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How to Write a Book Proposal and Get Your Book Published

Aug 18, 2007
The agent said yes to the query letter! Finding out how write a book proposal is your next step.

The agent will let you know what they want to see. Even with an affirmative response, they don't always ask for a full manuscript. A nonfiction book hasn't been written yet in most cases, so there isn't a manuscript to send. What publishers and agents will ask for is a proposal for your nonfiction book.

A Nonfiction Book Proposal

Concept:
A brief, no more than one page description about why your book is unique.

Market:
Who will buy your book and why. Include the demographics of your potential readers and how many of them there are. If you can, quote statistics, such as baseball is the most often viewed sport on TV with x million people watching. Or x number of people attend arts and crafts shows a year. Or $xxx dollars of revenues are generated by customers buying garden tools. Whatever is relevant to your book's topic.

Competition:
Similar books that have been published in the last year or that will be coming out soon. You can get an idea of soon-to-be published books by going to amazon.com, and searching under key words. When you get a listing of books that you think are similar to yours, then rank by publication date.

Include the title, author, ISBN, and a brief description. Then state why your book is better or what your book addresses that the competition doesn't.

Go to the library and read currently available books you feel are competitive to yours. Again include the title, author, ISBN, and a brief description. Then state why your book is better or what your book addresses that the competition doesn't.

All books have competitors.

Promotion:
What you will do for promotion. How will you market your book? Be specific. If you are willing to give seminars or speak at events, try to line up a few. Publishers want authors that actively market their own books. This doesn't mean that you have to spend money, but it does mean you have to expend effort.

About The Author:
Pretty self explanatory. What makes you the best author to write this book. This is not a resume; include what is relevant to the topic of the book. If you have previous books published list them, with a short description.

Media Placement:
Any newspaper or magazine articles you've been featured in. Include articles that you've written and have published. Offline, hard copy publications are better than online. Online is better than nothing. Plan ahead and in the months while you're working on your book proposal see if you can get a few articles placed. If you have just a few, include clippings. If you have more than a few, list the publication, date, title of the article. Writing a book makes you an expert in the eyes of the media, but you have to let them know you're available.

Endorsements:
If you can get a well known authority figure, expert, celebrity or author to give you an endorsement, or to commit to an endorsement, it puts you ahead in the game.

Chapter Outline or Synopsis:
Two to four pages. Each chapter is listed and the subheadings with a brief description, a paragraph or two explaining what will be included in the chapter.

Sample Chapter:
It doesn't have to be the first chapter. Pick the chapter you're most excited to write, or that you are the most knowledgeable about. The editor will judge the quality of your writing by this chapter.

The proposal not including the sample chapter can run from 10 to 20 pages.

Resources:

Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 That Sold and Why, 2nd Edition, Jeff Herman, Deborah Levine Herman.

Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write: How to Get a Contract and Advance Before Writing Your Book, Elizabeth Lyon, Natasha Kern

Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction--and Get It Published, Susan Rabiner, Alfred Fortunato

Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success
About the Author
Discover How You Can Achieve Your Dream And Get Your Book Published. Sneak peek of Dee Power's new book, The Publishing Primer. Get your free chapter. Find out how books get in bookstores. How bookstores select titles. How the bestseller lists work. What boosts a book to the top of the bestseller list? And
frequently asked questions about publishing
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