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Writing a Book: Proposal & Prepublishing

Tasting Charles Joguet Well, folks, my agent's been urging me to post more about the process of writing this book and others are emailing me wondering how book's are actually published, so I thought we'd take a brief trip into book publishing land. Feel free to let me know if you want more or less of these type of posts in the comments.

People ask all the time, "how does one write a book?" Well, to start, it's correct to ask "how does one," because one writes it- alone. Holy bejesuses it gets lonely writing a book. During the last two months while I was writing the first draft of my manuscript, I didn't go out, I pretty much ate only the recipes I made for the book, and only saw people when they came over to test recipes. I squirreled away in front of my computer in my bedroom. I had to physically detach myself from the twitter platform because it so satisfied my need for people. My social time was going to yoga, and then pilates, where I could listen to others breathe in two different ways, which helped me feel like I was hanging out while I corrected my posture from writing curled over a keyboard. It's slightly pathetic.

So that's the actual writing part. Before that, I traveled and interviewed and got to hang out with baby animals and cheesemakers I respect. That was awesome. The research part was cool too. And when I was getting enough sleep, the writing was cool too.

But of course one must work up to that point. First things first- one must write a book proposal to write a non-fiction book. If you are seeking an agent (I was) and a publisher (yes), you'll need one. A book proposal is anywhere from 15-60 pages long. Non-fiction writers write book proposals then their agent seeks a publisher to support the writing process and the book to come. Fiction writers write books, then submit a proposal to a publisher or agent to see if they want to see the book.

I took a class with the awesome Dianne Jacob to learn how to write a proposal. I'd suggest you seek out books to help you too (there's no way I have it in me to explain the process in full in this tiny blog). I liked Writing a Book Proposal and The Essential Gudie to Getting Your Book Published. My agent recently made me buy the second because it also explains what an agent is supposed to do for a writer and I wasn't asking her to do anything. Shame.

So that's how one starts to write a book. I'd be happy to explore more or less of this here, just let me know what you're curious about, and write little bits here and there as they come to mind.