What You Need To Know About Book Non Fiction Proposals
By Karen Porter
A Book Proposal tells:
The proposal convinces the publisher you have a message and that a certain audience needs and wants to hear the message.
The publisher wants to know you know what you are writing and whether they can sell it. The publisher may invest as much as $40,000 in your book. Because publishing is a business, you must convince the publisher the book is needed, and wanted and can sell. Then you persuade the publisher you can write it.
Format the proposal professionally.
THE MAJOR PARTS OF THE PROPOSAL ARE
Title page and overview:
On this page tell what category the book is in; the length, the status, the genre, the audience, etc. One of the most important features of your proposal is the overview paragraph. Can you write a synopsis of the whole book in one paragraph? The publisher will stop reading the proposal here if you don't do a good job on this paragraph. Bullet points are effective if used well.
Search book stores and amazon.com for books related to your topic. Read the reviews. Read the books. Read the descriptions. Prepare a list of books already out there on your subject. Write a paragraph stating the name of the book, publisher, author, date of publication, the ISBN#, and what the book is about. Then write a sentence about how your book is different.
Marketing and Promotion: What will you do to help sell the book?
Bio Page: This resume is not to tell everything you've ever done. Instead cover the important things in your life and include anything qualifying you to write this book such as education and experience or if you have used this material in a teaching/speaking situation. For example, have you traveled to Eastern Europe to give the seminar based on this book, etc?
Chapter Summaries: Write short paragraphs for each chapter. Be sure to include a hook to entice the reader to read the chapter, a description of the chapter, and the benefit to the reader. Suggestion: Try to write the chapter in no more than three sentences. (Writing three well-crafted, power-packed sentences in the chapter summary will tell the publisher you have a full grasp of what you are writing.) If you’ve written three strong sentences, the publisher will be intrigued enough to ask for more and may come back to you later asking you to write a full page on each chapter to flesh the idea out.
After the 'front matter' above, submit three chapters.
Writing a great book proposal is the beginning of the publishing process and the only way to get a publisher to look at your material. And the process of writing a good book proposal is a great exercise to go through because you become focused on what you want to write. It helps you remember the main message of your material and it helps you envision the reader out there who needs your message.
First page of your proposal:
City, State Zip
Second page of your proposal:
Author Your Name
Length # chapters #words
Status Is the manuscript completed or drafted? How long will it take you to finish?
Target Audience Men? Women? Teens? Age range?
Overview and Benefits
Write a synopsis paragraph. Include the main points of your book and the benefit to readers.
Third page of your proposal:
Market Analysis – Competition
Do some research in bookstores and on Amazon.com? Find published books with a message similar to your topic. Make a list of 7-10 of these books with the following information:
Title, Author, Publisher, Date of Publication, ISBN#, One or two sentences about the book. Write a sentence or two explaining why YOUR TITLE is different.
Fourth page of your proposal:
Fifth page of your proposal:
Include a small photo.
Write a bio that pertains to the book.
Chapter One: Title
Start each chapter in the middle of a new page.
Include chapter one and two others (preferably the first 3 chapters).
Using these guidelines and preparing a thorough book proposal will take work and organization. You will have to focus your book idea. The work you do will help the publisher know you are ready to write this book and if you make the investment in time and effort, you will connect with a publisher and be on your way to writing the book.