Is the non-fiction book you are writing relevant to a particular industry? Is it a good resource for people who usually turn to a certain organization for resources? If so, you may want to consider sponsorship deals to help you self-publish.
The sponsorship publishing model is not new, but it first appeared on my radar last Fall at a future of publishing event where Guy Kawasaki talked about writing his book What the Plus?. In his first foray into self-publishing, Guy wrote a manual on how to use his favorite social network Google+, and then approached Samsung to help him publish it. Samsung agreed, and in exchange requested 6,000 free copies with their branding on it to distribute to customers.
In my recent interview with author Thad McIlroy, he talked about how sponsorship helped him publish The Metadata Handbook (watch our talk on the topic below, ending at 23:20). Thad points out that for non-fiction authors, all it takes is a little creative thinking to come up with possible partners who could benefit from helping you release your book.
Sponsorship deals can be quite valuable to authors not just in covering costs but in reaching new communities of readers. In an excellent post on the economics of self-publishing, Cory Doctorow writes:
It doesn’t matter how you plan on making your money — selling books or downloads, selling ads, getting sponsorship, getting crowdfunded, getting commissions, licensing to someone else who’s figured out how to make money — you won’t get the chance unless people have heard of your stuff.
To that end, finding sponsors and co-branding partners should be on every non-fiction author’s to-do list. So long as your book includes ample links back to your website for readers to follow, any route to increased visibility and distribution for your ideas is well worth the exchange.