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Mastering The Art Of Writing A Proposal For A Non-Fiction Book

Non-fiction books do not have to be completed before you start looking for an agent. Books such as how-to and self-help books can be sold to agents and editors using proposals. A book proposal has certain components that you must include. Below are the vital components of book proposals.

Title page: The first thing you should include in a book proposal, obviously, is your name and contact details. You should also include the approximate word count of the book and the title you propose for it. The title should describe the meat of the book and it should have keywords to aid people searching for the book. You should not focus too much on subtitles because they are mostly useful for digital listings and library databases. The title is only a working title since publishers might decide to change it.

Outline of every chapter: You should create a vivid outline of every chapter, including all the highlights. The outline of each chapter should be no longer than two paragraphs. It is important to avoid giving too little or too much information. You should emphasize the unique function of each chapter in helping to develop your theme. When the agent or editor reads the whole outline, he should have a clear idea of the book.

Mention your market: In this section, you should mention the target market that you have in mind and explain why the book suits that particular audience. You should have a broad audience, but not too broad. For example, you could say that the book is intended for working women between the ages of 30 and 50. If you include more demographics of your audience, your book has a better chance of being accepted. You should also mention the trends you are observing and how they could work in your book’s favor.

Say some things about your perceived competition. If similar books to yours exist, explain how your book is better or more original than them. If a publisher has complementary books, you should mention how your book can be used to the publisher's advantage.

Author information: In this section you should give your academic qualifications, writing experience, and any other skills that make you the perfect person to write the proposed book. If you don’t have a lot of publishing credits or a degree in journalism, you should highlight the things that prove you can write the book.

Specifications of an unfinished book: In this category, you should write the estimate number of chapters, approximate word count, and the estimated time of completion for the book. You should also say if the book will have illustrations, graphs, photographs, etc.

Table of contents: This is a list of chapter titles that will enable the agent to visualize the topics that will be discussed in the book.

Sample chapters: This is important if you have already started writing the book. You should send an agent one or more completed chapters, preferably the first and second chapters.

The proposal of your book should be similar in tone to the book itself. For instance, if your book is to be lighthearted and humorous, the proposal should also be the same.