Not too long ago, I announced that I would be reviewing two books promising to teach you how to write a novel in 30 days and that I would then be pitting them against each other in actual tests. (Read the reviews or you can visit my book marketing blog to follow my progress with the two plans.)
In the comments of that announcement, I asked readers to suggest resources that would help a writer through the process of writing a nonfiction book as well. Someone suggested Damn! Why Didn't I Write That?: How Ordinary People Are Raking in $100,000.00 or More Writing Niche Books & How You Can Too! by Marc McCutcheon (who coincidentally also wrote my favorite book on basic character traits for fiction - Building Believable Characters).
My first reaction, even just looking at the title and cover, was "this is probably going to be one of those spammy sorts of books in line with garbage e-books" - you know the ones I mean - the books written only to push the author's website, services, programs, etc, as a marketing tool rather than a real resource.
I was wrong. I read most of the book in a single sitting, which is rare for me these days (I didn't read through all of the success stories - I'm the type that wants to get to the meat of something and not hear what other people have done, although I'm sure that appeals to a lot of readers).
I was pleasantly surprised by all of the good information here, from choosing niches to write a nonfiction book in to writing the book proposal, dealing with publishing contracts, and promoting your book beyond what a publisher's publicity / marketing folks will do for you. For those of you who like to see real income numbers used for examples, there's plenty of that thrown in too.
- Sample publishing contract for demonstration purposes
- An explanation of the different rights involved in selling a book
- A huge list of books and the number of copies sold to give you background on nonfiction books, how niches fare against each other, etc.
- Sample agent / author contract
- Example query letter
- Example book proposal
Given that this is a relatively short book compared to others I've picked up on writing-related issues, I was shocked to see so much information crammed in there. McCutcheon talks in the book about cutting the fat in your writing to improve the ratio of information to words. He's quite good at it.
I can't think of a single reason you shouldn't have a copy of this book if you have any interest in publishing nonfiction books. It won't take you to earning the big bucks overnight, but it will get you past wanting to write a book to actually doing it.