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How to write and publish an academic textbook or self help book?

Greetings. I have my PhD in Clinical Psychology and I've had an idea on writing a comprehensive book on a certain culture that IMO is understudied in the literature. There is absolutely a market for this at the moment.

But I have no idea how to begin outside of accumulating research. Are there recommendations for structuring a textbook? Do you still have to query publishers, or does it work differently in the world of self help and textbooks?

Writing | 👁 1446 | Posted 2018-03-07 | Share on Facebook | Twitter | Google+

| Modified: 2018-03-07 | Author:

4 Comments

ThyNinya 2 years ago

its not self help if your getting help from others

Negative_Splace 2 years ago

Okay, so most agents will want a finished novel or screenplay to look at before they consider it. But when it comes to non-fiction, a detailed pitch is often all they are looking for. They will then give you a word limit and notes about structure etc. So I would advise writing a detailed pitch of the content you want to include, and send it out to a few agents to gag interest and test the water. Don't stress about sending anything finished; that's more of a novelists' approach. This is the general rule I encountered for non fiction when I worked in publishing.

natha105 2 years ago

Self help, and textbooks are completely different beasts. Text books your target market is the handful of professors who might make the book you write required reading in their course. You should start by simply reaching out to them, pitching the book, and seeing if they would assign it if you wrote it. Then its just a question of whether their university has some kind of anti-competitive contract with a major publisher and if not you can self-publish the things and make all the profit yourself. On the other hand, a self help book is sold to consumers one by one. That pretty well means getting a publisher if you want it in book stores, or figuring out your own marketing plan if you just want to do an e-book. But the point is that the two are completely different beasts.

scijior 2 years ago

Yes, you must query publishers. The largest difference is that in fiction publishers typically demand an agent, but in non-fiction you essentially produce a table of contents, synopsis, and query letter and send those to the publisher directly. University presses are probably your best candidates for a home for your work. I would look up university presses, see what they're looking for, find a home for your work, contact them directly.


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