I just wanted to say congratulations to one of my students, Penny Legg, who is rather overjoyed at the moment. She now has commissions to write 3 books, all of which will be published within the space of 10 months.
Her first commission was for 'Folklore of Hampshire' which will be published by Tempus Publishing in July 2010. She's now signed contracts for two more books, 'Haunted Southampton' which will be published in February 2011, and 'Winchester: History You Can See' which will be published in May 2011.
Suffice to say that she's a little ecstatic, although, clearly she now has a lot of work on her hands!
This also demonstrates how far in advance the publishing industry works, particularly for books. There's just under two years between now and when Penny's Winchester book is published, but in order to get that contract she's had to supply a proposal with an outline. She's already had to think of that detail, even though she may not start writing the book for another 12 months.
But this is where writing non-fiction books differs from writing novels. It's possible to sell the idea for a non-fiction book based upon a proposal and sometimes a sample chapter. For a novel, you need to have written the whole book first.
Psychologically, writing non-fiction can be easier, because if you've signed a contract then you know that the book should be published. Whereas with a novel, you can only start trying to sell it once you've finished it. Not knowing whether the idea works until you've written 100,000 words is a big risk to take.
So, good luck with the writing Penny, you're certainly going to be busy for the next year or so.
And I'm looking forward to meeting everyone at the Writing Buddies meeting at the Borders Store in Southampton on 3rd July. See you then!