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Getting published: narrative non-fiction
Getting a book out there takes a lot of skill, luck and perseverance, here are a few questions to help you along the way.
Is my book narrative-non fiction?
Narrative non-fiction is writing that is stylistically similar to fiction but deals with factual subject matter. It often includes memoir, also describes other forms of non-fiction, such as biography or political history that follows a strong, narrative path.
Is my book ready to submit?
Unlike with fiction, you don’t have to complete a whole manuscript before approaching a potential agent or, more rarely, publisher. You can instead submit a proposal outlining your project, a very detailed synopsis that shows what each section will cover and some sample chapters.
Do I need an agent?
It is definitely a good idea to try and find an agent if you’re writing narrative non-fiction. It’s a competitive market and you need to make sure you have a unique take or subject matter.
How do I get an agent?
There’s no magic answer here, but there are some things you can do to increase your chances. Check out our tips for submitting to an agent.
How can I improve my chances of getting a narrative non-fiction book published?
Build a writing portfolio. Try approaching newspapers, magazines and online journals with short pieces of narrative non-fiction. Some may also be interested in extracts from a longer work, as long as they are self-contained.
Blog about your specialist subject. A loyal, active blog readership is one way of proving that there is an existing, ready-made audience for your work. As well as finding authors in this way, some publishers have also produced books adapted from pre-existing blogs.
Enter competitions and awards. Look out for suitable competitions or awards. Placing in a competition can give you an edge in a publishers’ eye, but be careful to pay attention to how prestigious they are and whether they charge a fee before entering. Do also see if you’re eligible for any of our writing programmes.
Who else can help?
Here are a few organisations that may be useful: