for Gordon Burgett's "Pathfinder" Service


There are two stages where I can help you the most with book preparation. The first is when you know what you want to write about, have it organized in your mind or on paper, perhaps have a rough book design in mind, and are yet to write the text -- or have just begun. I call that the "beginning" stage. (That can be found at Beginning Pathfinder.)

The second, or "intermediate" stage, is when you are well into the book, probably about to begin the final production but have yet to send the book to the printer. If your need is mostly marketing in nature, you may even have the final, printed book in hand. This guidelist is for you if that more or less describes your situation.

(If you're not certain where you are in the process, tell me what you’ve done and what more you want to know and I’ll help you select the most appropriate guideline.)

Put yourself in my position, All I know about you is what you tell me. So I need to know what you know or think about your book and I need to see what you have produced (in its best, early draft state)―plus know the questions you have at this point, so I can answer them.

We have two hours together so if you send me a warehouse full of things to read, there is no time for commentary. And if you send too little, what can I say?

So I've compiled a list of the kinds of things that help me put you on a firm, fast, and profitable path to book fame, whether you publish it or some distant house does. Please answer them as best you can. And feel free to send me anything else you think I should know. If it's not clear why it's being sent, attach a note to it and tell me. I'm too nearsighted to read minds.

It's best to answer these on other paper, sticking to the same numbering system please! Typed or computer-printed takes less time for me to read. If you must write by hand and that's illegible, please print. (You can also respond in Spanish or Portuguese, if that's more comfortable for you.)

1. I assume the book is nonfiction―not a novel. If it isn't, stop. Don't go to GO. You just saved $350. I don't (can't) provide this service for novels. If it is nonfiction, start answering at #2!

2. What is the book about? Summarize it in a paragraph or two; maximum, one page.

3. Why are you writing it? What do you expect to get out of it: money, display of expertise, clients, fame,

4. Who will buy this book? Specifically. What benefit(s) will it give them?

5. Do you plan to self-publish this book or have it published by another firm? If the latter, do you have a publisher in mind?

6. What other books are on the market now that are identical or very close to what you propose? Others that are similar? Why would they buy your book rather than those? In other words, how will yours be different?

7. Provide a rough outline or table of contents of your book.

8. What remains to do to complete this book? What has been done that you didn't send me? Do you have questions about the steps yet to take? What are they?

9. How do you plan to sell this book? Do you have questions about its marketing? If so, tell me all I should know about its intended market. How will you let them know that your book exists? Are they already aware?

10. Are you proposing to sell the core idea of the book in other formats? As articles, a speech, seminars, a newsletter, tapes, and so on? If so, please explain. Do any of these already exist? (This helps me help you integrate your book into a larger empire-building structure at the outset, to save time and increase your profits.)

11. What else should I know about your book to get you on the best possible path at the outset? (Again, I can't read minds!)

Do the best you can. I don't need every fact but I do need enough to get a clear picture of the structure and purpose of the book.

Let's take a pause here. The questions may have overwhelmed you. You may even be thinking of chucking this "pathfinder" idea out the window and kicking back to do the damn thing at your own pace. Fine.

But whether you're thinking of selling this book to a publisher or even self-publishing it, these questions are what you must know before you definitively print the words on the paper.

Even more important, if you want another publisher to accept your book, by now you should have approached them, writing and sending them only what's needed for them to make a decision. The reason for that is that they often (in fact, very often) suggest at the outset that you approach the topic differently than you planned, and it is far easier for you to do it "right" from the beginning than rewrite it later.

So if that’s the case, tell me and we will work with what you have done to fit it into a stronger queried approach to the publisher. But if you're going to self-publish, continue. We'll work forward to the next stage of production.

Some of the questions I posed may seem elementary, but I need to know what you are planning and thus I need to know the answers. And if you haven't asked these questions yet, you must now so we can get you on the best possible footing before you invest a lot of money in printing.

So that's what I need from intermediates. Bundle it up, send me what I must see, tell me what you want to know back (or assume I will give you a full response about what is still needed for it to be the best book possible), include the letter of agreement, moolah, and we're in business.

A last point: new writers are rife with paranoia. I'm over my head in my own writing work so I’m not going to steal anything of yours.  Nor will I show it to anybody else. Faith.  I want you to be successful.  Why else would I do this?

If I can help you, send the bundle to me either at the office (P.O. Box 845, Novato, CA 94948) or by UPS to 185 Shevelin Rd., Novato, CA 94947—tell them to leave it at the door!  or where I indicated when we spoke if I'm on the road. If you choose not to send it, I nonetheless wish you good fortune. We need more good books. And more good writers like you.


Incidentally, I have a free monthly newsletter for writers, speakers, publishers, and product developers. You even get three free reports!

Why not sign up (you can un sign up just as easily later!) at



What I've suggested above is precisely what self-publishers should do.  But I might make another suggestion here for those who want a major publisher to produce and promote their book.

I have some books and audio products that may help you write or publish your book. You needn’t buy them, of course, but if that interests you, please see my order form. The links for each item will give more detail.

It's not my intent to sell you products, even my own. But here your interests and that seminar/tape series directly overlap and it might be the best double investment possible.

Having said that, send me what you wish. I'm eager to help you produce a winning book. Everybody wins when you do.


Gordon Burgett

(800) 563-1454