How to write a successful nonfiction book proposal jeanne. Your book idea is fantastic, and its time to prove that to the people who can actually publish it. The good news is that almost every nonfiction book published is sold by a proposal. Ive written and published four works of nonfiction and have been involved as a ghost or behindthescenes editor on a couple of other things too. Your nonfiction proposal should include the following items and should be. This week, well look at the form and function of a standard fiction book proposal in more detail. At its root, this is the purpose of each section in a book proposal, so be clear and persuasive. Jun 22, 2017 last week, we discussed what a fiction book proposal is, and why you need one. There are a thousand ways of making it, everyone has their own recipe, but most every lasagna will have a few basic ingredients and chances are its going to taste good in the. Writing a winning nonfiction book proposal 32 30 from my experience, a great book proposal needs to include five distinct elements see fig. Michael larsens how to write a book proposal has been the respected standard in the field ever since it was first published. The periodic elements of the nonfiction book proposal write.
Add in those samples, and youll have a complete proposal ready to be considered by a literary agent. Five basics of nonfiction book proposals fresh ink book editing. In this comprehensive yet accessible guide, you will learn exactly what a proposal is, what it must contain, and how to pull yours together into an informative, persuasive selling package. This is an updated version of a story that was previously published. It wasnt so long ago that the leading name in dentistry, pierre fauchard, advised warding off. A single paragraph that introduces the proposed book. Jul 29, 2011 there are several books available on writing book proposals. When i was struggling with my own memoir proposal which seemed harder than writing the darn book, eric maisel, author of the art of the book proposal, suggested i write a miniproposal. Nonfiction book proposals anybody can write gave me the structure i needed to produce a coherent, organized proposal.
Here is a basic template for a book proposal, which many of our clients have used. A book proposal should include each of the following sections, in this order. Nonfiction book proposal consulting so many places. By jane friedman if you wrote a nonfiction book 20 years ago, your greatest competition. There are several books available on writing book proposals. It includes not just your credentials and the letters behind your name, but what makes. In an email the attached file name should be descriptive author name fiction or nonfiction proposal logline. If youre seeking traditional publication for a nonfiction book, youre most likely going to need to write a nonfiction book proposal the art of writing a nonfiction book proposal is sort of like cooking lasagna.
Instead of writing the entire book, then trying to interest an editor or agent which. Its especially important if you dont have an agent, as many small and medium publishers accept unsolicited proposals. If publishing a memoir is your goal, its a good idea to write a proposal to sell your work. How to write a nonfiction book proposal with template. Prescriptive nonfiction is usually sold on proposal. Writing a nonfiction book is quite different from a novel and so is the process of getting it published.
Nonfiction book proposal if you are writing a nonfiction book agents and publishers need to see a proposal including author background, how the book fits the market, and a sample chapter. How to write a nonfiction book proposal with examples. Dear pamela, memoir advice about your book proposal. Book proposals are used to sell nonfiction books to publishers. Everything my agent wanted to see in my proposal was there because of elizabeths book. Writing a nonfiction book proposal a primer for the firsttime nonfiction book writer by scott mendel updated february 2018 it will probably seem obvious to you that the nonfiction book proposal is a tool your agent will use to sell your work at the best possible terms, and to secure the strongest possible. How to write a nonfiction book proposal wolf literary. Nonfiction submissions bear little similarity to fiction submissions. A great nonfiction book proposal will show that you have thought through your idea, and more importantly, it will show that you know how to turn this idea into a book. Overview, endorsements, length and delivery date, competing and complementary books, target audience, about.
Once the book proposal has hopefully passed first muster with andrew lownie, he will ask for a synopsis of each chapter in the book, usually written at about half a page of a4 each, or a page maximum. Here is an overview of what i expect and hope to find in a nonfiction book proposal. How to write a memoir book proposal memoirs are just getting more and more popular in what i call this age of the business celebrity. Its a perk of nonfiction that you can sell a book on proposal before sitting down to the write the whole shebang, and often receiving an advance will. Sometimes it is harder to capture that arc in a proposal than in a whole book. Ill start with the must haves and then explain the optionals. Thats top secret information until the book actually gets.
Contains the title, author byline, and contact information proposal contents. I offer a selfstudy course on nonfiction book proposals. It is up to the author working with the agent to prove that a sizeable target audience for the book exists, to sharply define this target market, and to evaluate competitive books if any in the marketplace. Nonfiction book proposals can top out around 5075 pages, not including sample chapters. Last week, we discussed what a fiction book proposal is, and why you need one. How to write a nonfiction book proposal writers block party.
