How does one become a biographer? What's the usual route in, and how do publishers approach it? How does one approach and involve people? Vague specifics inside.
but it's extremely vague.
How do people become biographers, and how does one pitch it to a publisher without knowing if all the necessary information might be available, or if people will talk?
I realised a few days ago that one thing that brings together some of my scattered obsessions would be writing a biography. I like playing detective, gathering information and following trails down the rabbit hole to see where they emerge. I love to write, although I haven't got a proven/published record there. I am extremely interested in motivations and decisions people make, and in the critical points in their lives, and in what those decisions cost other areas. I also enjoy research, and am particularly interested in all of this in relation to design and architecture.
I have been working on a small research project (a lot smaller than a Masters or PhD program) and some of the things that have emerged are incredibly interesting to me, and I realise that they aren't general knowledge. If told right, it's a fantastic story, and it overlaps a really interesting period in Irish history.
(I'm being vague deliberately but can flesh it out by MeMail if anyone has close enough knowledge of all of this for it to be necessary.)
Almost all of the people involved are still alive and working, and are successful and in some cases would have no reason to be too easy to reach. It does strike me that any of them could write this, one person in particular, but I wonder if they have reasons for not doing so, and I'm not sure it would be diplomatic to ask if they had intentions.
So, I'd be really interested in any perspective on how/whether to approach this. Would it need to be through an academic project? Is it done to contact a publisher - I know which would be the most likely, for anyone doing this - and make inquiries, or is that totally not the done thing? Are biographers usually invited, or academics/journalists with the connections already in place? Is this kind of thing better left to later in life, when one has the experience and contacts?
Any input would be great. I'm obviously still at the pondering stage but my interest is serious, if it were viable.