How Do You Get A

Nonfiction Book Published?

by W. Terry Whalin

Possibly you have grown passionate about a particular topic and you've started writing the book. It's a secret dream and desire of many people. They have no training or idea how to publish a book--but they begin the discipline of writing. It's admirable that these individuals have taken the effort to complete the manuscript. Then these people want to get it published so they go to the library and get a writer's market guide. They bundle their manuscript and send it into a publisher. After weeks of waiting, they receive a form rejection letter. Wanting to persist, they try again--and get rejected repeatedly.

Does it sound familiar? Here's a statistic that startles many people: 90% of nonfiction books are sold from a book proposal. The majority of these books have not been written--but a proposal has been carefully crafted to catch the attention of a publisher. This proposal will contain a number of elements which are not in the manuscript but important elements for the publisher to catch the vision and issue a book contract. You can learn more about book proposals through Terry's book, Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Or you can instantly purchase the electronic version.

After more than 20 years in the publishing business, Terry Whalin has written more than 60 nonfiction books for a variety of age groups. He has written books on his own and also he has co-authored many books for others. Besides his writing, Terry has worked on the inside of publishing houses as an acquisitions editor. This page will be a jumping point for you to learn more about nonfiction from his perspective. This page pulls together a variety suggestions for any nonfiction writer. You can trust his suggestions to be backed with years of experience.

It doesn't matter if you are published or unpublished. Terry invites you to read the articles, use the resources on this page. Please mark this page on your list of favorites so you can return to it often as it will change, have additions and be updated.

Use this search tool to easily locate articles.



Are you surrounded by non-writer want-to-be-writers? How do you:
Find the Writing Life Right for you?

What's your feeling about self-promotion? It's part of the writing life and here's some valuable insight:
I'm Not Shameless

Do you need to organize your writing life? Check out the sound wisdom in this article:
Organize Your Time and Space In Two Minutes Or Less

Are you stuck in a rut? Then follow this seasoned advice:
How to Get Out of A Slump

The journey of a thousand manuscripts pages (or even 150) begins with a single idea. Here's how to find one.
Finding A Good Idea For Your Book

Practical tips for keeping your book available, even after the publisher takes it out of print, even if the publisher goes bankrupt:
What to Do When Your Book Goes Out of Print

Book Proposals contain multiple elements and different aspects. In this article, Dr. Dennis Hensley teaches:
Ten Factors to Consider When Writing Book Proposals

Learn how to use an advertising sales technique to position your book idea at:
A Fine Position to Be In

It's a common publisher question: What's your platform? Here's some great information about:
Building A Platform

If you are looking for work, here's a great article to give you insight into this important area for writers:
Book Packaging: Under-explored Terrain For Freelancers

Don't bore your readers with your writing but learn to:
Keep Them Active

Are you a confident writer? If not, are you showing that lack of confidence in your articles? Take a step toward fixing it with this article:
Confident Writing

Floundering around with many different ideas? Get focused and learn from this professional writer:
Make your Own Niche: How to Create a Writing Specialty

Writing a biography? Learn from this much published biographer:
Interview with: Donald Spoto - Biographer / Historian

Here's some insight into nonfiction writing and how to follow the rules:
The Three Cosmic Rules of Writing

Tired of trying to get your nonfiction published alone?
Top Ten Reasons to Write with a Partner

If you are going to work with someone else, it's critical that you select the right person:
Finding the Right Writing Partner

Additional articles will be coming soon.


Relationships with editors are built at conferences and here's:
Four Keys to Writers Conference Success

Here's a skill every writer should learn:
Networking: The Writers' Conference Edge


If you have a contract, here's a thorough document of wise advice and valuable information from a professional writer/ lawyer:
Publishing Contract Checklist

Don't sign on the dotted line just because a publisher has offered you a contract. First, put it to this five-step test to make sure you're signing a smart contract:
An Offer You Can Refuse

Every writer with a contract is involved in negotiation.
Five Magic Phrases: Tips for Negotiating Like a Pro

Creativity & Productivity

Many writers are easily sidetracked. Seasoned writer Kristi Holl gives some valuable lessons for:
Dealing With Distractions

How can you turn those anxious thoughts into writing?:
When All That's Left Is Writing: Turning Anxiety Into Creativity

Are you stuck in a marketing rut? Then use the valuable counsel in this article:
10 Ways to Cultivate New Markets

Want to be more productive? Then this article is loaded with great advice:
Unleashing Your Creativity: Becoming a Better, More Productive Writer

Editors & Agents

The Editor and the Author have a special relationship. You will gain some insight from:
Understanding The Editor-Author Relationship

Have you learned how to handle the editor words "no"? Take a difference stance with your writing:
Rejecting Rejection

Here's a question you may have asked yourself:
What's an acquisitions editor? How can I help this editor?

If you want to alienate literary agents or editors, follow this tongue-in-cheek advice. It teaches what not to do:
Seven Ways to Alienate Agents and Influence Rejection

This published writer and editor answers a common question from writers about rejection:
Why You Get Form Rejection Letters

Looking for an agent for your book? Watch out because you can get ripped off. Learn how to protect yourself and find a legimate agent:
The Safest Way to Search for an Agent

This article provides additional insight into agents:
The Three Hard Truths About Agents


Nonfiction often involves interviews. If you need to interview, here's some valuable insight:
Twenty-five Steps to a Good Interview

Scared to interview? You need these insights:
Tips for Interview Phobia

Marketing & Promotion

For any author, marketing is a part of the process. This section will provide articles to help you learn more about this aspect of the business.

What's your feeling about self-promotion? It's part of the writing life and here's some valuable insight:
I'm Not Shameless

Today's book market is highly competitive. If your book isn't getting enough attention from the various media outlets, then read this article from publicity expert Lissa Warren:
Ten Things To Do If Your Book Is Not Getting Enough Media Attention.

Writing books is more than writing. Learn from this seasoned author, Robin Lee Hatcher, about how to handle the interview process with the media:
What Did You Say?


In this section, Terry provides insight to some common writer questions. When you follow this link, it will take you to a series of additional pages of insight and teaching for every writer.

Long Dash Publishing. Here's a great resource for quick turnaround books from a manuscript.

Additional resources will be coming soon.

Go to for more publishing info

If you have a question about nonfiction, feel free to email Terry Whalin using the form below. Because of time constraints, Terry is not always able to provide a personal answer but look for the answer to possibly appear on this page.

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