If you've already written a proposal and want to know how to submit it, check out this three-step guide. And, before you get too far, it's worth knowing that writing a book proposal is not the same as a query letter — which is what you would write to attract a literary agent's attention.
The book proposal is a or so page manuscript that a writer uses to pitch a nonfiction book to publishers. Chiefly, a good proposal will cover:. Now, the book proposal is going to be the dais on which you display your diamond so that it glows. Click To Tweet.
Publishers read thousands of proposals a week. We say this without exaggeration. That means that they want to see the potential in your book — and that they will be wondering one thing more than anything else. Can this book make us money? In other words: why is your premise unique? How will it benefit people who read it?
This is very important. If you'd prefer video, check out the replay of a Reedsy Live webinar, as ghostwriter Barry Fox explains one way to create a killer book proposal. For developmental editor Elizabeth Evans , that's exactly what makes the Overview so important:. Write your Overview as though you're writing the copy of your book jacket. The Overview should employ the same combination of vivid description, charm, and salesmanship the publisher will eventually use to woo book buyers.
You should prepare the content of the Overview with two things in mind. First, you must establish what your book will be about.
The Overview is your chance to make them think, Ah , finally a great proposal! Everyone will want to read about this big boy. This is the shocking and inspirational memoir of a boy who survived the Rwandan genocide.
When he was seven years old, Hyppolite lost eighty members of his extended family and witnessed the murder of his beloved father. Born in a mud hut without shoes, water, or power, he struggled after the genocide to gain an education and to learn to forgive the killers. By the age of thirty, he had graduated from university in Rwanda and worked as a journalist and radio presenter, a playwright, and a theatre director.
Then try to capture that effect to make the subject of your book sound new or intriguing in your Overview. In the final paragraph or two, sum up the project and end with something that will stick with readers. A note about the significance and reach of your subject matter is usually a good fit. Perhaps your book idea is brilliant. To paint a portrait of your target audience , think as a marketer might, instead.
Editor Patrick Price suggests asking:.
The more precise your brushstrokes, the better. What else should you keep in mind to attain precision? Once you figure out your audience, you need to clarify in your proposal whether there are 5 or 50, people in it.
Stick to verifiable numbers. Or that 11, Bigfooters attended the online Sasquatch Summit in These are all digital footprints pun intended that you can chase.
The biggest challenge lies in marketing the book. Aside from the fact that it can be overwhelming, most authors have day jobs and not much time to figure out which book promotion strategies will work. The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan is loaded with proven and effective tactics to make the marketing journey a bit easier and a lot more effective.
Each chapter concludes with an interview with a successful nonfiction author, providing even more real-world insight. Written for new and established authors of business, self-help, health and wellness, memoir, how-to, and other nonfiction books, The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan will help you identify proven tactics that you can begin implementing immediately to reach your audience and sell more books. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, Stephanie has been featured in Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, and Wired magazine, and she is a blogger for Forbes.
This book is loaded with strategies that will help you sell more books online. Buy it. Dear Nina: Thank you for the opportunity to participate, and thank you for the great introduction. Thank you so much.
Great list Roger. I just purchased another program called Scrivener! I think this thing is a Godsend! I can make templates and organize ideas before I even get started. Really love it. Would be a great addition to your list. A lot of writers I know are using Scrivener. I might just have to check it out. I hear it also produces something you can upload to Kindle…. Dear Coach Comeback: Thank you for reminding me about Scrivener which, as Nina says, has a large and growing following.
Best wishes on your writing endeavors…keep us informed!
Hi Roger, thank you for sharing this. Very informative indeed. What I love about them is that your ideas are completely fresh and not a copy of the other 99 blogs. I am in the process of writing my first history book. I am completely lost.