It is not unusual for an editor to skim the first part of a book proposal and decide on. Speakup15 5 secondary audiences who, in addition to the target audience, might read or purchase this book. Since we recently discussed the role of a synopsis in a fiction proposal i thought it important that we address what the nonfiction author needs to provide. In this post, ill cover the critical elements of an average but thorough proposal. The literary agents guide to writing a nonfiction book proposal by andy ross. May 17, 2012 book proposal a business plan for your book and how you plan to ensure sales success keys to a great synopsis the steve laube agency july 27, 2016 i posted my ideas on some keys to a great book proposal, a few writers said they were challenged to write a synopsis.
In this blog post, youll find a description of the overview and introduction sections of my christian nonfiction book proposal, for blossom. Platform is a crucial part of nonfiction book proposals. That was a two book deal, admittedly, so you can divide the numbers by two to get a per book amount. Instead of writing the entire book, then trying to interest an editor or agent which is how it works with novels, you write the proposal first. Ive seen many authors confuse the two and create extra work for themselves. The bukowski agency nonfiction proposal guidelines. Nonfiction book proposals bookends literary agency. Every proposal has to have a standard set of sections, and then there are some that are optional. Its this time that allows those of us who have achieved a level of success in our chosen field of practice to accelerate our success on an ongoing basis through the creation of a book. Lest you think that my book writing career has been naught but cakes and ale, here is a proposal for a nonfiction book i really wanted to write but that even my agent, sarah chalfant of the wylie agency. How to write a book proposal that agents will love jericho writers. If you are serious about taking the path to traditional publishing, buy this book now and absorb every word.
I also sold a book off the back of a nonfiction book proposal that had multiple publishers bidding for the rights, and ended up being sold to harpercollins for. In addition to your core target audience, who might be the next most interested targets. The sample chapter ought to be the crown jewel of the nonfiction book proposal. It acts as a business case or business plan for your book that persuades a publisher to make an investment. Mar 06, 2018 the proposal was for my nonfiction pop culture book about the history of black women on tv. Your nonfiction proposal should include the following items. Elements of a successful nonfiction book proposal dummies.
This is the section where you lay out the basic idea of the book and discuss. Fiction editors focus on plot, writing, and mass market appeal, which means they will want to see sample chapters and a synopsis. Aug 23, 2016 when i was struggling with my own memoir proposal which seemed harder than writing the darn book, eric maisel, author of the art of the book proposal, suggested i write a mini proposal. Lest you think that my bookwriting career has been naught but cakes and ale, here is a proposal for a nonfiction book i really wanted to write but that even my agent, sarah chalfant of the wylie agency. Jul 15, 2014 even more so than practical nonfiction, your narrative or memoir proposal needs to serve as a microcosm for your book as a whole, so the proposal has to be a tight and exciting read, and capture the arc of the book. Jul 02, 2015 you dont yet need a book to get a job in most cases although yes, its true, assistant professors with books under their belt will have an advantage over new ph. Unlike a work of fiction, which must be completed before you send the query, a proposal is the correct way to approach a publisher for a nonfiction book. How to write a nonfiction book proposal wolf literary services.
A memoir is a personal story that provides a snapshot of a particular time and place in your life. How to write a nonfiction book proposal writers write. The proposal was for my nonfiction pop culture book about the history of black women on tv. Its this time that allows those of us who have achieved a level of success in our chosen field of practice to accelerate our success on. Even more so than practical nonfiction, your narrative or memoir proposal needs to serve as a microcosm for your book as a whole, so the proposal has to be a tight and exciting read, and capture the arc of the book. I was able to send my proposal within a week, and three months later, my agent was responding to bids from four large publishing houses. Nonfiction book proposal outline here is a basic template for a book proposal, which many of our clients have used successfully. Michael larsen cofounded larsenpomada literary agents in san francisco in 1972 with his partner elizabeth pomada. Your nonfiction proposal should include the following items and should be attached as a single file to an email with submission. A marketing plan is a vital element of every nonfiction book proposal.
I like this one because it contains ten reallife proposals that sold. How to write a nonfiction book proposal nathan bransford. Five basics of nonfiction book proposals fresh ink book. The harsh reality of nonfiction writing the globe and mail. A one page cover letter or query letter is sufficient.
Its a perk of nonfiction that you can sell a book on proposal before. I help nonfiction writers with their book proposals, whether theyre stuck on a specific part of their proposal that damn overview or want support and accountability the whole way. Make sure your proposal is as polished as possible by including the following. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure theyre useful for our readers. Nonfiction book proposal outline ted weinstein literary. Jun 04, 2018 since we recently discussed the role of a synopsis in a fiction proposal i thought it important that we address what the nonfiction author needs to provide. Use the proposal to sell your book to potential literary agents, editors, and publishers. May 28, 2017 a book proposal argues why your book idea is a salable, marketable product.
