Monday, January 14, 2013


Michael Hyatt introduces a recent blog article with this statement. “If there’s one thing a publisher hates to see, it’s a manuscript. Surprised?  Most authors are…” He continues  “Publishers simply do not have the time or staff to wade through the enormous number of manuscripts they receive from hopeful authors.”

And then the questions begin. What  needs to be included in a book proposal?  Is Mr. Hyatt telling me I don’t have to have my manuscript finished before I submit my idea to an editor?  How do I submit my proposal…in what form? with what information? and what examples?
Most publishers expect the following information in any book proposal, whether it is for non-fiction or fiction.
(this may not be the finished title, but it is a working title)
(Brief explanation of your idea, your purpose, your audience)
Length of manuscript and possible finish date
Chapter Summary
(Title and brief description of each chapter)
Market and Ideas for Marketing
(Unique ideas for marketing, Competition –how this idea differs)
Credentials, Publishing History, Personal history(if necessary)
At least two sample chapters or several devotions

Of course, an individual should check out writing guidelines and always be aware of the type of material published by the house you are approaching with your proposal. Make sure the proposal is going to the proper acquisition editor and that the person’s name is spelled correctly in your cover letter. If the proposal is to be lengthy (more than 8-10 pages), an outline of the proposal should be included after the title page. 

Although I realize this information is quite basic, it does remind the writer that each word is important, as this may be your one chance to meet this editor.
May all your proposals meet with success!

For a much more in-depth article and the source of this information:check this site


Jean Wise said...

Great review of the basics, Clella and good reminder too. I find writing a great proposal as challenging as the manuscript. Also being able to distill the main idea and what the benefit for the reader is: one of the hardest steps.

Johnnie Alexander Donley said...

This is such good practical advice, Clella. Proposals can be almost as hard to write as the book! But you've given great guidelines.

Karen said...

Clella, this is something I always need work on. Thanks for the reminder!