Sunday, February 27, 2011

'Nonfiction' Is Like Reality TV Shows, Right? And 'Creative Nonfiction' Is Like Fox News

(1) How is publishing different for nonfiction children's books? (For example, a science topic for middle grades)
It's SO different! It's furrier, for one thing, and sometimes it's purple!
Ok, so I didn't really understand the question.  There aren't a lot of differences, aside from submission (see below) and the need for fact-checking.  Were you thinking of something else?

(2) I know for adult nonfiction, authors are not expected to write the whole book before submitting. Is that true of children's books as well or do editors expect the complete manuscript?

If it's chapter-length nonfiction, then yes, usually those are sold based on sample chapters and an outline.
(3) Are nonfiction titles a harder sell to publishers/bookstores?
They certainly can be.  Some nonfiction sells great---The Dangerous Book for Boys, for example.  But a lot of nonfiction (especially chapter-length nonfiction) only does well if it's very well supported by teachers and librarians, and as you may have heard in the news, they have NO MONEY TO SPEND ON BOOKS right now.  But that's ok, because we didn't want those kids educated anyway.  Who cares if they'll be old enough to vote soon?  Most adult Americans NOW don't know what "nonfiction" means, and everything's just fine, right?

43 comments:

Richard Gibson said...

I love your final paragraph!

Kurtis said...

The worst part is the increasing feeling that there is no such thing as fiction and non-fiction, that it's all opinion and any suggestion to the contrary shows how closed minded you are.

Cindy Paul said...

It does seem like teachers and librarians are the best cheerleaders for non-fiction. Those of us selling books and other programs in the educational publishing industry know only too well the lack of funding. This goes for both fiction and non-fiction. However, there seems to be small pots of money for programs designed to increase reading comprehension and vocabulary. It is typically believed that non-fiction offers a higher interest level to those students who generally are less inclined to pick up a book.

That would be my pitch anyway if I had a non-fiction book to sell.

Lily Cate said...

I sense some snarkery here that I feel the need to support with a stout "Huzzah!"

Anonymous said...

oh yes, who really cares about the future? Someone already threw a baseball through the ozone layer, and we'll all be dead by 2012, I think. That dude from the band said in in a song, or maybe it was another bit of his depressing poetry.

Thank you, public education!

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