Writing Wednesday; Let’s Talk about Book Proposals…

Writing Wednesday

Wednesday is the day I share what I’ve learned on my journey from writing, publication, marketing; and doing it all again, and again. The kind of information I wish someone shared with me back when.

Let’s Talk About Book Proposals

I’ve always been a planner, so it makes perfect sense I’d be a plotter when it comes to writing.
One of our local libraries hosted a panel of literary agents a few weeks ago. I was surprised to hear them say they are now requesting book proposals for fiction and nonfiction books.

A proposal is a business plan for your book.

It’s a good idea to create a rough draft of your proposal before you write the book. Keep in mind your proposal can be edited as you go; you aren’t writing it in stone. Also keep in mind your proposal is a sort of map for where you want to go with the story, it can help keep you focused.

Agents and publishers may have slightly different requirements for proposals so be sure to read what they expect before submitting to them but the nuts and bolts needed are included in this standard template.

Here’s a standard template for a book proposal

Cover letter

Write a short query letter that includes the title, subtitle, genre and word count and an overview of your story that includes the beginning, middle and end. You also want to introduce the antagonist and protagonist. Think of this as the copy that will go on the back of the book.

Target Audience

Who is going to read this book and why? How large is this demographic and how will you reach them? Choose two or three types of readers that will be interested in what you’re writing.

Writing Bio

What are your credentials to tell this story? Have you been published? Do you have a blog? This section shouldn’t be longer than your cover page. Keep it short and sweet but relevant. If you haven’t been published, think about starting a blog, entering writing contests or even writing opinion pieces or letters to the editor of your local newspaper.

Comparative Titles

This is important. The more competition out there the better! That means people are buying and reading the type of book you’ve written. List three or four similar; successful titles, the author, year published (should be fairly recent) and the publisher. Write a short comparison and why yours is better. It’s a good idea to read a few comparative titles.

Marketing Plan

The marketing plan is one of the most important parts of your proposal. Do you know
most important parts of your marketing plan will include the positive information about you and your book and where you will have to advertise and promote to reach your target audience. I’ll be sharing more information on this next week.

Also included in your marketing plan:
• Who do you think might consider writing a blurb? How will you reach them?
• Besides book- stores are there any organizations or groups that would host an event for you?

Table of Contents

Include your entire table of contents and then a detailed overview of each chapter. This section should be between six and twenty pages. It will help a busy agent or publisher quickly get a real feel of the story and your writing.

Sample Chapters

The first one or two chapters – not the introduction, the actual full chapters.



Good luck and happy writing,


Have you always wanted to write a book but have no idea where to start?

Have you written a book and have no idea what publishing route is best for you? Are you struggling with platform building? I am a book coach and would be happy to offer you a free ½ hour consultation. For questions or to schedule your consultation:

What is a book/author coach?

A book coach is knowledgeable in all things writing, publishing and marketing. The most important thing your coach can offer is to provide you with the tools you need to feel confident and motivated to create the best and most successful manuscript possible, to make the best
publishing decision and to guide you in making the most effective marketing choices for you and your book.
The services are affordable, and packages are available from as little as one session to sessions throughout the entire process.
Ghostwriting services also available.


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