Preparing a Book Proposal

In finding a publisher who will help you make your book a reality, everything will start with a book proposal. Before you can get a publisher to take a chance with your book and sell your book to other people, you will need to sell your book concept to the publisher first.

In certain cases, you may want to start writing right away. Some writers begin by already preparing their manuscript and then submitting the same to targeted publishers. With this approach, the publisher gets to read right away, what you would want them to publish and this makes the decision of whether to publish your book or not much easier. On your part, you will need to invest a lot of time writing upfront and it is possible and probable that after having prepared your manuscript (and spending a lot of time in the process), the manuscript may be rejected in the end.

Well, nothing you write is ever really wasted and rejection or acceptance does not change that fact. Preparing a book proposal, however, may be a more efficient way to go about doing things as it can save both you and the publisher precious time and effort. A book proposal does not take as much time and effort as writing the actual manuscript but can already give the publisher a pretty good idea as to how the book will go. The two of you can then see right away whether this is a project that you can work on together. As a writer, you then begin the writing process once you have sold the initial concept of the book to the publisher.

I am very grateful that this is pretty much the way that Claretian Publications works. They started off by asking me for a book proposal and this gave me the chance to clarify my concept of the book in my mind before the actual writing part.

If you are asked by a publisher for a book proposal, what should it contain? You may use the following as a guide to prepare your own book proposal:

Formal letter addressed to the publisher: This can be a one-pager containing a brief summary of what you intend to do given your proposed book. You can put your suggested working title and discuss what the book will focus on. Tell the publisher whom you will target primarily as readers and how your book will differ from other books on the same topic in the market. End your letter by saying that the more detailed book proposal is attached and that you would welcome the opportunity to discuss the book project further.

The book proposal itself can contain the following sections:

Book Overview and Description: This portion will mention the working title of your proposed book and what your book intends to accomplish. You can ask yourself the following questions as you write this portion: How will your book differ from other books on a similar topic? How will it help others? Why will other people want to read your book?

You can already be very detailed in this portion by talking about things like how the book cover may look, what color scheme you will be using. Think of ways that you can use to make the book attractive to potential readers.

About the Writer: Give a background about yourself. You can discuss your educational and professional profile. If you are not a writer by profession or education, you can devote a few paragraphs to talk about your writing experience. Have your articles been previously published in popular magazines? Have you taken writing courses? If you are a blogger, how long have you been blogging and how widely-read is your blog? What makes you qualified to write about the topic that you have chosen?

You will need to convince the publisher that you have what it takes to get other people to read what you have written. Writing a book proposal is certainly not an exercise in humility. You will have to present your writing and other credentials in the best way you can.

Main Target Market: Who will read your book mainly? Think about nationalities, gender, age range, income class, lifestyle. The more specifically you can define your target market, the easier it will be to implement suitable marketing techniques and to write appropriate material.

Persons Who Can Endorse the Book: Unless you are already a popular and established writer, you may need to already tell your publisher the names of prominent individuals who may be able to help you by putting in a good word for your book. You may want to tap experts or writers who are knowledgeable about the topic you have chosen.

Table of Contents and Chapter Descriptions: You will need to already discuss how the book will flow. How will it begin? What will be its main sections? What will each section or chapter focus on? Typically, books may begin with a Foreword or a Preface and then end with References and Acknowledgments or an About the Writer or Author section.

Sample Chapter or Excerpt: If you have yet to prepare the complete manuscript, it makes good sense to give the publisher a sample of your actual writing. You can write one chapter or one portion of the book so that the publisher can assess your writing style, tone, and voice. The publisher can then decide whether you are the type of writer that they can work with.

So, if you have a book concept in mind, at this time, do write your book proposal. It can be the key to making your book concept a reality.

2 Responses to “Preparing a Book Proposal”

  1. Chris Moran says:

    Nice writing style. Looking forward to reading more from you.

    Chris Moran

  2. Angel says:

    Thanks for dropping by Chris and your kind words. Best regards.

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