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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tips For Experienced Artists Who Would Like to Author Art Books

I thought I would share some personal tips and strategies that were helpful to me in getting my first book contract.

 Know the book you want to write and target the publisher who publishes that type of book. I think we all have had friends and acquaintances who will tell you how they just received their 10th manuscript rejection and now are going to send it to "next ten" publishers on their list. Taking shots in the dark like this are not likely to get you a book deal. You should do a massive amount of research and familiarize yourself with the publishers who do the type of book you wish to write. For example, if a publisher only does art books on Monet and Picasso and they do not do "how to" art books, look elsewhere. I easily spent 40 hours on my upfront research and at the end of the process, I was familiar with the genres/types of books from more than 20 publishers and I knew the ones who were the best fit for the specific kind of book I wanted to write. 

When you have narrowed down your list to the two or three publishers on point with your book topic,  you still need to do more research.  If you want to write a book on "19th Century Stoneware", you should familiarize yourself with any and all previous books on the topic of ceramics and stoneware. Googlebooks and Amazon will provide you the titles of such books.  Then, you will have to distinguish in your book proposal how your book will be different than other similar ones on the market. Don't hesitate to flip through books on point or close to your topic.  You may be able to check out these books for the library or flip through them at bookstores.  If there are books on your exact topic, I would advise you to carefully review these books.

Follow the publisher's submission process for your book exactly! This information should be on their website. If they do not accept direct submissions from would be authors, get an agent. Also be sure to first google the publisher to make certain they are not a vanity publisher.  You should not be spending a dime in this process beyond the cost of mailing your manuscript and a few other incidental costs. 

And finally, one of the hottest growing areas in the publishing industry are books by niche publishers. These niche publishers have ready made audiences who have strong commitments to and knowledge of certain topics.  These audiences are always eagerly awaiting new well written books on their favorite subjects.

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