Hello WritingForum members, as you can guess, I'm new here. I have an idea that won't go away. I really don't want to write a non-fiction book, the work involved coupled with the extremely high failure rate makes it look like an excercise in pure futility. Maybe I'm just optimistic. However, the idea won't die and I think it should probably be explored. If I don't do something with it, it will likely drive me insane. Is this how it works? you get ideas that won't die despite your best efforts to kill them? I've considered a lobotomy, but my doctor won't prescribe one for me. Besides, the technolgy to purge individual ideas hasn't progressed far enough to be effective. So, it's off to write a book... or something to that effect. My idea is really more of a community site with a book as the central focus. The business aspect of it looks remarkably positive. I know it would work, I know it would sell if it had a chance. I also know there are lots of would-be authors, musicians and highly talented people who would tell you the same thing, but never see the light of day. As this is non-fiction, at least by some accounts, pursuing this would involve a great deal of actual field research. Most of the research will involve interviewing people. While preliminary research indicates which sorts of patterns I'm likely to find, I really won't know the end result until I collect the data. I've read the way to go about this is first to write a book proposal, and THEN find an agent. This approach seems sensible to me. By writing a proposal and failing to find an agent, you will likely become discouraged as soon as possible, ideally before investing too much work in writing the book. I'm lazy, failing as soon as possible is the path of least resistance. I'm all for it. Never having written a book proposal before, I'll probably need some help from a writing consultant. Having been a consultant myself, I'm also well aware that the real money in consulting is telling the client what he or she wants to hear. People don't hire consultants, they hire people to support their particular point of view and lend support to their ideas. People hire consultants so that they have someone to blame when things don't work out. Consulting is, at its core, a vanity business. For obvious reasons, consultants are not supposed to reveal this fact, but it's true. Is a writing consultant worth it? are there any that are affordable? are there any consultants who aren't in the vanity business? If so, will consultants actually help you find an agent? The sample book proposals I've seen tend to involve an outline of chapters. While I can certainly appreciate why this is, it concerns me that I should be required to predict the results of the research before conducting it. The format will be chapters, sections and subsections. Without conducting the research first, I can only predict the general outline. When you submit a book proposal, are you typically required to follow the exact same outline? what if the research yields a different set of patterns than I'd initially expected? As far as explaining why the idea is marketable, that part is actually quite easy. The basic idea would sell, if it had the backing of an agent and publisher. Would you recommend writing the book proposal yourself and bypassing the consultant? Money is rather tight at the moment.