The “Why You?” Question in Publishing: Your Experience

You’ll want to begin the publishing process by taking stock of your career and experience at this point. Is there anything about your current profession and resume that would make your proposal more attractive to a publisher?

For instance, a fiction writer who wants to tell the story of a policeman who served for years as an officer or state trooper will have an easy time convincing a publisher that he can write a convincing novel about such a character. That isn’t to say that you can’t write about something based on research, but writing about something where you have past experience will give you an extra credential to consider.

Nonfiction writers will need real-world experience and/or education for their own credentials. One former greeting card writer wrote a book called House of Cards about his time working for Hallmark, in Three Cups of Tea one man tells the story of his work building schools in Afghanistan, and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell has used his experience researching and writing for the New Yorker (confirm) to lay the groundwork for his books. 

A great idea and a catchy title are just the beginning of publishing a book. Depending on your goals and your genre you’ll need to think about how your past work, volunteer, and writing experience have prepared you for publishing your book.

When you list out your experience and credentials you’ll want to be sure you have a list that raises eyebrows instead of causes a yawn. You may need to look into new volunteer experiences, a degree program, and even a new career. In the case of fiction writers such extremes may not be quite as necessary, but then again you need to think about the factors that will enable you to tell the kind of story you’re imagining.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about the role of education in answering the “Why you?” question in publishing.