Saturday, February 28, 2015

Book Proposals and How You Too Can Write Like A Pro!

NEWS: There is nothing worse to a writer than to have to endure the loss of a medium of communication. Since October 2014, I was up a DEEP creak without a boat or paddle. Not only did my computer crash, it killed my hard drive, fried every useful part of the computer and I lost over 50,000 words to my newest novel! The research was gone and my backup was plugged in when I got the virus and I lost that too! So needless to say the whole year ended horrible and 2015 started off amazing because I received a new laptop from a very dear friend.

Now on 2/28/15, I've caught up in work and writing. So I wanted to bring to your attention a few points about my latest project and hopefully help a few fledgling writers out. Book Proposals. That's right, I am entering the scary bigs now and have to write a winning proposal that promotes the purity and idiosyncratic nature of my work, while using math and science EEEK! Or it would be EEEK if I hadn't already know exactly what is needed.

So here is the breakdown of a decent book proposal and how I decided to go about it.  First there are two main categories, you and your book.

A brief biography that highlights your skills, talents, education, and prior publications.

Your Book: a synopsis no more than two paragraphs, final estimated word count, estimated completion date, description of target audience, description and information on sales market, list of comparable and competing titles and what makes your book better than them, a few sample chapters: 1-3 are usually the best, a complete table of contents with chapter outlines.. and complete means complete.

So lets tackle the most important part first, YOU. Yes, believe it or not YOU are the most important aspect of your work even though as a writer you don't feel that way. The brief biography is your chance to show creative writing skills and display talents. Did you win an elementary school competition in poetry? Mention it. Did you study writing in AP or college classes? Mention it! Whatever ties you to the art of the written word package it with your personality and jazz it up with your own wonderful angle. The better you sell yourself, the easier it will be to sell your work.

Now on to science, math, and a whole lot of technical blah blah blah. Lets start with the synopsis. Use one or two well crafted paragraphs to sum up your story and don't worry about reveling the surprise ending, that could be a major selling point you will miss out on if you don't mention it. So repeat with me now: MENTION IT! The estimated word count and completion date are for people who are published, if you aren't published then complete your manuscript and use your actual completion date and word count and let the editorial staff know that it is finished, that's a selling point.  

Step two, requires research in many fields. You need to find at least three, well selling books that are comparable competition to yours. Find out who buys them, how many are sold per annum, and what makes them sell. Plot, connection to real world events, good photos, all the juicy bits. Know them well. Now you know based on the competition who your audience is. Next compile your research into three professional and informative sections. 1. Your assessment and description of your target audience and why they will buy from you. Use that as a platform into speaking about the market for your product which is section 2. And that segways into section 3, the list of comparable titles and why your book is different and AMAZING. Remember highlight where they fall short and you have come behind to succeed.

Step three, end your proposal on a solid positive and professional note. Thank them for taking precious time to review your work and let them know you want to work with them, that's why you chose to contact them.

Step four, attach the COMPLETED table of contents and chapter outlines and first three chapters of your book.

Step five, rewrite it all.

Step six, edit and rewrite again

Step seven, have a knowledgeable writer and business person look it over.

Step eight, follow their feedback and rewrite

Step nine, make sure every last letter and punctuation mark is perfect and properly placed. Then and ONLY then should you send off your proposal via email or snail mail however they require.

Remember each organization has different requirements. Follow their guidelines and use mine as a filler if you see something that is useful that they might have left to your discretion.

If you would like any help or tips please comment below and I would be happy to assist in anyway I can. It is my person philosophy that competition is healthy and a good writer is a good writer even if that means I sell less. I would love to help you promote your work of art as being competitive in a tight and brutal market. I want all who have a desire to be a writer to see that dream realized and fulfilled.

Thanks for stopping by and stay classy!

Vera Lynn- "Realizing the impossible together."