Do you seek to publish your nonfiction book with a traditional publisher? Then you’ll want to write a compelling book proposal.
To help you get started, I’m offering you this free guide to writing your book proposal.
I am an experienced book-proposal coach. I help people write powerful, irresistible book proposals. If you’d like my expert guidance through this process, please email me at [email protected] to set up your free 30-minute phone consult. I offer several book-proposal coaching packages on my website: bradwetzler.com/book-proposal-coaching
I hope you find this guide useful.
Understand The Parts of a Proposal
Most proposals range from 35 to 50 pages and have three parts: The Overview, The Outline, and a Sample Chapter.
Your overview must prove that you have a marketable, practical idea and that you are the right person to write about it and promote it. Provide as much ammunition about you and your book as you can muster, including:
* the title and selling handle, up to fifteen words of selling copy about the book.
* the books or authors you’re using as models for your book.
* the suggested (or actual) length of your manuscript and when you will deliver it.
* the book’s benefits (optional).
* special features (optional).
* information about a self-published edition (optional).
Offline, your platform may include the number of articles you’ve had published in print media as well as the number of talks you give each year, the number of people you give them to, where you give them, and your media exposure. Editors may not expect authors of quote books to have a platform; business authors must. For certain kinds of books, an author’s platform is important for big and midsize houses.
A page called “Table of Contents” listing the chapters and the back matter. Then one or two paragraphs in the present tense about every chapter, using outline verbs like describe, explain, and discuss. For an informational book, you can use a self-explanatory bulleted list of the information the chapter provides.
A Sample Chapter
Usually one chapter that will excite editors by proving you will fulfill your book’s promise to readers and make your book as enjoyable to read as it is illuminating. Include about 10 percent of the book, or about 25 pages. Memoirs should be finished, and agents’ and editors’ will request more chapters.
For more information, read How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen.
A former senior editor and contributing writer at Outside magazine, Brad Wetzler is an author, journalist, travel writer, and book writing coach. His book, Real Mosquitoes Don’t Eat Meat, was published by W.W. Norton. His nonfiction writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and Book Review, GQ, Wired, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, George, Travel + Leisure, Thrive Global, and Outside. He coaches up-and-coming authors to write and successfully publish their books. For your free 30-minute phone consult, email Brad at [email protected]