Monday, November 30, 2009
Do you have an idea for a sequel?
Or several (which would make a series)?
If yes, tell them here and give them an idea (a sentence or two) about what each following book would be like.
Friday, November 27, 2009
If you have ideas for alternative titles for your book, you can list them here.
If you have ideas for other subtitles from what you put on this proposal, you can list them.
You may not get to keep your title. Publishers have marketing committees that brainstorm titles that will catch attention and sell the book. So your title may change before publication and it's possible you won't have anything to say about it. However, you should put the best, catchiest, most wonderful title on your book that you can possibly think of in order to sell it to the editor. So if you come up with more than one and don't know which to use, put your favorite on your proposal and list the others here. Your publisher will appreciate the ideas and thought you've put into it.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Tell them where you are with your manuscript right now.
- Are you about halfway through writing it?
- Are you submitting this proposal elsewhere simultaneously?
This statement might look something like this:
“I currently have three sample chapters written and am circulating queries and proposals simultaneously to agents and publishers.”
Or for fiction:
“I have my story synopsis complete and am currently writing this novel. I’m about half way through my first draft.”
Friday, November 20, 2009
When can you deliver the manuscript? How many months will you need to complete it?
Give them your best estimate. And be sure to include time for when your life blows up and everything in the universe keeps you from writing.
In other words, make a schedule you can live with. Then tell them when you could have your manuscript done if they asked for it.
A good amount of time is usually six months, so you could say:
Manuscript Delivery: I could deliver the manuscript within six months of a signed contract.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Give an idea of how long your finished manuscript will be. Book length can be stated in number of words or pages. Pages are double-spaced, of course.
If you don’t yet have your manuscript written (and you shouldn’t; you should be writing your nonfiction* proposal first), you will have to make an estimate. For heaven’s sake, make sure your projected length is within the lengths the publisher publishes. That information should be on their writer’s guidelines.
If you’ve already written your three sample chapters, that should help you be able to estimate how long the rest of the chapters will be.
If you haven’t gotten that far yet, you might want to wait until you’ve created your chapter summaries, or at least mapped out how many chapters you will have.
If you’ll have 12 chapters and your prospective publisher wants 60,000 words, can you write an average of 5,000 words for each chapter? Do you have enough material? Do you have too much material?
This is a good average length for a nonfiction book:
12 chapters x 5,000 words = 60,000 words
When estimating number of pages, there are about 250 words on a manuscript (double-spaced) page.
* FICTION WRITERS: If you’re writing fiction, then publishers will want you to finish your manuscript before they make a decision. This is for first-time authors. Established authors may not have to, but you’re not there yet. If you are, why are you reading about how to write a proposal?! I’m sure you already know this stuff. ;-)
If you’ve written your novel, give them the length in number of words and/or pages. If you haven’t completed your manuscript, give them your best estimate.
Monday, November 16, 2009
This is where you list your writing credentials.
This is not where you list the credentials you have for writing the book—your education, experience, or expertise on the topic. We did that in Part 9: “Why should you write this book?”
Instead, this part of your book proposal tells your writing experience. Mention:
- Your periodical publications. State how many you have. List a few of your best publications or the ones directly related to the topic of your book.
- Your book contributions, if any.
- Your own published books.
- Any awards you’ve won.
- Special mentions of your work.
This is where you “show off” your writing experience (but, of course, don’t look like you’re showing off). Don’t be shy. Just help the editor or agent know how experienced you are as a writer.
If you don’t yet have any writing credentials, you don’t have to say that or call attention to it. Just leave this part out of your book proposal and don’t mention it. (In the mean time, you might want to try getting some publishing credits. Print magazines count for a lot. Online magazines will do. Your own blog probably doesn’t count, unless you have an extraordinary readership.)
Consider this your resume. You’re looking for a job, and you’re hoping this agent or publisher will “hire” you to write your book. In order to make that decision, they need to know what writing experience you have.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Like the last post, this is another question not all the books and material on writing book proposals will include, but it’s a good one to include to make your proposal stand out.
Of all the seasons or years in the world, why should publshers be interested in publishing this book now?
- Is there something going on that makes your book particularly timely right now?
- Have you experienced something recently and are others experiencing the same thing that they need your book now?
- Are politics or society in a place that makes your book particularly needed now?
Don’t forget that your book won’t be out for 18 to 24 months after you sign a contract with a publisher. Will your topic still be needed, hot, and relevant in two years?
One example is the current interest in the Mayan calendar saying the world will end in 2012. There are already books and movies coming out on the topic, but those books were written a few years ago and were published months ago.
Tell me (um, er, actually your potential agent or editor, in your proposal), why is now a great time to publish this book?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This is one question not all the books and material on writing book proposals will include, but it’s a good one to include to make your proposal stand out.
Of all the people in the world, why should you write this book?
- Do you have particular educational credentials?
- Do you have life experience that you’re speaking from?
- Are you an expert in the area?
- Have you studied this area in depth?
- Do you have a combination of skills and experience that make you unique to write on this topic?
Tell me (um, er, actually your potential agent or editor, in your proposal) why should you be the one to write this book?
Friday, November 6, 2009
Nancy asked me about my writing journey and about self-publishing.
Click here: Interview with Dianne
I hope you enjoy the interview!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Besides hearing about my writing journey, Nancy and I will talk about self-publishing.
I hope you'll stop by!