Getting Non Fiction Published with Patricia O’Reilly | Resources | Better Non-Fiction Guides | Getting Non-Fiction Published

Patricia O'Reilly

Interested in writing non-fiction and getting it published? Author of Writing for Success Patricia O’Reilly tells us exactly how to approach your subject and what you need to submit to a publisher:


It’s easier to sell an idea for a non-fiction book to a publisher than it is to sell a complete work of fiction.

Your Subject Must Be:

  • Plump – i.e. a subject that can be fleshed out
  • Marketable
  • Ideally should fill a gap in book-buying market

Subjects for Non-fiction Books:

  • Topical – commemorating a historical event or person, (make sure to allow yourself enough time to research, write and have published before date)
  • Popular – cookery, diet and travel books dominate the non-fiction market
  • Original – great (My book titled Working Motherswas ahead of its time and the  idea sold on a loose pitch) Even if your idea isn’t truly original idea, put an original spin on a well-proven topic – well-proven being the operative word


Make sure your idea possible. Possible is essential – you must be able to research, write and market it

Suss out the market

Pitch your idea professionally

Making Your Pitch

Publishers’ requirements vary, ensure you check their individual websites to ensure you are submitting what they want – but this is a general guide:

  • A brief proposal outlining theme or idea (50-70 words)
  • Synopsis  (200-400 words)
  • Proposed List of Contents
  • Target audience market
  • Details of competing titles, if any
  • Short autobiographical note (50 words)
  • Introductory chapter and/or one or two sample chapters or approximately 30 pages

About the author

(c) Patricia O’Reilly

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get all of the latest from delivered directly to your inbox.

Featured books