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Writing A Selling Book Proposal
At its absolute basic, a book proposal is nothing more than a sales pitch. It is how you sell your book idea to an editor and is required if you are intending to try to sell a non-fiction book to a publisher. Publishers are in business to make money and they want to see that they will make a profit on your work – that’s where your book proposal comes in.
Novels and kids’ books normally need to be written in full before you can sell it, but a non-fiction book doesn’t. What it needs is the book proposal, a brief but deep overview of your idea, how you are approaching it and how the book is organized. You will also need to provide a sample. This tells a publisher or an agent who you are, as well as what your expertise is and whether you are qualified to write this book.
A book proposal has to convince publishers, editors, agents, and anyone else that you really do know what you are talking about. They need to know that you know who your target audience is and that you have done all your research. They also want to see that there is a big enough market for them to make a profit as well as you. Your proposal, if accepted, is the document that the agent will use to sell the idea to the editor and, once a deal is reached, you can go on to write that book.
Developing Your Book Proposal
It isn’t as time-consuming as writing the entire book, but it is probably harder to create. Your book proposal must stand up to scrutiny and it requires some in-depth thinking about what you are going to write, along with in-depth research. To get started, think about the answers to these questions:
Why does there need to be a book about this topic?
Is there a good reason you want to write this particular book? Who is your audience and how big is it? Are there any holes in the market that your book will fill? How do you envisage the finished product? What will the reader get from your book and why have you presented the information in book format? Is there another way?
Why should you write this book?
Why are you the right person for the job? What qualifies you to write it? What media platform are you using? What help can you provide the marketing and publicity department with in coming up with a strategy to put the book out there when it’s published?
Why does the book need to be written at this time?
What makes the proposed book right for the time (bear in mind it could be 18 months before it is actually published). Are there any trends developing that back your timing up? Is your book timeless, i.e. a subject that never goes out of fashion?
The stronger you can make your book proposal, the easier it will be to sell the idea to your agent and to an editor, and that makes it even easier to get it accepted by a publisher. Answering these questions will be the basis of your book proposal – structure it and flesh it out with relevant information.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds