Finally, I’ve found information on writing non-fiction that is written by an author with credentials that look impressive…and she has been published by a number of main stream publishers too.
Jenna Glatzer started a thread in the Absolute Write Forums called Learn The Nonfiction Book Publication Process With Momma Jenna.
Below is an abbreviation of the questions for The First Steps in my own words tailored for my project, please visit the website to read what Jenna has to say.
1. Do you have enough material to write a whole book or would an article suit your needs better?
In this step, Jenna states that a non-fiction book is usually 70,000 words or more. Now this is the kind of information I was after. She also asks if you’re sure you want to be immersed in the topic every day for six months or so and are you qualified to write about the topic. I can comfortably say “yes” to both these things. She starts her planning by writing out a quick outline, the chapter headings and, in point form, what she wants to include in each chapter.
2. Is there an audience for the topic?
This is straight forward. I know there’s an audience for my topic. However, I also know the market is narrower than most non-fiction books. People in my situation will probably want to read the book and some people who have not experienced suicide will read it out of curiosity, but I believe that with the right marketing, the book could be used to raise suicide awareness in unaffected families too.
3. What other books have already been written on the subject?
I visited the library today. The suicide section is small, very small. In fact, there were a total of five books on the shelves (not including the duplicates). The books are worn and well used. I noticed that most of them had pencil marks throughout the pages. I also checked Amazon. In excess of 10 pages of books came up, not all of them were serious suicide books though. I will visit the local bookstore tomorrow and see what is available to buy. I intend to compile a list of the titles and author names for my records.
4. Do you have access to people to interview in order to make the book a success?
In my case, Barry is the subject and my family are the ones left to deal with the grief. However, I have access to a group filled with parents of children who have lost a child to suicide and they have agreed to help me.