As much as you may believe yourself to be the second coming of Tolkien or Alice Munro or Dan Brown, publishers and agents do not want to see your entire manuscript, at least initially (the exception would be a children’s picture book).
What they want to see instead is a book proposal, in essence a business plan for publishing your book.
It’s important to understand that publishing is a business, and one that has been struggling to find its way in the internet age. It’s more important than ever that you put forth a compelling case for publication. And the best way to do this is with a thorough, savvy proposal that touches on the competition, marketing plan and your ability as the author to promote and sell the book, as well as your book’s structure and a great writing sample.
There are lots of reasons to get started on your proposal, namely:
- A good proposal helps you hone your book idea and informs your manuscript. Going through the proposal process causes you to examine your project from every angle, determining the right audience and differentiating it from or aligning it to the competition, for example. Even if you’re self publishing, creating a proposal is not just an exercise but a necessary process.
- It keeps the your project moving forward. Who doesn’t like multi-tasking? Writing and submitting a proposal can happen alongside finishing your manuscript, so while you’re still struggling with the perfect ending to your novel, you can feel awesome that you’re still making progress on your path to publication.
- It’s a confidence booster. Writing a proposal makes you feel professional, savvy, and in complete control of your topic. Writing an author bio is an instant ego-booster. We promise.
- It’s a feedback tool. When you submit a kick-ass proposal, agents and publishers sit up and take note. Even if it’s not the right fit for them, a good proposal usually results in a thoughtful rejection with useful advice.
- It’s a great antidote to writer’s block. Most writers will get stuck at some point. Turning your attention to your proposal is fun and gets the creative juices and confidence flowing. Brainstorming marketing ideas with a friend, for instance, is a welcome change from sitting in your room and staring at the same scene for an hour.
The Business of Books mission is to help you create a proposal and give your book the best shot possible. It’s in your best interest and time to create a killer proposal…starting right now. You can’t win if you don’t play. To that end, check out our online offerings here or register for our all-day workshop, 30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal, on Feb. 9.