How to Write an Irresistible Book Proposal


“How to Write an Irresistible Book Proposal” by Joan Y. Edwards

It’s difficult to get all the pieces of the writing puzzle together. However, a book proposal puts all of the pieces to the writing puzzle for a book in one place. If it’s missing a few elements, the editor or agent might say, “Sorry, Charlie.” Take a look at the 1973 Star Kist Tuna Commercial. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-Wy_BRFElc&NR=1. You don’t want to hear, “Sorry, Charlie.”

You might say, “Aw, cheese noodles, I can’t do this.”

The more you say it, the truer it will become.

So why not say, “I can do it.” It’s fewer words. It takes less energy to say. And you get what you want, which is a winning book proposal. Put a picture of the completed proposal on the image screen of your mind. See it sparkle. It’s a winner. There are essential parts to a book proposal. If your book proposal has the information the publisher or agent needs to sell your book, you’ll have a better chance than other writers.  So here’s what I think will make a winning book proposal for you.

*****

Irresistible Book Proposal

Date
Title of Your Book
Your Name
Address
Phone Number
Email Address

General Information
In what area of book store will it be found:
In what area of library will it be found:
Number of pages double-spaced (Word Count):
Black and White Only
Number of Color Illustrations
Number of Chapters
Annotated Bibliography
Appendix: Resources included (samples, charts, and forms)
Index

Why I Am the Most-Qualified Person to Write This Book
(In Your Mind be answering the question, Why I am the Best one to Write this book?)

I am the most-qualified person to write this book because of the following three reasons: (Write in paragraph form or as 1., 2, 3.)

My Writing Credits

  1. Books and/or articles you’ve had published in newspapers and/or magazines.
  2. Website
  3. Blog(s)
  4. Member of Writing Critique Group(s)
  5. Member of Professional Writing Association(s)

Marketing Information:

Why Is This Book Needed?

What are the messages in your book?

Show the findings of your research. Cite resources. Use quotes.

Possible Endorsements:

Marketing Strategies:

If a children’s book: How are you going to reach the gatekeepers (Parents, grandparents, librarians, teachers) for the children who will want to read your book?

If a book for adults: How are you going to reach them?

I will put links to purchase the book on my website and blog.
I will spread the word about my book on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, and JacketFlap.
I will be available for:
a. Newspaper, Magazine, Radio and Television Interviews
b. Skype and Podcast Interviews and Workshops
c. Book signings
d. Conferences, Seminars and/or workshops (tell who, when, where, and why)

Extra products that could be marketed in conjunction with the book (T-shirts, cups, pens), CDs, DVDs, eBooks, ePubs
Giveaways

Competitive Analysis: Tell why your book is better than all five books listed here.

Five competitive books

1. Title by First and Last Name of Author. Publisher: Year of Publication, Number of pages, ISBN Number.
Paragraph (4-5 sentences summarizing the book.)
Last sentence or two tells why your book is better.

2.  Title by First and Last Name of Author. Publisher: Year of Publication, Number of pages, ISBN Number.
Paragraph (4-5 sentences summarizing the book.)
Last sentence or two tells why your book is better.

3. Title by First and Last Name of Author. Publisher: Year of Publication, Number of pages, ISBN Number.
Paragraph (4-5 sentences summarizing the book.)
Last sentence or two tells why your book is better.

4. Title by First and Last Name of Author. Publisher: Year of Publication, Number of pages, ISBN Number.
Paragraph (4-5 sentences summarizing the book.)
Last sentence or two tells why your book is better.

5. Title by First and Last Name of Author. Publisher: Year of Publication, Number of pages, ISBN Number.
Paragraph (4-5 sentences summarizing the book.)
Last sentence or two tells why your book is better.

BENEFIT TO THE READER AND OUTLINE OF PROJECT:

Tell who the readers will be and write a paragraph giving three reasons how readers will benefit from your book.

