If you’re writing a book and plan to submit it to a commercial publishing house, an important first step will be to prepare a formal book proposal. Typically, publishers and literary agents will first want to see a proposal, instead of your complete manuscript.
A well-written and complete book proposal will open doors that would probably remain shut otherwise. Putting one together requires that you do considerable research and follow a fairly specific format. Often, it can be almost as difficult and time-consuming as writing the book itself, but the effort can pay rich dividends.
The proposal should contain several sections, including:
- an overview;
- the perceived market for the book;
- information about your qualifications;
- what specific opportunities you might have to promote and sell the book;
- a list of other books that might be seen as similar to yours;
- why yours is different and better than the others;
- the book’s table of contents;
- a chapter-by chapter summary;
- one or two complete chapters.
If you plan to use photographs and/or artwork in your book, you should include samples of them as well.
There are a number of resources available to help you prepare your proposal, including the following books:
- The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book, by Susan Page
- Thinking Like Your Editor, by Susan Rabiner & Alfred Fortunato
- Write the Perfect Book Proposal, by Jeff Herman & Deborah L. Herman
- How to Write a Book Proposal, by Michael Larsen
A search of the Internet, in the category of “book proposals,” will uncover many other valuable resources. Having prepared proposals for our own account and for clients, we’ve also gathered a great deal of helpful material on this subject. If we can help in any way or answer any questions you may have, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 480-895-7617.