Let’s start with what is a book proposal. A book proposal is a condensed down presentation of the actual content of your book. What the purpose of a book proposal is to convince an agent to represent your work by submitting the proposal, possibly polished up a smidge more, to the editors/publishers of your book’s genre. I am going to show you how to do this in six parts.
The Overview: In one to five pages you explain the concept of the book. Start out with a hook. You have just a few sentences to pitch your book in an exciting and necessary manner. You want to convince the agent right from the beginning of your proposal that your book matters
1. The opening paragraphs grab their attention and the rest fills in the picture which supports the claims made in the beginning. You flesh out the keynote with a longer hook. You might address why you are the right person to write the project. You might tell them you wrote a successful cooking blog or you’re an expert who wants to share your groundbreaking findings.
If there is a lot of competition in your genre show how your book is important to show them how your book is different. Don’t leave out critical selling points, such as the 500000 subscribers of your online newsletter. If important, briefly mention the organization or specific content such as format, number of craft projects or original artwork, or that the book is a sequel to a previous publication.
2. The about the author section. A factual one-page introduction written in the third person, an author profile needs to convince an agent and publisher to take an interest in your work. Think of it as your biography that highlights your relevant expertise, achievements, and qualifications to write the work. Select details of your education, hobby, career, publications, prizes and awards, media exposure, research or personal experience that spotlight your strengths in authoring your book.
3. The about-the-market section. Agents and publishers take on projects that they believe have a ready market of buyers. They want to feel confident knowing where the book belongs on the bookstore shelf and that it will make money. This is one of the most important parts of the proposal; your writing might be brilliant and your idea solid, but without a clear market, your project could be a nonstarter.
In three to five pages, demonstrate that you’ve done your homework, you know your audience, why they will want your book, and how your book stands out in the marketplace. Research your target markets, and if available, use relevant statistics and facts to boost your case. List key stats of your primary market to prove there is a target audience, and follow up with an evaluation of your secondary market. That is, identify and evaluate competitive works that are currently available in your category, with a critical but fair eye. Point out how your work fits into, and how it is distinguished from the comparisons.
4. The author platform section. Here you prove you are qualified to write the book and demonstrate that you can reach your audience and that readers will buy the book. In one to two pages present your media experience and contacts, email lists, Twitter followers, Facebook relationships (only as relevant to your topic) details of previous successes and related opportunities for promotion.
Be sure to offer details of each of your platform’s six planks which include:
- Media experience, such as TV and radio appearances and print interviews or features.
- Social media marketing which shows online exposure via your blog, website, e-newsletter, podcasts and dedicated YouTube site. The larger the online audience, the better it looks for book sales.
- Previous publications, or books and/or articles you’ve published in the subject area that relate to your new book concept.
- Speaking engagements, including- large national or prestigious groups you addressed in your topic area. List how often you speak to groups and the size of your audiences, because “back of the room” book signings after presentations make good sales opportunities. If you work with a speakers bureau, mention that.
- Product tie-ins, which include your own products or endorsed products. These relationships could offer another marketing stream for your book.
- Continuous exposure, or your ability to generate constant, ongoing and multifaceted media interest. Agents and publishers don’t want a one hit wonder with one feature article in a regional magazine, for example.
5. The expanded table of contents. This section, two to six pages, outlines the core structure and organization of the book, enabling an agent/publisher to envision in summary, the entire concept. Start with a skeletal structure and then fill it out. Use appealing chapter and section titles, and within each craft a few choice sentences of a paragraph or two that describes the content you’ll cover. Identify any important elements such as photographs. Illustrations, sidebars, recipes, and so on. This feature helps codify the entire book demonstrating the book worthiness of the concept and your ability to envision the entire work, including all its pieces. In this section, be sure to identify which chapter or excerpt you are including as your writing sample.
6. The writing sample. Every proposal must include a writing sample of up to three chapters of the work you propose to write. This is the last section of your proposal and can make or break your opportunity. It must demonstrate your writing ability, style and voice as well as generate interest in your topic and the desire to read more. Make your selection carefully to offer strong content, intriguing elements of the book, and your obvious knowledge and passion for the subject.
Now you know why in mine and others opinion why writing is the easiest part of publishing a book if you go by the traditional route.
I have finished my first draft of Thomas Gomal Learns about Bullying. I’ve had help from my writing friends on FanBox. I appreciate their guidance so much. Until next time have a blessed week and happy writing. Shirley