These guidelines will show you what Bold Vision Books expects in a fiction book proposal. Follow these guidelines.
Begin with a Query Letter
Send a query letter (via email to firstname.lastname@example.org) giving basic information about the novel. Include the following information:
· target audience
· word count
· a synopsis of the story with details about the characters and plot.
After reading your query letter, Bold Vision will advise whether you should send the full proposal.
If you get the request for the full proposal, use the following step-by-step guide.
BOOK PROPOSAL GUIDELINES (FICTION)
On this page type the following information
o Author’s Name
o Phone Numbers
o Email Address
o Agent name and address if applicable
You title should reflect the tone, genre, and style of your novel. For instance, if the book is adventure, the title should not be soft and sweet. If the novel is romance, the title should give a hint and if the novel is historical, give a clue in the title.
On this page provide information about the book:
On this page give the genre of your novel.
Provide the number of words (words not pages) and the chapter count.
What is the status of your book? Is the manuscript complete? (If you are a first-time novelist, do not submit a proposal until the manuscript is complete. While we do NOT want the full manuscript now in the proposal phase, we may ask for it.)
Do you include any special sections in the book—such as questions for book clubs or discussion groups)
Write a Hook
Write a one sentence hook. Write this sentence like a tag line. It should tell what the book is about, why it would be interesting to read, and why the reader might be intrigued or interested in the outcome. Think back-cover copy. Why would I want to read your book?
Write a Brief Overview
Tell us what the book is about and what is interesting and compelling about your story. This overview should be two to five paragraphs. As your publisher, we want to know the basic story, the conflict, and the final resolution of that conflict. Tell the entire story in this overview.
Use story techniques in this overview. Do your best work to show the publisher the story. Remember that in good stories, characters face trouble, conflict, and tension which is resolved into a new normal for the character. In a good story the character grows or changes in a way that satisfies the reader.
Who is the audience? Do you know how to reach your target audience? Do you know what other books they read and why? Do you know what kind of music they listen to? Do you know what TV and radio programs they like? Do you know what they want in a book and have you delivered it in your novel?
Search bookstores and online retailers for books similar to your novel. Read the reviews. Read the books. Prepare a list of 3-5 books that are similar to your novel. Write a few sentences comparing your book to the book you’ve listed.
Provide the name of the book you’ve listed along with information on the author, publisher, date of publication and the ISBN#.
Don’t assume the publisher knows about books similar to yours and don’t assume he or she doesn’t know. Do good research here and write strong opinions about your book, but don’t write unrealistic ideas such as “I know this book will sell a million copies” or “Every woman on earth will want my book.”
Marketing and Promotion
What would make the book stand out from the thousands of other novels out there?
What will you do to help sell the book?
Provide information about your presence on the internet in blogs, websites, and social media.
Do you understand your target market?
How will you reach your market?
Will you arrange book signings? Where? Will you submit articles to magazines? Which magazines? Will you make media appearances? Which media?
What is your platform? Your sphere of influence?
What contacts do you have that will help sell the book?
Do you have speaking engagements lined up? If so, list each one and the size of the audiences.
Do you have a blog? If so, how many readers do you have?
Do you have a newsletter? How often do you send it out? How many names are on your mailing list?
How much money will you invest in the marketing of your book?
Will you connect with influencers and send out free books?
Will you hold a launch party?
Have you ever participated in a blog tour? Will you arrange one for this book?
This page is not the place to say you are willing to do whatever the publisher wants you to do; it is the place for you to give concrete ideas for selling your book. Give real numbers of database contacts, audience sizes, and unique hits on your blog.
This page is not the place to say you will try; it is the place to show your plan.
Your platform is your most important asset. Reach out to potential readers starting today (Don’t wait for your book to be published.) so you will have a potential audience for your publisher to see. Begin now to engage people on your topic via social media. Start a blog and get followers now.
About the Author
Who are you and why are you the person to write this book? Have you lived in the country or state where the story is set? Did you research the era of the novel’s setting?
Write a half page bio. (Maximum 1 full page)
This résumé is not to tell everything you've ever done. Instead cover the important parts of 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.
Start the bio where you are today and work backward. (Don’t start, “I was born in a hospital in Chicago.” unless the place of your birth has some super significance in your book.)
Writing the bio in third person can help you get over any self-conscious barriers.
Have you published fiction before? If so, list the books or short stores or articles and give the sales numbers. Have you received any awards or special training? Have you also published non-fiction? If so, list the books and articles and give the sales numbers? Are you a speaker? If so, what is your platform? Do you have a platform? Who can you reach and how will you reach them?
Write three to six pages telling the entire story. Don’t leave out the surprises or plot twists. As the publisher I want to see if you can bring the story full circle and that you have a full-grasp of the plot and the character development. Do your best work here.
AFTER THE “FRONT MATTER” ABOVE, SUBMIT THREE CHAPTERS.
Include the first 35 pages (approximately) of your manuscript (ending at a natural break). This sample must be the first chapters of the book.
Following is a page-by-page example
First page of your proposal:
by Author’s Name
Author’s Name Address City, State Zip
Email Address Website/Blog
*Alternatively, if you have an agent, use the appropriate contact information.
Second page of your proposal:
Length (in words)
Status of the manuscript
# chapters #words
Third page of your proposal:
Write a 3-4 paragraph synopsis of your story. Write this so well that it makes the publisher want to read the book.
Forth page of your proposal:
Market Analysis – Competition
Do some research in bookstores and online bookstores such as Amazon.com. Find published books with a message similar to your novel. Make a list of 3-5 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 similar or different.
Fifth page of your proposal:
Marketing and Promotions
• What will you do to promote the book?
• Do you speak? How often? What kind of groups?
• Do you have an address database? How big? What kinds of people are on your database (business, church, certain occupations, moms, etc.)?
• Do you have a newsletter or blog? How many people read your work?
• Do you have experience in radio and TV or webcasting? How will you get interviews on media?
• What is your plan for getting book signings in your area and where you travel?
• Will you record video or audio about the book at your own expense? Do you have the finances, expertise, and connections to make such recordings?
• Who are personal friends and colleagues who will endorse your book?
• Who are some experts in your field who have agreed to endorse your book?
• How much money will you spend on promotion?
• What have you done in the past that will help sell other books you have published?
• What are sales numbers on previously published books?
Sixth page of your proposal:
Include a small photo.Write a bio that pertains to the book. Typically this bio should be on one page.
Chapter One TITLE
Start each chapter in the middle of a new page.
Double spaced, 12 pt. font
Include the introduction, chapters one, two, and three.
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.