Summary: 25 word Short Selling Pitch Summary  (less than two lines)

100 Word Selling Pitch Summary (Approximately 7 lines)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1: TITLE
Summary 4-6 lines (40-80 words)

CHAPTER 2: TITLE
Summary 4-6 lines (40-80 words)

CHAPTER 3: TITLE
Summary 4-6 lines (40-80 words)

CHAPTER 4: TITLE
Summary 4-6 lines (40-80 words)

CHAPTER 5: TITLE
Summary 4-6 lines (40-80 words)

CHAPTER 6: TITLE
Summary 4-6 lines (40-80 words)

CHAPTER 7: TITLE
Summary 4-6 lines (40-80 words)

Appendix (Resources included in book)

  1. What it contains
  2. What it contains
  3. What it contains

INDEX

Along with the Proposal, the publisher or agent may ask for the first chapter, first three chapters, or something different. Check their guidelines.

*****

Here are two other sources you can check out:

William Cane http://hiwrite.com/pro.html

Larsen, Michael. How to Write a Book Proposal. Writer’s Digest Books, 1985.

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Even better, let me know if you use my book proposal as a template and get a big, “YES, send me your whole manuscript or YES, I’d like to buy this book.”

Thanks for reading my blog.

**Click “Sign Me Up” in the left hand column, to subscribe to receive an email when I post my next article. In the confirmation letter to you from WordPress, there is a link and password to get a Never Give Up Build It One Block at a Time logo image I created as a gift for subscribing.

If there’s a topic you’d like for me to discuss on my blog, let me know.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com

Copyright © 2011-2013 Joan Y. Edwards

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10 Responses

  1. Some good points, Joan, especially for nonfiction books, which many people forget need to be queried.

    Personally, I don’t believe a fiction book need be summarized chapter by chapter, but maybe some publishers or agents require that.

    Like

    • Dear Vivian, Thanks for stopping by and leaving comments on my blog post about a winning book proposal. As the President, Owner and Editor of 4RV Publishing, I am excited that you thought I made good points, especially for nonfiction books. It’s good to know that writers need to check the guidelines to see if the publisher or agent wants a fiction book summarized chapter by chapter. Do something fun to celebrate being you today. You make a difference.

      Never Give Up Joan Y. Edwards, Author/Illustrator http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com

      Like

  2. Joan,

    I’m using your template as a guide for a proposal I’m writing. This one helped land your book contact. A winning model makes a great guide! Thanks Joan.

    Linda A.

    Like

    • Dear Linda, Thanks for telling me you’re using my proposal template as a guide for your proposal. It did help me win a book contract. I added a few directions and added a few marketing ideas that I believe would be beneficial. Good luck with your proposal. I hope it lands you the contract you desire. Celebrate when you send it off! Never Give Up Joan Y. Edwards, Author/Illustrator http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com

      Like

    • Dear Linda,
      I’m glad you like all the positive self-talk. I agree with your addition to #5. Asking questions about your work is a good way to get a helpful critique. One with the satisfying juices of “Yes, I see how that would make my story better.”
      Thanks for stopping by and giving us your ideas.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  3. thanks for this blog. another one for my wiki

    Like

    • Have a Flip Flap Floodle Day!

      Joan Y. Edwards, Author/Illustrator Flip Flap Floodle at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/ Website http://www.joanyedwards.com Never Give Up Blog http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com

      Like

    • Dear Carol, Thanks for stopping by. I am honored that you are putting a link to my proposal blog post on your wiki. Do something fun to celebrate being you today.

      Dream! Love! Laugh! Never Give Up. Joan Y. Edwards http://www.joanyedwards.com http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com

      Like

  4. Thanks for putting so much good information here, Joan. I like how you organized it, and that it was succinct and feels very do-able. Praying we all make the time to follow our hearts’ leading in this. We can do it! :l

    Like

    • Dear Lara,
      You’re very welcome. Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you liked how I organized the ideas about the proposal. It’s good that you feel comfortable with it and that you feel you can do it. That’s what I’m hoping my writing gets across to you, that you can do it. You go, Lara. You can do it. Do something fun for you today to celebrate being your sweet self.
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

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