The three questions agents and editors ask about your book proposal

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If you’re writing a nonfiction book, your proposal is crucial. It’s a complicated and diverse document. But for the acquisitions editor at a publishing house to make you an offer — or for an agent to represent you — you need only answer three questions: Is your idea a good idea? Can you write? Will … Continued

How to do “comps” in a book proposal

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Every book proposal includes “comps” — competing books. You need to show the potential publisher that you know what other books are out there and how you can differentiate your book from other similar books. Why you need comps There are three reasons to include comps in your proposal. Show you know your market and … Continued

Writing a book proposal? Appeal to readers, not publishers.

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The job of a book proposal is to convince an acquisitions editor at a publishing house to make you an offer. So obviously, you should write it for editors, right? Wrong. Editors don’t want you to tell them what you plan to do. They want you to show them what you can do — for … Continued

Publishing is a club. Here’s how to get published if you’re not in it.

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I hear it all the time. I don’t know anybody in publishing. How am I going to get anybody to look at my (nonfiction) book idea? The editors I know are most likely to consider books from people they’ve published before. They’ll review a book represented by a reputable book agent. Outside of that, your … Continued

Write a book proposal first, even if you’re self-publishing

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Unlike traditional publishers, alternate publishing methods — hybrid publishers and self-publishing — don’t require a book proposal. Write one anyway. Why should you put in all the extra work to write a proposal? Why not just write the book? Here are few good reasons: You’re going to need everything in the proposal anyway, from a … Continued

My publishing path (and read my proposal)

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Thanks to all of you who responded to my post about seeking a publisher or self-publishing Writing Without Bullshit. I’ve made a decision, and many of you were very helpful in that choice. Justin McCullough asked me what my goal was. That’s the right question. My goal is to reach as many people as possible with … Continued

How to write a book proposal that makes publishers drool

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If you want to publish a non-fiction book, don’t start by writing it. Start by writing a proposal. Tell the editor at a publishing house what’s in it and why it will sell. If you can’t do this, you’ll never be able to write (or sell) a book. Nobody writes a book first and then … Continued