Mar 17, 2014 how to write a good nonfiction book proposal for submission 17 mar 2014 christian jennings, who is currently writing a book about the last year of wwii in northern italy, entitled if i live to see the dawn at war on the gothic line 194445. And the publisher will want to know how well positioned you are to do it. Most book agents call this section of a nonfiction book proposal the competition section, but i prefer to call is the competitive advantages section. Nonfiction book proposals in the digital age to sell an agent or publisher on your nonfiction idea, its more important than ever to show where your book will fit inand what will make it stand outboth in print and online. Andy warhol, saint apollonia suite 1984 for all of these reasons, quite a mouthful will make a perfect gift for any general interest nonfiction reader. Now in its fifth edition, it continues to be the best resource. Madeleine morel, literary agent, 2m communications ltd. The fifth edition of how to write a book proposal sets a new gold standard for aspiring authors.
For most acquisition editors, this is a very important part of the proposal. Book proposal a business plan for your book and how you plan to ensure sales success keys to a great synopsis the steve laube agency july 27, 2016 i posted my ideas on some keys to a great book proposal, a few writers said they were challenged to write a synopsis. Addressed to the appropriate agent with titlegenreword count and appropriate contact information in the letter, this letter should interest us in reading your proposal. Its usually at least 20 pages long, often much longer. Dear pamela, memoir advice about your book proposal memoir. How to write a book proposal that sells fast company. The first thing to realize is that you dont have to actually write the book until you secure a contract with a publisher. Make a cover page with the books title, your name, and your contact. What you do need to do is form a comprehensive plan of the. Attractively present the title, subtitle, your name, address, and phonefax. A book proposal argues why your book idea is a salable, marketable product. What name people would be willing to contribute a blurb. You are also welcome to listen to free audio recordings of teds book proposal bootcamp and other workshops and media appearances. The most important aspect of the submission of a nonfiction book to publishers is the book proposal.
How to write a nonfiction book proposal writers digest. Most nonfiction is sold via a book proposal a structured outline of the book you intend to write. Memoirs can cover most any subject of human interest. I read a book about how to put together a proposal. Ive seen many authors confuse the two and create extra work for. To aid us in our presentation of your book project, we ask authors to prepare a carefully detailed and compelling proposal regardless of whether you have a completed manuscript. Writing a nonfiction book proposal by scott mendel updated. Finding hope and healing for your heart after loss. In my opinion, this is the most important part of a book proposal. Stephanie chandler, author of the nonfiction book marketing plan and ceo of how to write a book proposal is the resource for aspiring nonfiction authors.
This ones short and tothepoint, and the last time i. Five years ago, for instance, i spent three months and thousands of dollars researching and writing a proposal for a book i titled the 100th man. You all know that the book proposal is the cornerstone to a successful tenure track career in most areas of the humanities and social sciences. This plan helps you put together the perfect pitch for a nonfiction book. To get your nonfiction book published, put together a strong proposal. The book proposal is a 1550 or so page manuscript that a writer uses to pitch a nonfiction book to publishers. Writing quality counts in nonfiction book proposals. Aug 11, 2017 instead, you write the proposal that describes what the book is about, why its interesting, and why it has an audience. This is one of the main differences between the fiction and the nonfiction book proposal. How to write a good nonfiction book proposal for submission 17 mar 2014 christian jennings, who is currently writing a book about the last year of wwii in northern italy, entitled if i live to see the dawn at war on the gothic line 194445. Many were great, but super lengthy and time consuming to read.
How to write a nonfiction book proposal mary mackey. That reinforces the idea in your mind and in the mind of publishing agents that your book is different and in some ways better than similar titles in your genre. How to write a book proposal includes plenty of examples and a book proposal template you can follow. We tell you exactly what agents want and how to deliver it. Writing a nonfiction book proposal by scott mendel. How to write a nonfiction book proposal that will sell your book. Sure, some parts of psychology and economics and other fields are not bookbased, but basically, the law of the land is. A nonfiction book proposal includes essential elements. The authors names of the book proposal will be listed here. How to write a nonfiction book proposal become a writer. Nonfiction editors require a full proposal, which means you will have to submit detailed chapter descriptions, explain how your book will fit into. Instead, you write the proposal that describes what the book is about, why its interesting, and why it has an audience.1379 528 1216 332 906 55 1450 845 1086 578 1092 109 1169 1143 1259 1468 861 1036 883 1124 117 350 1111 326 1489 96 564 777 1176 1091 1168 210 684 229