Hi, all!

I'm an academic by training but a worker drone by vocation. I recently hit upon an idea for a narrative nonfiction work that lies pretty far outside the purview of my academic specialty. I'd love to develop my idea into a book, and have set about researching my chosen topic with a degree of passion and energy that I thought had died when I left academia and was made to enter the Real World. I have a decent idea of how academic publishing works, but I don't believe the same rules apply to non-fiction for a general audience. Before I start writing the damn thing, I was curious about two claims I've seen circulated online:

  1. It's a waste of time to write out your non-fiction manuscript before you've succeeded in drumming up a publisher's interest in the work, and

  2. Non-fiction authors nearly always have some sort of relevant credentials pertaining to the subject they choose to write on.

Is this true? I'm a pretty good researcher and writer, if I say so myself, but I'm worried by the prospect that the work I eventually produce might be looked at dimmly by publishing houses if I can't show myself to to be an expert in the l subject I'm writing on. Also, I'd find the prospect of writing a polished sample chapter quite difficult – I'm the sort of person who needs to start at the beginning of a project and then hammer away at the writing I've recently produced until at last it appears legible. It would be difficult for me to produce a brilliant chapter without having the other chapters in front of me to reference, connect to adjoining arguments, or whatever. Am I just wasting my time by trying to produce a more or less complete manuscript when only a single chapter will be read, and is there really so little hope for people writing outside their area of expertise?

Read:  What are your strategies for effective yet restrained worldbuilding?

Thanks in advance for any advice you might care to share with me.

Beat, Lars

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