Nonfiction books are sold by proposal, not complete manuscript. But an editor needs to be confident that you (or your coauthor) will write it well. You’ll want to impress the editor with sample chapters that convey your book’s message in a friendly, entertaining way.

  • Don’t use the introduction as the sample chapter. Write a chapter with real meat.
  • Pick a chapter that best showcases the message of your book.
  • Do all the necessary research and interviews to make it a fabulous chapter.
  • Don’t forget all the extras that will make the chapter valuable to readers – exercises, tip boxes, success stories.
  • Include subheads to break up the text and help the reader stay on track.
  • Use a friendly, conversational style – as if you were telling the story to an interested listener. Don’t think you have to be “writerly” or use long words to get your point across. Friendly and accessible, that’s the ticket!
  • Write, polish, and edit until the sample chapter is as close to perfect as you’re able to accomplish. Don’t send a draft and think it’s good enough.