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Writing Another Book Proposal

I just submitted a magazine article two weeks ahead of deadline. Yay me! Now, I can turn to writing a book proposal that an editor asked me to develop. I short queried first, taking no more than twenty minutes to write up the query. The editor replied, asking for a complete proposal, one that includes two sample chapters. Here’s what this publisher asks for:

  • A cover letter, including: a brief summary of the book, the approximate length (word count) of your manuscript, and why you think your book is a good fit for Imbrifex Books.
  • A table of contents or outline of the book’s contents
  • Two sample chapters
  • Any photographs or illustrations you believe might assist us in evaluating your proposal (do not send originals!)
  • A brief list of similar or competitive books, including title, author, publisher, ISBN number, and date of publication. (These are all available on and other online booksellers.) Tell us what makes your book unique. How does it differ from your competition? (This is vitally important information — please take the time to research thoroughly and think about it carefully.)
  • Marketing and publicity plans or ideas
  • A description of your book’s target audience (Please be as specific as possible.)
  • A brief autobiographical summary or résumé. What do you, as the author, bring to the project?
  • Your mailing address, daytime phone number, and e-mail address

A big project, eh? Certainly. And I’ll develop a website to support the proposal, just like I did with (external link). One editor, who passed on that project, called Nevada Ag’s website the best book proposal idea he had ever seen. Why all this work?

It’s all about commitment. Any press is taking a big risk on your book, both in time and money. They want to see that you are also fully involved, not just in writing the book but also in marketing the title. Are you a true partner or not?

A good comparison is the business plan. You can’t ask for financing based on an interesting idea, you have to develop a lengthy, well analyzed plan that shows how your idea makes economic sense. Business plans can take months to write but they are the first test a lending company will ask you to pass.

I am aiming to complete my proposal by January 1st, 2018. A warning word to all my foreign readers — little gets done in America during December. It is a very difficult time to get hold of people. Lots of holidays in December with families often the central focus. Get your correspondence done now or be prepared to wait longer for replies next month.

By thomasfarley01

Business writer and graphic arts gadfly.

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