Have you written a book proposal? I have been working on one for several months.
You might wonder why bother with a book proposal? I know I do some days, especially given the bleak forecasts for print publications. In a world where one can write an e-book and put it up for sale in the a fraction of the time I’m taking on this proposal, why bother writing a non-fiction book proposal at all?
5 Book Proposal Benefits for Non-Fiction Writers
1. You might get paid in advance to write the book if you land a publishing contract.
That is probably the most compelling reason, eh? Money in your bank account while you are writing makes the effort of writing a book less grueling. Money shuts up all the naysayers too (even the one in your head if you’ll just believe your writing contract proves your words are good enough).
2. Your detailed outline will save you time and keep you from wandering when you write the book.
Once you accept an advance, the clock starts ticking. Fortunately, your non-fiction book proposal contains an outline that will lead you step-by-step through your project. You can even skip around and work on different chapters if this suits your style. As long as your outline contains every step and you complete each one, you can be sure you will hit all necessary points in order.
3. Your market research will save you from investing too much time and energy on a project with limited potential.
While researching, you will find the information that helps you sell your project to others. You will also focus your work so it fills a need in the marketplace. Perhaps most importantly, if there isn’t enough interest or market potential, your proposal research will reveal this before you have wasted your efforts writing a book that will not sell.
4. Your platform will show you where your strengths and weaknesses lie and help you plan a promotion strategy within your comfort level.
Writing is only half of the work involved in selling a book these days. Outside of the writing, what do you plan to do to make your book a bestseller? Some authors think they can simply write the book and then worry about marketing later, but you can never start building an online presence too soon. With your book proposal’s platform plan in hand you can make sure your marketing strategy supports your writing and grows alongside the book.
5. An editor can influence the book before it is written, making the project more salable.
This may sound like the least sexy reason you should write a non-fiction book proposal, but no matter what you know about your subject, an editor knows a great deal about selling books. A good editor will make suggestions that improve your book and its marketability. At any rate, the fact that the book is not yet written and therefore able to be influenced in advance makes it more attractive to an editor.
Dealing with Rejection
Even if the first publisher passes on your book proposal, you will still have two choices:
Proceed with an e-book if you think your idea has merit. You will already have sales page information and headlines from the marketing section of your proposal that you can use to promote your book.
Target the book proposal to another publisher. Give it a slant that fits the new house and refine it so it is even more perfect than the first one. After sending it off, you can start working on another book proposal altogether. Keep circulating ideas until you find a proposal that sells.
What do you think? Have you written a non-fiction book proposal?
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