You are a first-time writer and you have just finished writing your book, your first book, your dream, your ticket to success, fame, and glory. You feel terrific and on top of the world, don’t you? I know. I have been there, being a writer myself.
But hang on. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your job is done. It’s only half done, or maybe even less than that. What remains to be done is the critical part of finding a publisher for your book. To do that, you have to write a book proposal, and this article will help you with just that. So here are the steps of writing a book proposal.
1. Identify the publishers that you want to send your proposals to.
2. Go to the websites of these publishers and read the guidelines for manuscript submission carefully.
a. Typically, different publishers have different guidelines.
b. But most publishers will want a brief synopsis of the book, information about you and your past writing experience, and 2 or 3 sample chapters.
c. Some publishers accept proposals of books that are complete or close to complete. They do not accept proposals of books that are in the very early or early stages.
d. Some publishers do not allow simultaneous submissions. Typically, these publishers will be big and good publishers, and if they don’t allow simultaneous submissions, chances are that their turnaround time will be quick too. So it might be worth it to send your manuscript to them and wait till you hear from them. If you get a negative response, you can submit to other publishers.
e. Some publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts and book proposals. Check if this is the case with one of the publishers that you have identified, and if yes, do not send your book proposal to them since there is no point in doing that.
3. Write a good synopsis of your book.
a. Organize your thoughts.
b. Write about your book’s subject, theme, plot, and message, and why it will appeal to the readers.
c. Write a few things about your writing style.
d. Highlight the main target audience of your book.
4. Write about yourself. This should be fairly straight-forward.
5. Write about your past writing experiences. This should be fairly straight-forward as well.
6. Mention all the items that you have attached with your book proposal.
7. Close the proposal with a cheerful and optimistic “Hope to hear from you soon.”
8. Restrict the overall proposal to at most two pages only.
9. Choose the best two or three chapters from your book to send along with the proposal.
If the publisher wants you to send a hard copy to them, take a printout of the letter, sample chapters, and make sure to include a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) in the proposal. If the publisher accepts the book proposal by email, then just ZIP all the contents in a ZIP file and send it to the appropriate address.
That’s it! You are done! Follow these guidelines and your chances of getting a positive response will increase dramatically.
Of course, it has to be said that, ultimately, the response is likely to be positive if your book (as judged by your sample chapters) is good. Most first-time writers get rejected because the quality of their English is just not up to the mark. Being a publisher I have had to read such bad language that it is unbelievable that the writers actually believed that their proposal would be accepted. Even if the books are published, they have very little chance of selling the first edition. Sometimes, if the language is acceptable, the subject matter or the plot is un-cooked or half-cooked. So make sure that you do your absolute best with your book before you submit it to a publisher. Get help from professional editors if you have the means. Even if you find their charges a bit too high for your taste, good editors are worth their weight in gold. They will point out mistakes that you wouldn’t and couldn’t have imagined.
I have written enough. I will now sign off wishing you all the very best for your book proposal and the book.