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Email 3 May - All things non-fiction

Want to ask questions? Got any follow-up? Don't agree with something I said? Then here's the place to do it. I'll follow the chat thread on this post for a few days following my email, and I'm happy to talk about anything at all.

Meantime, here's a picture of a scary-but-pretty bug.

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Comments (14)
  • Hi Harry, having read your thoughts on the surge in popularity of non-fiction I was wondering if we would be able to submit that as part of the competitions for FoW19? I have a novel in progress but is is my non-fiction that is absorbing me at the moment. I am taking a novelistic approach to my non-fiction so it could potentially work well, but just didn't know if there was a rule that said the comps have to be fiction.

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    • I don't think there's any such rule - but for sure, I think creative non-fic should have its place. So by all means enter it. Good luck!

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    • Very good article, illuminating as ever. I am a little confused about the terms narrative non-fiction and creative non-fiction. 

      I am about to launch a literary biography, published by a small independent. I guess that would count as narrative as I haven't "made anything up"

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      • Thank you, Harry. How kind of you to reply! I never expected it! This is my first entry into Townhouse and I'm quite overwhelmed with everyone's kindness. I always enjoy your e-mails too. Very best wishes.

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        • Don't be surprised, Jenny - Harry's a good bloke. I've met him a few times at writerly events he has arranged, but I'm not even a member of Jericho Writers yet and he still talks to me :-)

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          • Thank you, Tony. I was very impressed when he gave me a warm welcome to the Festival of Writing last year. He's totally professional but never distant. 

            Nice to hear from you.

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          • When I have better understood the system here (I am a late entry to this world of posting all sorts of stuff) I would like to send you a synopsis.

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            • Uh, yes, if you do, I probably won't read it, I'm afraid! I'm too short of time for that kind of thing. If you're a member of Jericho Writers, you can get free feedback on query letters and synopses. Or you can send your work for a regular manuscript appraisal (details here: https://members.jerichowriters.com/bazaar/full-manuscript-assessment/ ).

              Either way, we'll be happy to help.

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            • Glad to join the Townhouse.  Will post more as I get the drift of how this site works.  Just discovered JerichoWriters and joined the club.  Wonderful resources there and I look forward to the forums here.

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              • Fab! Willkommen und bienvenue. Townhouse at the moment has a kind of new house on a new estate kind of quality. All rather shiny, but not very lived in. I especially hope that people start using it to critique each other's work. That will be its very best use, I think.

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              • Hello, Mr Bingham. I'm greatly enjoying this new Townhouse and have you to thank for that, I suppose. 

                This question has nothing really to do with your email, but it has been bothering me for a while, so I will risk asking it here (😕). I apologise if this is the innapropriate place.... 

                If a writer were to choose the self-pub route (on Amazon, for example) is it still worth trying to get an agent at any point? Are there are any pros/cons that they should be aware of? 

                Thanks in advance, and again, please forgive me if this is not the correct place for such questions. 

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                • If you self-publish, and do so successfully, then it's unlikely the trad route will look enticing for your US/UK work. On the other hand, agents can still unlock good stuff in overseas markets, with TV & film, and audio. So yes, many very successful indies will end up with agents. And of course you may have some projects that you want to publish in a traditional way. But all that lies quite well ahead of you. If you self-publish, you won't need or want an agent for some years yet.

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                  • Thank you! 

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                  Our book cover selection process
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                  •  · Rachael
                  They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to Amazon that’s the first thing our potential buyer will be doing. The book cover needs to engage the reader’s interest, just long enough for them to click on the image. After that it’s the Amazon description and ‘Look Inside’ feature that’ll secure a sale. But how do you know which cover will appeal to your target reader?   I’m going to talk you through the process we used for selecting a book cover for Getting Published. As Harry explained in Covers? Sorted. Reviews? Sorted., we commissioned a selection of book cover designs and tested them on Facebook to see which design would appeal to our target audience.   To start