In writing a research book, how far along should I be before approaching publishers, agents, etc? Help needed to get my nonfiction pop culture centric book into bookstores
I am working on a research book that is beyond the scope of what most part-time writers would do. The book covers a popular pop culture topic. I have interviewed over 30 people one-on-one for the research and plan to interview over 20 more. My end result will be something similar to the book "Crystal Lake Memories" found here
I have written the first few chapters of this book now and I'm wondering what the next steps are. Due to the amount of painstaking research and the trouble of scheduling some of these interviews, I expect the research portion will take at least another year, perhaps more, and the writing can in many cases happen in parallel.
I would like to ideally approach the publishing branch of the media corporation who's pop culture work I am covering to see if there is interest on their side in publishing it "officially". From my interviews I have relationships with many of the principles at said corporation (yet they don't know the scope of my project, the real reason behind all these interviews, and they help me set them up anyway), and if they were interested it would also open more doors on research; however, I'm also worried about them seeing the idea and using in-house staff to do it without me.
All my research and writing is unique and certainly falls under "fair use" so I am certain other publishers could publish this book, but from what I've read in other questions that would involve an agent, etc.
So for non-fiction works like this, what is the protocol? Should I continue to work on the book until done and hope afterward someone is interested in the work?
If you have more questions I've set up the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org