Your book proposal is a sales document whose job it is to convince an agent or publisher that your book will make back its cost and more. While your book may be the greatest thing in the world to you, to an agent of publisher it is a product that needs to make money. Publishing a book is an expensive business an d they can’t afford to lose money.
Remember this above all else, TAKING ACTION gets it done. Reading, studying, waiting avail you not. Make it happen.
- A one page cover letter addressed to a specific person.
- A title page that contains the working title by your name, and your name again, address, city, state, zip code, and full contact information.
- A one page table of contents for the book proposal, not the book itself, that appears below. This contents page tells the reader what is in the book proposal.
- An overview of the market that your book will be competing in. One sentence to several sentences is fine. Closely, and specifically, define the market.
- Comps (Comparisons to other published books by an author of your stature and their sales numbers.) When we say other authors like you we mane that if your a new author then that’s is your comparison audience.
- An overview of the book. Make this one sentence to several sentences. Keep it short sweet and to the point. This must not be wordy, but by using only enough words to do the job.
- Your author biography. Include material pertinent to the book. Use this to show your expert knowledge or capability. Include: work experience, personal experience, professional expertise, education, inventions, anything that bears on your ability write this book. Include your publishing history.
- Include three endorsements. They must not run on and on. Don’t hesitate to edit your endorsements, if they need it. Clear your edits with the person who gave you the endorsement.
- Competition. Here you include book titles that are direct competition for your book.
- Never say that there is no competition, that your book is unique because it is the-kiss-of-death. No competition means that there is no market. Further, don’t say that the book would make a good movie. If that is the case, write the screen play.
- Marketing and publicity. This is the heart of your proposal because it bears directly on the commercial success of your book. Answer this question, “How will you market this book and what publicity and PR can you bring to bear for its commercial success?” Will you use social networking? A blog? Web site? Can you get on radio or television programs? Do you have a public speaking background? What about public appearances, lectures, seminars? Can the book be sold at your events? Use one or two pages for this. See number 16 below.
- The book’s table of contents. Include chapter titles. Do not confuse this with the table of contents of the book proposal, number 3 above. Don’t worry about page numbers, as the chapters may not be written yet.
- Annotated table of contents. Write one or two paragraphs on the subject matter of each chapter. This does not need be exhaustive, just give the reader enough information so that what the chapters will cover is made plain. Don’t hold back the books endings or other important material.
- Write the book’s introduction. This can be one page or ten pages. Write it fully and completely, not in abbreviated or as a synopsis. If your book does not have an introduction, you might elect to include two chapters.
- The full and complete chapter one. Do not include photographs, graphics, or anything other than text because in the final manuscript they will not be included either. Rather they will be added by the publisher. If you are writing a photography book or other manuscript replete with, ask the publisher or agent how to present this. Do not make this decision alone. You must
format the proposal properly, or it may not even be considered.
- Comps is marketing speak for ‘comparisons to other books and authors at your level, in your genre, and the book’s sales figures. Why? Agents and publishers want to be convinced that your book will sell and earn back their investment. This is not optional.
- Don’t hesitate to include what you will do to market the book. Your activities may include:
- Developing a website for the book or for your writing career that highlights the book. See WayneAEnglish.com
- Publishing, at your expense, media releases with major, nation wide, companies that will sent it to media, bloggers, and elsewhere.
- Sending books to influencer’s in the field of the books scope.
- Public speaking to promote the book. This is called an Author Tour to create one takes time and aggravation on the phone and in email.
- Doing radio shows with online and broadcast radio shows. Hint: ask for the show director, not the on-air talent.
- Is your book non-fiction? Will it make a good text book? If so pitch it to colleges and high schools.
Please let me know what you think in the comments section below. Thank you.
Wayne A. English