- amandaaksel wrote:
- Do I...
Hire a professional editor?
Submit it to the copyright office?
Get a literary agent?
Submit to publishers who accept unsolicited material?
Your questions imply that you are not interested in POD self-publishing. My advice is based on that assumption.
Editor? Michener credits his lifelong copy editor with his success. He was, according to him, a good storyteller but a poor writer. So, whether you need an editor depends on how well you write and how conscientious you are about typos, spelling, etc. But with non-fiction, publishers often provide the copy editor as part of what they do. At least they used to.
Copyright? Your work is automatically copyrighted as soon as you write it. If you fear intellectual property theft on a scale that would cost you big bucks, register your copyright. (You can enforce an unregistered copyright, that is, you can make the infringer desist, but you can rarely get a judge to hear the case and award you damages unless the copyright is registered.) But wait until the manuscript is completed and ready to publish.
Agent? If you have a hot topic that will sell, you don't need an agent for non-fiction.
Submissions? Submit proposals to publishing houses that print books along the same lines. A day at the bookstore will identify publishers like that. Avoid vanity presses. Go for the known publishers who have an established library of titles and stable of writers. Call their main office and ask for contact information for the acquisitions editor who will be likely to manage your project. Acquisitions editors specialize in subject matter. You can often find that information on the publisher's website. Usually they'll tell you online what procedures to follow to submit a proposal.
Send a one-page proposal, not a complete manuscript. Be prepared to explain in your proposal why your book will sell, how big the targeted readship is, what the competition is, how your book is better than the competition, what your credentials are for writing the book, and so on. Be prepared to send them a couple of chapters (but not until they ask for them) so they can review your work and determine if it can be turned into a publishable book.
Unlike with fiction, you do not need to have a non-fiction book completed when you submit a proposal to the publisher.