Sunday, October 4, 2009

Side Trip: How to Write a Non-Fiction Book Proposal – Part 3

List 5 Features your book has.

You may have more than five, but you should have at least five.

Features are “tangible” items your book has. For example, your book might have lists of resources, sidebars of helpful information, timelines, charts, or application questions to help readers apply what they’ve learned.

In Writing Copy for Dummies (Wiley, 2005, pg. 20), author Jonathan Kranz describes Features this way:

Features are qualities or things that an item or service has, such as anti-lock
disc brakes or a water-repelling exterior shell. Features are static characteristics, and they’re almost always nouns or adjectives. The pencil, for example, has the following features:

  • It’s yellow.
  • It’s a hexagon.
  • It has an eraser.
In her book, The Mom Inventors Handbook (McGrawhill, 2005, $16.95, pg. 15), Tamara Monosoff says this about a product’s features. (And your book is a “product.”):

Describe your product’s features. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a “feature” is “a prominent or distinctive aspect, quality, or characteristic.” If you were describing a home’s features, for instance, you might say three bedrooms, a master bath, an updated kitchen, and hard-wood floors. Use this as a guide when determining your own product’s proposed features. The TP [toilet paper] Saver has the following product features:

  • No assembly required
  • Simple to use
  • No need to remove toilet paper for insertion
  • Fits most standard toilet paper holders

I didn’t know any of this stuff when I published my first book, Dear America: A Letter of Comfort and Hope to a Grieving Nation. Now, however, I’m going back and applying what I’m learning to that book. As an example, here are five Features I listed that are in Dear America:

  1. Ten things I’ve learned about grief (Which, by the way, I’ve sold as an article.)
  2. A presentation of the Gospel like a five-act story.
  3. A sample prayer to accept Christ.
  4. Questions and Answers section: such as “How can we know Christianity is true?,” “Who are the Muslims?,” “Where did the religion of Islam come from?,” and “Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God?”
  5. Ten Tips to help beginners start reading and understanding the Bible.

What Features does your book or proposed book have? List them.

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