In the last post I told you about writing a proposal in order to accomplish two things. The first being, “whether you had a book worth writing” and the second thing was getting paid to write the book. Now let’s talk about the reason you really need your proposal and how it affects your relationship with your new business partner – your publisher.
When you work with a publisher, remember, the publisher’s business is selling books. The company acquires books which it hopes will sell, and sell well. Your publisher is putting up the money to publish your book, so you need to approach the project from his point of view as well as your own.
Publishers sell books on consignment. Publishers’ ship books to bookshops, and if a book isn’t sold within a certain time period, it’s destroyed. The bookseller strips the cover from the book and sends the cover to the publisher for a full credit. This is the “return“. If a title doesn’t sell, the publisher takes a beating. As you can imagine, publishers are no keener to lose money than you or I.
The reason I’m bringing this up now is that you must keep this “return” thing in the back of your mind when you create your book proposal. Why you may ask? The answer is simple; it means that your proposal needs to emphasize the ways in which you, as the writer, will take responsibility for the book’s success.
You will try to ensure the success of your book by gauging the marketplace. You will work out who the likely buyers of your book might be, and the reasons they will have for paying good money for your book. You’ll assess the competition for your book. You’ll work out ways in which you can promote your book, so that people hear about it. You’re in partnership with your publisher, and if you’re prepared to take responsibility for that role, the publisher will be much more likely to buy your proposal.
Until next time,
- The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Your Own Book (writersradioblog.wordpress.com)
- Create Your Own Market For Independent Books (writersradioblog.wordpress.com)
- How to Sell a Book: Radical thinking for authors, publishers and readers (christianbookshopsblog.org.uk)