Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Part Three – Creating A Perfect Book Proposal

The book proposal is what you use to sell your book to the publishers.    Every publisher will want a book proposal either on paper or by email, but not every publisher requires the same information in the proposal package.  With that said, below is the basic information that any publisher will require before considering publishing your book.

The basic book proposal package should include:

A Cover Letter
Gives the editor or publisher an overview of you, your work, and the items in your book proposal that you have submitted to them.

Jim Sanders
145 Elm Terrace
New York, NY 10002

November 21, 2013

Henry Jones, Editor
One World Publishing Group
10024 Park West, Suite 500, Floor 5
New York, NY 10011

Dear Mr. Jones:

Thank you for allowing me to submit my book proposal to you.  I know that you will enjoy reading Red Blood in the Wild Woods.   I feel that I am a great fit for both you and your publisher.

I hired Williams, Reed, and Buie to conduct a focus group on the book.  95% of the people who read the book would both recommend it to a friend and purchase it when available.  I have included a copy of their report at the back of the book proposal.

Please allow me to reference some highlights from my writing career that may be of interest to you:
  • My first novel, Don’t Fix the Door, It’s Broken, Blue Jay Press, 1998, sold 50,000 copies in the first month.
  • The five novels I have written since have out preformed other books in the same category.
  •  Lost in the Wild Woods, my first novel series, was featured on the New York’s Times Best Sellers List, number twenty, for one week.

In these examples, as well as throughout my career, I have met and exceeded expectations in writing objectives through an uncompromising focus on what my readers expect from me.  Now, I would like to do the same for your organization.

My proposal will provide additional details regarding my background and accomplishments. I would welcome the opportunity for you to choose me as your next writer to writer.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Jim Sanders

(Manuscript, synopsis, biography, other works list,
Williams, Reed, and Buie focus group report)

Sample Chapter(s)
If you submit sample chapters, be ready to submit at least two or more completed chapters.  This gives the editor at the publication a feel of where you book is headed and if your work is something that they would consider publishing.

Outline (if book is not yet written)
If you only have an idea for a book and have not started to write it yet, the outline will serve the same purpose of the sample chapter(s).  Outlines usually gives the highlights of your book, chapter by chapter.  If you don’t have a clue of the direction of your book, you may have to wait until you’ve written a few chapters to submit sample chapter(s).  Outlines can be very, very lengthy.

Is a short summary of your book and allows the reader to experience the feeling of your book, without reading the sample chapter(s) or outline.  Like Cliff’s Notes for the editor or the publisher.  It allows them to make the determination without wasting loads of time.

Author’s Biography
Even if you have never written anything, every author needs a biography, no matter how small.  Biographies allow the reader, publisher or editor into the life of the writer, and may help them determine why a book is written in a particular way.

List of Other Books Written and/or Published
List of other works written allows the reader, editor, or publisher to further determine if the work that you are submitting works for their company.

Putting It All Together
Like I stated before, before you submit any work to any publisher, proofread, proofread, proofread.  Simple spelling and punctuation mistakes can make you look like a writer just starting out.  Whether you are new to the game or an old pro, your writing skills are a direct reflection of you. 

Tips you can use:

Double-space everything that you write for submissions.  Blank spaces between typed word are easier to read.

If you are submitting your entire manuscript put pages numbers on every page, except the first one.  Also include your last name in the opposite corner.  Include a separate title page, and start every new chapter on a new page.

In the cover letter, include the total word count of your work.

Include a SASE or your email address, but before you do anything check with the publisher’s guidelines first.

Keep records of everyone you send a book proposal package to.  You do not want to make the mistake of sending the same proposal to an editor twice.

Closing Thought
It is not hard to find publishers that will accept proposal from writers with no literary agents; in fact it may be to your advantage.  If you don’t have a literary agent, you may not get as much in royalties, but you could very well get the whole kit and caboodle.  

Sure literary agents do have a place in the publishing world, but that place should not be in your back pocket.  When you polish your skills, you will find that you can get nearly the same deals as literary agents.

There are publishers out there who are looking for the works that you have written.  They are willing to work with you right out of the box and they will pay you a royalty and maybe even an advancement, if your work is exceptional.

If you use all of the information in these three reports, you too can submit your works to a major publisher and be published too. 

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