It seems the procedure for non-fiction isn’t the same as fiction.
With fiction, a writer spends many months writing, editing and proofing the manuscript until they get it to the best of their ability. Then they send out queries and hopefully receive a request to submit.
With non-fiction, a writer spends months (probably not as many months as fiction) writing, editing and proofing the proposal instead. Apparently, the proposal is done first, along with three sample chapters. There’s no need to spend long months writing the entire project. It seems you should be testing the market first. If you get a bite, then you start work on the actual project. But if you don’t get any bites, you start thinking about another project…or you self publish.
Although I can see the sense in this, being a writer of fiction first and foremost, I will be writing the entire non-fiction project prior to sending out the proposal. When I realised this was my preferred procedure, I had to ask myself why. I thought about it much longer than I wanted too, and actually lost sleep over it, but I came to the conclusion that I prefer the “write then propose” procedure over the “propose then write” procedure because it takes the pressure off as I can work at my own pace.
Now this makes me wonder how I would cope if I was commissioned or contracted to write a book with a deadline. Could I handle the pressure, the stress? Would I be able to write regularly enough to meet that deadline? The mere thought frightens me. I would like to think that the fact that my work was going to be published would be inspiring enough for me to get a routine happening, and I’d prioritise so that I got the necessary work done in time with room to spare. But would it? Isn’t it possible the contract might have the reverse affect on me? I could freeze and be unable to write. Fear might take control of me.
We often hear the phrase “fear of failure”, but in all honesty, I fear success. I’ve known that for a long time. Are you scared of failure or success?