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Show Your Idea Is Newsworthy

To bolster your proposal, add research that shows your topic is popular, reference articles that you’ve been interviewed for or that have been written about you to show you’re in the public eye, and include news items that show the importance and relevance of your subject matter. Testimonials and reviews from clients and fans also add a little spice to the recipe!

  • Keep an eye on the major papers – and on the minor ones, too! Sometimes that’s where the most interesting news is to be found.
  • Sign up for Google News Alert ( and PR Newswire ( to get information related to your subject matter delivered directly to your email inbox.
  • Ask friends to alert you to stories about your subject matter in their local papers and favorite magazines.
  • Don’t forget to get your name out there, too. If you’re quoted in a story, even in a small local newspaper, copy the article and include it in your proposal.
  • Take a poll! Even a fun, unofficial poll can get an editor’s attention. Invite people to respond to a questionnaire on your website or to send you an e-mail with their answers.

Showing the Big Picture

You’ve created the big message – the one or two sentences that describe what your book is about. Now you have to show what it means and to whom. In the book proposal overview, you’ll give a brief description of the book and its audience – answering what, why, and how.

  • Tell what the book will be about
  • Include an audience description
  • Give details, such as how long the book will be, its structure, and any photographs or illustrations you plan to use (also explain where you’ll get them).
  • Create checklists and worksheets – these add a lot of perceived value to a book.
  • Include any other information that can help the editor envision the book. This is your most important opportunity to grab the editor’s attention so she’ll want to know more.
  • Describe studies and recent research that bolsters your case.
  • Mention a few sample success stories that you’ll use in the book.

I’ve seen some overviews that plunge into a description of the book without setting the scene. Don’t make this mistake! Instead of starting, “Wellness Diet includes information on whole grains, vegetarian diets, and organic farming,” give the editor the background. Try, “Ten percent of the population is vegetarian. This number grows by fifteen percent each year. Yet vegetarians have difficulty preparing foods that meet their dietary needs. Wellness Diet will solve this problem.”