If you’re working on a book proposal to entice an agent to represent your nonfiction book (or to attract a publisher) then you know all about writing the overview, the competitive analysis, the chapter summaries, and all of the rest of the parts. But there are a few less obvious points to consider.
1. Write the proposal in the same voice you’ll use to write the book. If the book is funny, the proposal should at least show some sense of humor. Yes, the proposal is a business document but part of what it’s selling is your ability to deliver on what you promise. Don’t just tell readers of your proposal that your book will be funny—show them!
2. Make each part sell your book and you as the author. Don’t add a link to your LinkedIn profile and think that’s good enough for the about the author material. It should show why you should write this book, because of your particular experience, training, credentials.
3. Don’t be afraid of using coauthors, experts, and sources. You may be the guru of your subject matter, but a broader perspective can often help sell your book and convince editors and agents that there’s an audience out there.
4. The book proposal isn’t the book. It’s a sales tool. You’re asking the agent and the publisher to be a partner in the business of making your book a reality. Don’t forget. It’s not about you, it’s about what they are looking for.
5. Keep it simple. It’s a proposal for a book, not a pitch for a movie or for $25 million in funding to build a new law library on campus. It doesn’t need to be a multimedia product. If you want to link to a podcast, feel free. But don’t think a podcast is a proposal.
The next session of my Write Your Book Proposal Class starts May 4! For more information and to sign up, click here.