To find the best book writing services for your nonfiction project, you have to take a three-pronged approach.
You need to establish each service’s competence in the genre, you need to find out how they work with authors and you need to read the legal fine print in their contract. Here are three simple steps to follow.
Step 1: Ask for Sample Nonfiction Titles They’ve Previously Written
The best way to assess the competence of a nonfiction book writing service is to get copies of titles that they’ve written in the past for other clients and then to read them cover-to-cover to look for the following cues:
- Check to see if the books are addressed to a single, clearly defined target audience.
- Check to see if you’re connecting with the books as a reader. If they’re page-turners that you’ll be in good hands. If they’re tedious to read, then you should take a pass.
- Check to see if the writing is crisp and to the point while at the same time heartfelt. What you’re looking for is simplicity in the way the ideas are laid out and authenticity in the way the message is delivered.
- Check to see if the books use effective techniques for hooking, engaging, stimulating and captivating readers – all hallmarks of good nonfiction
- Finally, check to see if the books compel you to take action. Good nonfiction is highly persuasive
Now, some services are sometimes required to sign non-disclosure agreements with clients preventing them from disclosing the names of the titles that they’ve worked on in the past.
However, many will “bend the rules” and give you access to that information because they need to continue making a living, and prospective clients will almost always want to see their previous work before they hire them.
The reason you need to be so thorough in your search for candidates is that book-writing services are quite expensive and you want to make absolutely sure that you hire the best service for your needs.
Step 2: Ask for 2 or 3 References
Book writing services must work in close collaboration with authors, so you need to ensure that their working style matches yours. Ask them for two or three references and come prepared with the following questions:
- How was the initial author-interview process?
- What did they ask you to supply them in terms of notes, materials and documents?
- How did you engage with the book writing service during the writing phase? What was the frequency of your communications?
- Did the book writing service ask you for feedback throughout the writing process? What kind of feedback did they solicit?
- Where you happy with the end product? Did you feel the book was written in your own voice?
- What were the book writing service’s strengths and weaknesses?
- Would you recommend their services without hesitation?
Step 3: Ask to Have a Look at their Contract Ahead of Time
The hiring of a nonfiction book writing service can be quite onerous, so it requires that you’re protected by a solid contract.
Ask the service to give you a copy of their standard agreement so that you can inspect it and even have your attorney take a look at it.
Become familiar with all their clauses to ensure that there are no unpleasant surprises after you sign it. Look specifically for the following clauses:
- Fees: Standard charges will typically be quoted by the hour for the preparatory component of the project and by the word for the actual writing.
- Terms: Look for flexible payment terms without large lump sums to be paid in advance. The expectation will be to receive an initial payment to lock in the project and begin the work, with other payments on delivery for certain milestones or in full at the end on delivery.
- Termination Clause: This is a key clause in your contract because you need to be able to have an out if something goes south for any reason. You should look for a termination clause to allow either party to end the contract with a reasonable advance written notice. You’ll be required to pay the cost to cover the work delivered up until the effective day of termination.
- Royalty Clause: If you have a name that’s recognized in your field and you can demonstrate to the book writing service that you have a sizeable built-in audience (say, a large email list that you’re in regular contact with) the service may be willing to strike a deal to lower their fees in exchange for a share of your profits.
As soon as you hire your book writing service, you’ll need to start thinking about planting the seeds for book marketing and promotion, since many of these activities have long lead times.
To give you a sense of the planning that’s required, read this article: “How Do I Promote My Self-Published Nonfiction Book?”
Good luck in your writing project!
Leave me a comment below if you have any questions or a specific need that I can help you address – I operate an author services firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners who want to publish books as a calling card for prospects, to establish their status as an expert or to just to generate additional leads for their businesses.
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Bennett R. Coles is an award-winning author of 6 books published through Harper Collins (NY) and Titan Publishing Group (UK). He is also the publisher at Promontory Press and the founder/CEO of Cascadia Author Services, a boutique full-service firm that specializes in premium author services specifically designed for busy professionals. Our end-to-end services include writer coaching, ghostwriting, editing, proofing, cover design, book layout, eBook production, printing, distribution and marketing.