You may have the one-of-a-kind book idea of the year, but you'll need a well-written proposal to get an agent or editor to even look at your work: unless they ask for it - your work will be thrown into the trash pile.
A book proposal is a selling and marketing tool to help sell your work to editors and agents. Many years ago, my husband and I signed up for the Enlightened One Minute Millionaire (today it seems to be way different from when we signed up back in 2004) and we had choices of businesses, careers and genres to choose from: I chose Writing and Publishing and one of the courses to choose from was *How To Write a Million Dollar Book Proposal.*
There are many ways to write a book proposal and lots of information out there, but doing this myself for many years, I embraced reading lots of writing books, taking writing courses and reaching out to others - I have received much feedback from editors and publishing houses as well as from writing coaches and the like.
Here are some tips:
Overview (1 - 3 pages)
•Why is this book important?
•What benefits does the book offer readers?
•The length of the book.
•Markets for the book (your audience).
•The title and subtitle.
•Anecdotes, pictures, exercises, journal section etc.
•Special introduction if someone else is writing it for you.
•Resources to finish the book.
Competitive Analysis (1 - 2 pages)
List 4 - 5 books that are similar to yours. Write one short paragraph each supplying the full title, subtitle, author, publishing year, publisher, price of book, and how many pages. List the difference between their book and yours. What are their shortcomings? What are they missing? At the bottom of the page write a short paragraph explaining how different your book is and what your book offers that they don't offer. This is where you are "selling" your idea up against others who are already published.
About The Author (1 page)
In a nutshell, what qualifies you to write this book. This page is a bio of your writing and subject expertise. This is where you have the opportunity to sell yourself as a writer and author. List your achievements, writing experience, and your experience within the subject you are writing about. Mention if you are currently researching for another book.
Marketing Strategy ( 1 - 8 pages)
Let the truth be told, publishing houses don't have the time to sell the book for you. The author is the one who has to go out there and sell his or her work. Without a good marketing plan, you can kiss your book idea good-bye. Simply design a 22-point marketing strategy plan that will help sell your book. Sit down and freewrite ways to market your book. Who is your audience? How are you going to reach them? Make sure that your marketing plan coincides with your audience. You don't want to sell "How To Care For Farm Animals" to those who live in Manhattan. Be realistic that will allow you to reach your marketing goals. Examples of realistic goals: invest in a website, blog, and reach out to the media.
Chapter-by-Chapter Outline (1 - 8 pages)
This area allows you to break down each chapter and write about it. You're not to write about the subject or book, but briefly explain what each chapter is about in a nutshell.
Sample Chapter (30 - 50 pages or 2 chapters)
This doesn't have to be the first chapter, but make sure it's your best chapter! This is where the editors will see the full writing of your manuscript. Choose the best chapters you find most thrilling and include them in your book proposal.
*This takes a lot of time to complete. Patience and good writing is the utmost importance and always find someone to critique your work before sending it out.