In August, Forbes ran an article headlining the fact that traditional publishers sold more nonfiction than fiction. For an author, something like that might make you wonder, “Am I writing the right thing?”
When most people think about writing a book, they either think of writing the Great American Novel or a self-help book about something they know how to do well.
According to the statistics, 2013 was the last year that adult fiction made publishers more money than nonfiction. Go figure.
So I should be writing nonfiction.
Would it surprise you to know I have two nonfiction titles published?
I do. Both of them are Bible studies.
Would it shock you to know that the last writer’s conference I attended I was pitching a Christian living book (yes, nonfiction)?
No one was buying. Whereas every fiction book I’ve pitched at conferences has inspired plenty of upfront interest.
It was a shocking experience for me. In retrospect, I chalk it up to not knowing the correct way to pitch nonfiction. I needed to have more data, and a better hook.
Still, the experience left behind a slimy residue that makes me leery of moving forward on that nonfiction book.
Except, I’m writing another Bible study even now. I plan to release it this summer.
The abandoned proposal for the Christian living book? It’s also on the schedule for resurrection in 2019.
The Bible Study
Since publishing my second Bible study, I’ve been bombarded with ideas for another study. A dozen new ideas shined forth each time I sat down to brainstorm.
But none of them stuck.
For a couple weeks, I was sure WHAT IS TRUTH? Would win my interest.
I’m not going to push ahead on writing a Bible study without complete surety that God wants me to write it. To me that means the ideas for chapters pour out. A tone comes to mind and I can write a summary of each chapter using it.
And that didn’t happen.
Time and again I found cool ideas but their trails ran cold before a solid outline could be hammered out.
Until FEED YOUR FAITH popped up as I decided what to teach at the church ladies’ retreat in October. I gave them my chapter on lettuce (make that “Let us” from the Book of Hebrews) and the lesson wrote itself.
The chapter outline took a little longer, but before too long, it came forth. Now, half the chapters are written.
One thing I decided to do since my second study book is so slender is to have a devotional section. In this case, I crafted three days of devotional readings that will complement each lesson. AND I drafted a sample weekly schedule so each chapter can be considered during the entire week of the study.
Through the Valley of Shadows
The Christian living book has a darker message. It chronicles my own journey through grief. It’s different from any other book I’ve seen on the market in that it includes Bible exposition in every chapter.
Truthfully, in the throes of grief, I wouldn’t have been able to read this book. It’s NOT for people grieving at the moment.
Instead, it’s for people who are in the anticipatory stage. They have a terminally ill loved one. Or perhaps they work in ministry and feel inept when approached by a grieving widow or parent or spouse.
I’ve been there. And I’ve been the one grieving.
This book could be an important resource.
But it won’t be if I don’t write it.
I’d still like to try to get it traditionally published. This means I need to craft an amazing proposal that will snare my top choice agent.
In the end, I think I’ll self-publish it if I can’t get a traditional contract. The content is too important to stay on my hard drive just because I can’t “sell it” to an agent.
After all, I’m NOT a salesperson. I’m an author.
It wouldn’t be very broad-minded of me to ignore the potential nonfiction book market when I have no shortage of ideas for these types of books.
A shortage on expertise?
Well, that’s debatable. Maybe Forbes will research the dilemma and get back to me with the push I need to write that nonfiction book.