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Taming The Book Proposal
by: Jill Nagle
Oh, that most infuriating of documents! For so many an of us eager to come
forward with our nonfiction projects, it looms large like a guard at the queen's
castle, obstruction the path to publication. Its perfection eludes us yet it
stands there teasing,
Complete me, or your manuscript wish ne'er see the light of day, mwahahahaha!
In truth, that's a lie. Every author has the option of self-publishing. However,
there are advantages to writing a book proposal instead of a whole book.
One advantage is that it ordinarily takes less time than writing a whole book.
Two, it creates the possibility of effort paid to write your book, mayhap just a
few thousand dollars, mayhap tens or even as hundreds of thousands. Three, it
forces you to get clean just about what you're doing with your book, on a number
Even if you want to self-publish, a book proposal serves as a sort of business
plan for your book. The time and energy spent on research, evaluation and
comparison of your ideas at the first pays off down the line many an times over.
After all, wouldn't you rather find out now that causal agency else has same
similar things more eloquently and have a chance to amend your manuscript, than
publish the darn thing only to see terrible or worse no reviews?
The process of shining your book proposal is likewise an exercise in discipline
and focus. It brings the intention of your book, its scope, depth and message
into sharp relief. It wish get your thinking muscles into the better shape ever
to produce the most marketable book of which you are capable. However, you must
dedicate the necessary time and energy to educate yourself, come through
multiple drafts and polish this behemoth of a document to perfection, or else
hire causal agency who knows how to do just that.
Here are several answers to questions you may be asking right now:
What is a book proposal?
A book proposal is a document intended to sell a business enterprise staff on
business enterprise a particular nonfictional prose book. It is the way most
nonfictional prose books get publicized by major publishers. It reads really
more like a business plan just about the book proposed. It can be anyplace from
10-100 double-spaced, 12-point 8 1/2 X 11 pages most are 20-60 pages, including
sample chapters. It generally uses a really specific format and specialized
language to do its case.
What does the book proposal do?
It answers a series of typical questions that several departments of book
business enterprise companies need answered once deciding which flyspeck handful
of proposals, out of hundreds, to take a chance on. It acts on your and your
book's behalf to answer questions like, Why this book over all the others in its
class? Why now? Why this author?
Who sees my book proposal first, an agent or a publisher?
It depends on whether you choose to have an agent represent you, or go directly
to publishers. Many an publishers wish not accept unagented material, so do sure
you check a given publisher's guidelines first.
What does the book proposal contain?
Generally, a book proposal contains a cover sheet, table of contents, on with
the following sections: overview, author bio, author's marketing plan, market
analysis of buyers, comparative and/or competitive books, outline, sample
The summary contains a hook, or means of enticement, draws the editor in, and
gives a general summary of the book's purpose. It's sort of like an article just
about the book. It should do you want to see the whole thing!
The author bio puts any and all of your experience related to writing the book,
in its better light. It's several from a resume or CV. It looks a lot like the
about the author blurbs you see in the back of publicized books, below the
The author's marketing plan, or what the author wish do to promote the book,
shows the publisher that you cognize what it takes to sell your book, and
details how you plan to do it. These days, ironically, publishers don't put more
money into publicity, unless you�re already famous. An author with a
well-thought-out marketing plan wish stand out from most of the others who pay
far less attention to this section, thinking instead that the publisher wish
take care of it.
The complementary and competitive books section identifies and describes books
that several directly vie with and likewise that complement the projected book.
The intention of this section is to show the editors what has been done before,
and how your book fits in. The reason for this section is twofold: One, many an
editors are too busy to support up-to-the-minute records of what�s being done in
every field, and so believe on the author to educate them just about what else
is out there. Two, just as many an editors cognize exactly what�s out there, and
want to cognize how your activity purports to compare.
There's a contradiction here: On the one hand, you want to point to X, Y and Z
books as evidence that this topic you're writing on is actually hot. On the else
hand, you want to do a strong case that yet another book�namely yours�is still
necessary, and why. So you have to point out powerfully yet tactfully you ne'er
cognize what relationship the person reading your proposal bears to your
competition what yours wish do that others haven't.
The market analysis does the case for the size of the book's audience. It
ordinarily covers a broad view of current interests and purchasing patterns in
the larger culture that auspicate favorably for the book. It may include recent
movies, documentaries on television, facts just about memberships in
organizations or clubs, societal or ethnic groups whose constituents would-be be
likely buyers of the book. For example, a book with an exercise theme strength
cite the circulation of major fitness magazines, membership in health clubs or
recent TV shows on related topics. This approach can be altered to whatsoever
the subject: parenting, cancer, gardening, dogs, mental illness, business, or
The chapter outline tells chapter by chapter what your book contains, and the
sample chapters, ordinarily just about 30 pages worth, represent the better
samples of your writing.
Why are so many an book proposals rejected?
Most book proposals are rejected because the ideas given in them fail to win
over the publisher that the author has a worthy (read: marketable) project.
Production a project appealing to a publisher is a specialized skill, really
several from creating the project itself.
In my experience, authors, whether of fiction or nonfictional prose are by
nature creative people. If you're reading this, chances are at several point in
your life, you became gaga of an idea or ideas, and felt the urge to come your
thoughts into the earth in book form. Your mind is alive. You have thing to say.
A flourishing book proposal, on the else hand, is a specialized marketing
document that follows a particular form, and answers really specific questions
in a way that gets a �Yes!� from publishers. Unless your field is marketing, and
in particular, the marketing of books to publishers, chances are you don't have
expertness in creating a book proposal. And why should you? It's obscurity near
as more fun for most authors as working and playing with their own ideas.
The majority of my clients who give me book proposals to review, even as those
who have see books I've suggested and claim to have followed them, give me
proposals just about for sure slated for rejection. An superior book proposal is
a tough document for most authors to produce on their own. However, help
If you are determined to write your book proposal on your own, can really, truly
follow directions, and have the patience it takes to polish your activity with
dozens or hundreds of revisions, I recommend Archangel Larsen�s book, How to
Write a Book Proposal, and Jeff Herman�s Write the Perfect Book Proposal. See
them, study them, write your proposal, rewrite it several dozen times (no, I'm
not joking) and have it professionally reviewed by causal agency who actually
knows what they are doing. Polish it to perfection�in this business, in which
99% of all proposals wish get rejected, nice enough just isn't.
Then, if you want an agent, do sure you find one with a flourishing track record
of commercialism activity like yours, otherwise your polished proposal may
gleam, twinkle and shimmer for unthankful and unqualified eyes. Unless the agent
has mere otherwise, query them 1st via a one- to one-and-a-half page letter. For
the query, see and study John Wood's How to Write Attention-Grabbing Query and
Cover Letters. Then have at it. Spend at least three weeks on this query letter,
and get feedback from at least three people, at least one of whom truly knows
Want to get started (or come further along) on your book proposal RIGHT NOW?
Check out our classes.
All the better to you in your journey, and support me posted!
You are welcome to reprint this article any time, anyplace with no further
permission, and no payment, provided the following is enclosed at the end or
Author Jill Nagle is founder and principal of GetPublished,
http://www.GetPublished.com which provides coaching, consulting, ghostwriting,
classes and do-it-yourself products to emerging and publicized authors. Her most
recent book is How to Find An Agent Who Can Sell Your Book for Top Dollar
about the author:
Author Jill Nagle is founder and principal of GetPublished,
http://www.GetPublished.comwhich provides coaching, consulting,
ghostwriting, classes and do-it-yourself products to emerging and publicized
authors. Her most recent book is How to Find An Agent Who Can Sell Your Book for