CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JUN. 03, 2014
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How to Write a Book Proposal and Get Published Faster Than the Average Writer

If you want to get a book published, you need to know how to write a book proposal. A book proposal is a sample of, and a description of a proposed book. Nowadays, there is tremendous competition for editors’ time. Therefore, to be read or considered, your book proposal needs to be superbly written, edited and organized. It should be focused and accompanied by supporting materials. You need to convince the editor that he must have your book by all means.

To write a winning book proposal, you need to have these thoughts in mind:

  • What is the book about?
  • What is so special and important about this book? Why would anyone want to publish it?
  • Are you qualified to write this book?
  • Who is your main audience for the book?

The following are the main sections of a book proposal:

  1. Title page – Author’s names, title, email addresses and phone numbers
  2. One sentence summary – Should capture the essence of your book
  3. Brief overview – This should be informative, exciting and should make someone desire to read the book. It briefly explains to the publisher who the target market is and what your book is about.
  4. Felt need – What existing needs will your book fulfill? What questions will it answer? What can the book offer your audience?
  5. About the authors – Write briefly about each author. What qualifies you to write this book? Mention any previously published articles or books along with sales figures. Convince the editor that you are the best author to write a book on the subject. Remember to include a photo of yourself.
  6. The market – This is important for anyone learning how to write a book proposal. Why would anyone want to buy this book? Who is your target audience? How can this audience be reached? What relationship do you have with the market? What magazines and books has this audience already read? What are their preferred TV or radio programs? Show that you have a good understanding of who will purchase the book and why.
  7. Author marketing – What ability do you have to reach the target market? Don’t just give ideas for marketing, but explain what you have already done, what plans you have for marketing the book, and what contacts you have. Mention speaking engagements that have been booked, television or radio programs where you are scheduled to appear, a newsletter that you are send out frequently or a blog that gets many visitors. Include specific blog stats (daily page views, daily unique visitors), number of Facebook fans and number of Twitter followers.
  8. The competition – What other publications exist on the same topic? How is your book better of different? First, discuss generally the condition of the marketplace in terms of books on this subject. Then write a list of 5 – 10 books, preferably published in the last five years, which are very comparable to yours. Mention the title, year of publication and author. Briefly explain what each book is about, and why yours is better, different or a good complement.
  9. Details – How long will your book be (in terms of words, not pages)? After signing the contract, how much time will you need to complete the book?
  10. Chapter outline – This is where your book needs to be well thought through and organized. You need to have a title for each chapter, with a few sentences explaining each chapter’s theme.
  11. Sample chapters – Usually, this would include the introduction plus two or three chapters. Make sure the sample chapters are perfect and polished.  

Learning how to write a book proposal is hard work. However, a well written proposal can yield great dividends for any author.

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