THE SIMPLEST GUIDE TO WRITE BOOK PROPOSALS
If you are a writer or author then you might have heard of the word book proposal. You might have heard your peers and your writer friends talk about book proposals and wondered why they are so important.
This blog is a simple guide so that you can understand how to write a book proposal but most importantly understand what is a book proposal in the simplest way possible.
We are going to will tell you everything about the tips for writing a successful book proposal and we will also explain you why submitting a book proposal is important to you as an author.
Before we do all that, let us understand what is a book proposal along with book proposal guidelines as well as the universal book proposal structure.
What Is a Book Proposal? Is It Important for The Author?
A book proposal is basically a book and author portfolio. You can take that portfolio and approach a traditional publisher so that they understand your work and publish your book.
A book proposal is strictly applicable in terms of traditional publishing and is not relevant when it comes to self-publishing. When it comes to self-publishing you do not need to approach a publisher with a proposal.
When we talk about a book proposal, it is simply a business plan for your book where you approach the traditional publisher. This is so that they might invest in you as the author as well as your book and publish it for you.
This is a basic skill that you should know if you ever want to publish your book traditionally. Writing a compelling book proposal can be the difference between publishing your book and not publishing it.
A book proposal is one of the most important things for an author whether it is writing a fiction book proposal or a nonfiction book. Without a book proposal, you cannot get your word across to the Publishers.
Before we discuss the simple structure of a book proposal, let us understand what a book proposal should essentially contain.
Your Book Proposal Is Incomplete Without These Elements
· Market Analysis
A book proposal is incomplete without market analysis but most importantly a book proposal is incomplete without any effort to explain why the publisher should publish your book.
That should include market analysis. If you can manage to present a good market analysis and tell the publisher that this genre is in high demand then it will increase your chances to get accepted.
You need to present a lot of data and the data should be from reputable sources so that the publisher can fact those data points and indeed agree that these kinds of books are in demand.
You can even mention other popular titles that follow the same genre as your book so that you can showcase that your book belongs to a very popular category.
· Author Proposal
When you submit a book proposal, you must also include an author proposal. It is all about marketing the book as well as yourself.
If you can manage to highlight how interesting you are as well as your background and qualifications and your reliability as an author then it will only add to the positives.
You should be able to explain why you are a reliable investment as the author because it is an investment after all for the publishing company.
Book proposal templates and everything else will come later because understanding the importance of an author proposal is even more important than anything else.
You can improve your prospects by adding links to any kind of online articles you have written or any of your previous work.
· Book Promotion
A book proposal is basically a book promotion because you are trying to get investors to invest in yourself and the book and that is why you should not leave any stone unturned when you do the book promotion.
You can even attach marketing material as well as promotional material and even attach fan comments and feedback so that the publisher understands that you are quite popular even before publishing.
If you can show the publishers that you have a good online presence with a good number of followers then it is only going to add to the list of positives. That will make you a safer investment.
HERE IS WHY BOOK PROPOSALS ARE IMPORTANT FROM THE POV OF PUBLISHERS
· Marketing Ability
When will look at book proposals from the perspective of the book publisher, we need to understand that this is an investment for the publishing company.
That is why book proposals are a good opportunity for the publishing company to understand whether the author knows anything about marketing.
This is because if the author understands how to market themselves then they can be an asset for the publishing company. This is also a good opportunity for quality control.
While marketing is not everything and is not a key determining factor for authors but this is an opportunity for the publishing house to look for commercial potential.
You must be able to show your marketing potential and commercial potential whether you write a non-fiction book proposal or a fiction book proposal.
· Talent Discovery
Book proposals are all about talent discovery because the more book proposals that a publishing company is going to receive the better the chances they will have a good author.
Book proposals are a good opportunity for the publishing company to do good quality control because they are going to receive a lot of book proposals.
The thing is when a publishing company receives a lot of book proposals it improves their confidence in their investment. Because even after so many book proposals if they decide to choose one then it is probably exactly what they are looking for.
This type of talent discovery is much better than just reaching out to prospective authors because then the publishing companies will be only limited to a few choices.
· Time Saving
The thing about time saving is that you can only save time if you do not have to do all the work and that is where book proposals come in.
When publishing companies get a book proposal they are not only getting the summary of the book but they are also getting to understand the author. BSut there is something even more important.
Book proposals contain market research which helps the publishing company save a lot of time for the publishing company because it helps them decide whether to invest or not.
Of course, the book proposal is going to have market data that is favourable to the author but it is still hard data and facts and those can be certified later on.
There are a lot of other reasons why publishing companies love book proposals but we must also understand that sifting through a lot of book proposals can take time and resources.
In spite of all the time and resources that are spent in the assessment of book proposals, it is still worthwhile to do it because the publishing company is getting quality content at the end of the day.
Let us now look at what is the proper way to structure a book proposal and this will also help you understand book proposal dos and don’ts.
HERE IS THE STRUCTURE OF A PERFECT BOOK PROPOSAL
· Title Page
This is going to be the first and one of the most important pages of the entire book proposal document.
Your book proposal should start with the title of the book.
