Let’s get this out of the way right now. All non-fiction books are sold on proposal.
Now there’s the heavy aspect of this article all cleared up. What comes next is that supporting content that all writers should have after making their initial eye catching statement. (Okay all publishers expect to read after your first eye-catching statement of fact).
There are several reasons you want to write the book proposal first.
- Reason 1: You learn whether or not a publisher is interested in your work. If you are a mainstream writer, with millions of book sales under your belt most publishers won’t baulk at publishing your work, no matter what subject you chose. But if you are a newbie or even a published but less known author; the proposal is your best friend, if it’s well thought out and written.
- Reason 2: You may receive an advance for writing your book. This depends on who you are the book’s subject matter. The target audience it will be marketed to and the size of the publisher who takes it on. Again, for the mainstream million copies sold writer, this is not a problem; but your proposal is your lifeline when you are less known and can make or break this decision to advance you moneys based on a book that isn’t written yet.
- Reason 3: A book proposal is much easier to sell than a complete book. It’s easier to read a 20 or 30 page proposal than a 400 page book. Let’s face it; editors don’t have the time to read every single manuscript that land on their desk.
- Reason 4: It’s easier to make changes in the book’s concept at the proposal stage. You may be in the ballpark with your idea but perhaps the publisher or editor want to flesh it out and take it in a new direction. Depending on the subject its timeliness might mean the publisher wants to market to a different group; or whittle your idea down to market to a single niche that’s hot at the moment and expand it later.
- Reason 5: With a proposal, the publisher, in the person of your editor, can take ownership of the book. It’s like bespoke tailoring: the editor feels that the book has been specifically written for the publishing house.
Even if you decide to write your book first, you’ll need to create a proposal once you’ve written it. No agent or publisher is interested in reading an entire book to assess its viability. That’s the proposal’s job: to ensure that your book has a niche in the marketplace. As you do your research for the proposal, you’ll work out whether or not your book is likely to sell. You can shape the book at the proposal stage, much more easily than you can when it’s a huge stack of print or a giant computer file.
Sometimes you may get an idea for a book, but the idea is amorphous, it doesn’t have a real shape. You may want to write several thousand words to see whether the book becomes clearer in your mind. But write the proposal before you write more than ten thousand words, because your book must target a specific group of buyers.
Again if you’ve never written a book proposal for, visit Writerstopia.com, the publication for self-publishing and independent authors, click on the “Writer’s Radio” tab and click on the free download link, and you’ll receive a courtesy copy of “Dr. Ande’s How to Write a Book Proposal in 7 Days.”
See you soon,
Teacher of: How to Write a Book in 30 Hours