I had the pleasure of coffee with a Vancouver publisher yesterday, where we discussed three possible books: two nonfiction and one fiction.
The original idea I'd proposed, a family memoir by my two brothers and me, didn't go over well on the basis of a sample chapter. But I said I'd revise in the light of his comments and get back to him.
The other nonfiction idea was a collection of my BC-related articles for The Tyee, which I've been writing for since 2003. He looked over my proposal and thought it might have possibilities. Again I said I'd give him more to consider. I estimated that the book might have 45,000 words plus another 15,000 of commentary
As for the novel, I gave him a quick plot summary and the first 30 pages of Henderson's Tenants, on which I've been working, off and on, for years. The publisher said he'd get back to me early in the new year.
So I came home and started putting together the Tyee anthology. Somewhat to my surprise, I found that in a few hours I'd put together articles totalling 50,000 words, with more still to add. This is why I'm a big proponent of writing articles on your nonfiction subject: You're making money (or at least a reputation) from them, and creating material for the eventual book as well.
Update (April 9): It took a few months, but the other day I finally heard from the publisher; the answers were all no.
This doesn't much discourage me. I'll pitch a few more publishers, but I'll also start exploring the possibility of publishing my own work in e-book format.