How to Collect and Organize Stories for a Non-Fiction Book

How to Collect and Organize Stories for a Non-Fiction Book

Many authors publish (and pay for) stories from others to include in their non-fiction collections. One author sent me this question last week:

What I could really use is a template or some kind of information on the format and layout for this type of book to be published with BookLocker. I’ve got my ideas, can write them and have a publisher with guts to get this done, being you. The market is there for mostly physical books but I will also sell them in ebook format.

Can you point me in the right direction?

I myself have published a few titles that contain contributions by others and this is what I do:

1. Post notices online soliciting the stories. I offer a flat fee for non-exclusive rights and a copy of the final, printed book to each contributor.

2. Have them sign a contract, and give them a deadline for submission.

3. As the submissions start arriving, I add them to an MSWord file. I do *not* do any formatting at that stage because I’ll just have to do it all over again later to ensure everything is consistent. However, I do edit the story, and send it back to the contributor for approval.

4. I also send their check to them on approval and I make a spreadsheet of each contributor’s name, address, date the story was received, and the date the check was mailed. This comes in very handy later when you need to send out their print copies when the book is published.

5. Only after all the stories are in do I start formatting the manuscript. I also either do one final edit myself before sending the manuscript to my editor for a professional job.

At, we assist with formatting, which is included in the setup fees. All we need is a word processing file with all the text of the manuscript in the order you want it to appear in the book.

Angela Hoy is the co-owner of and is the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: “As close to perfection as you’re going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I’ve ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can’t go wrong here. Plus, they’re selective and won’t publish any manuscript just because it’s accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors’ books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know.”

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