, Brown debunks the myths and misconceptions in favor of trustworthy and effective advice."

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Editorial Reviews

New Business Today
starts where all the other how-to-write a book books leave off.
April 2004
ALA Booklist
How he writes is pure entertainment, complete with editorial sidebars, footnotes imbued with laugh-out-loud information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814472262
  • Publisher: AMACOM
  • Publication date: 3/1/2004
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul B. Brown (Duxbury, MA, and Glen Rock, NJ) is an author of Customers for Life, Lessons from the Top, and many others. He is a former reporter and editor for BusinessWeek, Forbes, Financial World, and Inc. magazines.

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Table of Contents

"1. Are you sure you want to be here?

2. Here’s what you’re up against: An introduction to where we are heading.

3. What color shirts do your readers wear? (And other audience-defining questions)

4. The (!@#$%!*) Proposal

5. Agents and Other Unreal Experiences: The Good News and the Bad News

6. Pitching the Publisher: Dos and Don’ts

7. You Do the Deal: Tips for Negotiating the Contract

8. You Write the Book

9. After the Book Is Published -- Your Work Begins

Appendix: Three proposals for books of mine that have sold"

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First Chapter

Publishing Confidential


By Paul B. Brown

AMACOM Books

Copyright © 2004 Paul B. Brown
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-8144-7226-5


Foreword

You have just acquired one helluva guide to the process of crafting a proposal, selling it, and ultimately delivering a finished manuscript. Paul B. Brown is an experienced and accomplished pro, and in this book he delivers remarkably smart and pragmatic advice for every wannabe author who wants to put him or herself through the torture of writing a book.

Yes, I mean torture. I've written or coauthored eight books (a half-dozen fewer than Paul), and as a professional writer, author, and editor, I can tell you that there's little I've ever done in this world that is as emotionally exhausting or as mentally taxing as writing a good book. Or, I should add, as intellectually challenging or ego satisfying. A book invites deep and engaged introspection, as well as obsession. It is an all-consuming affair that is as demanding as anything you will ever do. This is Chinese water torture times ten.

That's why I wish I had had access to Paul's wise counsel when I first decided to become an author nearly twenty years ago with a book called The Headhunters. It would have made the job so much easier. I've always marveled at Paul's ability to juggle numerous writing projects, including books, with the aplomb of one of those frenetic plate spinners on the Ed Sullivan Show. We met when we were both "the lowliest" staff members at Forbes magazine in the early 1980s. Paul was as productive a writer then as he is now. One other fact worth noting: He is one of the least suffering of all the writers I know, which makes him the perfect person to dispense advice to anyone ambitious enough to write a book.

Publishing Confidential gives you the basics with wit, irreverence, simplicity, and good sense. In other words, it's a how-to, tell-it-like-it-is book that delivers the goods. Filled with personal observations and anecdotes, Publishing Confidential brings readers behind the scenes of the publishing business and into the mind of an incredibly prolific writer and author. Paul's tale of how a focus group (yes, believe it or not) shaped the writing and editing of one of his early and most successful books, Customers for Life, is worth the price of admission alone. So is his two-step litmus test for what you may want to write.

What's new?

Why should anyone care?

Besides, no matter what you do, there can be a rather compelling career reason to write a good book. There's no better calling card or credential for you and what you offer the world. A book instantly confers "expert" status. After my first book was published, I was amazed at how people suddenly thought of me differently. I was no longer a reporter who dashed off a story on a subject. I was now an unqualified authority. Other writers came to me to comment on the business of executive search or on individual players in the industry. The world's largest search firms sought me out to speak at their annual conferences.

A book can be a powerful endorsement of your knowledge or expertise. A few years ago, the magazine I now edit ran a famous cover story written by management guru Tom Peters. It was called "The Brand Called You." The idea was simple: all of us are our own brands. We not only have to invest in ourselves; we have to market ourselves to the world in a way that enriches our brand. If we're to cultivate and nourish our careers, and protect ourselves in a world where there is little loyalty shown to employees by corporations, then we have to market and promote ourselves with the same thought and energy that P&G brings to a soap or a detergent. There are few things that can more effectively help one's brand than a book, even one that never hits the bestseller lists.

But there's something else that is magical about getting a book published under your own name, walking into a bookstore or a library and seeing your book on the shelf, or, even better, sitting in an airplane or a train and watching a stranger read your own words off a page. Here I'm reminded of some wonderful advice a friend gave me. He said he had three goals in life: to plant a tree, to have a son, and to write a book. The ambition in all of us requires that we leave some mark on the world to let others know we lived and we made a difference, however small. I know Paul's sage advice can help many others realize that dream as well.

John A. Byrne Editor-in-Chief, Fast Company Coauthor of Jack: Straight from the Gut

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Publishing Confidential by Paul B. Brown Copyright © 2004 by Paul B. Brown. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2004

    Practical advice on what it takes to get published.

    One of the things I have noticed is all the books that allegedly tell you how to get your book publish spend an awful lot of time on how to write, and very little on how to contact an editor or agent. This book delivers against its title and is extremely helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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