You can even explain the title of the book with the help of a subtitle that is going to provide additional context and information for the publisher.
After that, you should include the author’s name in full and that can be your pen name as well as your legal government name.
If you use a pen name, you should have your legal name beside it.
After that, you should include your contact details in full which should include a physical address which is going to be the mailing address as well as the email address.
You should also include your phone number and you can additionally add the links to your social media profiles as well.
After you are done with the title page you should start with the overview. This is quite important and the whole book proposal is all about the overview.
The overview should contain the summary of the book’s primary plot along with the themes that you have explored in the book as well as the narrative style. You should include a brief synopsis and make sure it is not longer than two or three paragraphs.
After you are done with the synopsis, you should write the pitch. You can think of it as a hook that is going to be the tagline or the marketing line for the entire book.
This is where you should spend a lot of time because this should be absolutely perfect and this one line should encapsulate the entire meaning of the book and should give the readers a reason to read the book.
· Author Details
Your book proposal should also contain a section that is totally dedicated to details about you. This should include everything from the educational background of the author to the experience background of the author.
You should include important bits from your personal story and your works as well as the list of everything you have written which can include anything from a blog to an essay or short stories or other novels.
You must also not forget to mention why you have written the book and what kind of connection it has with your life and what motivated you to write the book.
· Contents Table and Chapter Outline
This is the point of the book proposal where you are going to include the list of chapters in the book as this will help the publisher get an idea about the book.
You should not only include the list of chapters but you must describe each and every chapter as briefly as possible.
You can also outline the characters and the role they play in the chapters so that the main ideas of the book are explained easily.
But you must make sure to not go into too much detail as that is going to reveal the plot of the book and give unnecessary spoilers.
You need to hold on to that element of surprise.
· Sample Chapter
When you are done with the contents table you must also include a complete chapter of the book as a sample.
We are not talking about a summary but the entire chapter unedited and not shortened because this will be the sample that will showcase your style of writing.
You should not include the climax chapter but you should only include a chapter from the beginning and make sure this is an impressive chapter.
A lot will be depending on this chapter because this chapter will give the publishers an understanding of what kind of writer you are.
· Market Analysis
Now that you have mentioned every detail possible about the book you can continue with the marketing side of things and this is where you are going to present your market analysis.
This market analysis should ideally contain details about the target audience and it should show that this kind of book and genre is in demand and you should back that with data.
The more data you are able to find and attach to the book proposal the better chances you have being noticed.
Additionally, you must also have information regarding competitors and this is just to show that the genre is popular.
You can include a competitive analysis so that you can showcase the strengths of your book as compared to your competitors. You must pick competitors that are already doing well in the market but not bestsellers.
· Additional Information
This is the section of the book proposal where you can be as creative as possible and you can include anything you want that is relevant to the book.
You can include different types of visual elements such as videos or photos that you have created as a part of the promotional materials.
You can also include different bits of conversation and interaction with your audience in the form of comments and replies.
This is basically a section where you can include anything that might not have been included in the other sections of the book proposal.
You must understand that your book proposal should primarily focus on the book and that should be the highlight.
HERE ARE THE TIPS FOR WRITING THE PERFECT BOOK PROPOSAL
· Maintain Clarity and Conciseness
The first and most important to you must keep in mind is to maintain clarity throughout the book proposal.
You should not take up unnecessary time of the publishers and get to the point as quickly as possible.
This means that the book proposal should be as specific as possible and you do not need to stretch because there are no word limits that you have to maintain.
· Showcase Your USP
A book proposal is a book promotion and you must understand that because you must not only sell the idea of the book but too much also make sure that the publishers are interested in you as well.
This means you should showcase why you are different from the competition and why publishers should publish your book and invest in the idea of your book.
In order to do this, you can showcase your talent and you can also showcase your writing skills. Whatever you do you must make sure to showcase that you are different from the competition.
What Are the Things You Should Avoid Doing in A Book Proposal?
You can make a lot of mistakes when you are creating the book proposal and one of the mistakes can be that you might focus more on yourself rather than the book. You must understand that the book proposal is for the book and you come secondary.
When you add details about yourself it should complement the book and it should not take the primary limelight. That also means not including a lot of details about yourself which are not very relevant to the book.
When you are writing the book proposal you must make sure you have a positive attitude because one of the mistakes you can make is to have a negative attitude and that also means speaking negative about the competition.
We hope this blog has improved your idea about book proposals and why they are so important when it comes to approaching a traditional publisher.
However, if you think that book proposals are difficult but you still want to approach traditional and established book publishers then we are here for you.
We are Orange Publishers and we are leading the book publication market in India. We are the fastest-growing book publishing company in India. We understand the market and publishing with the help of your extensive market experience spanning decades.
You do not need to approach us with a book proposal and you can simply send us an email and we will get back to you. We have intentionally made the book proposal process simple so that it is not a learning curve for our authors.
We do everything in-house at Orange Publishers which includes everything from the printing to the publishing and we also take care of every legal aspect such as copyright.
We welcome you to join the Orange family and publish your way to success.