How To Write A Book Proposal

Have a great idea for a non-fiction book? Great! Now, sell that idea to a literary agent. To do that, you need a comprehensive, compelling book proposal.

What goes into a book proposal?

  • Short summary
  • Longer, detailed overview of the book
  • Chapter outline
  • Detailed explanation of chapters
  • 1-3 chapters
  • Marketplace research
  • Publicity and marketing plan

I’m going to share a secret with you that top literary agents have shared with me. The proposal is not about you. It’s about the reader. Use the book proposal to convince a literary agent that readers will buy your book. How?

5 Questions To Answer With Your Book Proposal

  • Who are your target readers? Describe them.
  • What problem are you solving for readers? What are you teaching them?
  • With what marketing platform – publicity, social media, speaking engagements, mailings – will you reach them?
  • What features and benefits will readers learn from your book that they haven’t in others?
  • Can you get endorsements that will entice readers to buy the book?

Yes, it is a lot of work. But that’s what separates the manuscripts sitting in desk drawers from the books sitting on store shelves.

Smart Author Tip: Agents and publishers look for authors who can market themselves. Detail your plans for pitching print, TV, radio and bloggers. Mention specific stations, writers and websites.

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