Platforms and Proposals

There’s a couple of good writing blogs I’ve been subscribed to for the past month or two. Rachelle Gardner, Terry Whalin, and Chip Macgregor have all provided some great insight into the publishing industry. Check them out if you are looking to learn more about books and writing.

It was about a year ago that I decided to write a book about the intersection of sports and faith from a Christian’s perspective. That journey has had its ups and downs, but mostly I’ve enjoyed it. I spent a solid 4 months writing from September until the end of last year. I got about half of the book written and even found an agent who was willing to shop it around for me.

As most of you know, we couldn’t get any Publishing Houses to bite. Most of them were not comfortable with my small platform. They want authors who will sell books based on who they are and the readership they already have. I know you, dear reader, will probably buy my book when it is finally finished, but unfortunately there’s not enough of you yet to make a big splash.

(I had one editor at a smaller House get the book most of the way through the process, but he couldn’t convince the seller – the person at a Pub House who sells the book to bookstores – to jump on board. They were a Christian Publisher and they were afraid of the sports angle because it hasn’t really been done before.)

Anyway, the point of this post was to say that I’ve spent the past 4 months with the book on the shelf, and I’m ready to get back to it with a slightly new direction. I’ve refocused everything about the book, including the title, and I’m excited to give it another go.

And in terms of what I’m up against, here’s a few quotes from the aforementioned Rachelle Garnder’s blog:

[with regards to whether a non-fiction writer needs to have a book complete before submitting a proposal] “(If you are a) non-fiction writer, no published books, small or modest platform (or no platform): It’s not required to have the whole book written, but the more you have, the better. Since publishers will have to make their decision on the book itself and not the platform, they’re going to want to see as much as possible unless they love the three sample chapters so much they spontaneously start throwing money at you.

And also:

But remember this caveat: if you have a huge platform, if you’re a celebrity or a well-known politician or Jerry Seinfeld’s wife, all bets are off. Pay no attention to what I’ve written here. All you have to do is whisper in someone’s ear “I’m thinking of writing a book” and agents will beat down your door to represent you, and publishers will fall all over themselves to publish you. That’s the way the world works, folks.