Writing a Book Proposal

Wondering how a writer writes. Follow me as I talk about book proposals and why I think they’re important, even for self-publishing.

writing a book propsal

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A few days ago, I talked about writing a book. Yes, I am doing that, but I’m old school publishing. I never start a book without a book proposal, even if I’m self-publishing.

Normally, a proposal is used to sell the idea and is used mostly for nonfiction ideas, such as my cookbook. Now, I’m going to self-publish this book on Amazon to start, so the only  person who has to approve this is me (well Amazon if for some reason they it doesn’t met their standards).

But a book proposal does more than just sell, it helps define what the book is about and will contain.

Defining the idea is really important. Writers as a group can be very scattered so a book proposal take a broad idea and narrows it down so it’s more focused… and readable. The theme and specific details are nailed down and ultimately makes the book more salable. Most importantly, the research help determine if the books is a viable idea  — and hopefully profitable — venture.

A proposal is very simple. It’s the who, what and why of the book.  Brian A. Klems’ The 8 Essential Elements of a Nonfiction Book Proposal over a WritersDigest.com is a very good article that describes the process.

Even if you’re contemplating writing a self-published nonfiction book, the majority of Brian’s ideas are important to follow.  Here is his ideas and some of mine:

  1. Hook. Think of this as the book description that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them have to buy this book.
  2. Market Overview. Is this book viable. Are there other titles like it and are they selling. If this proposal were for a publisher, it would definitely be an essential. It’s equally important for the self-publisher because you don’t wan to spend time researching and writing a book that don’t  have a market.
  3. Competitive Analysis. This goes hand-in-hand with the above and essentially means “who’s your competition.” That can be a good and bad thing especially if you can position your idea into an area that your competition should be but isn’t covering.
  4. Author Bio and Platform. This isn’t as important for self-publishing as it is for traditional publishing (remember, they’re putting $$ up and want to hedge their bets with the right expert). Still, even for self-publishing, if you have an expertise in the subject, make sure to  let you audience know.
  5. Marketing Plan. You better have one and if you’re self publishing, then you’ll be doing a lot of the work so understand and… well have a plan in place.
  6. Outline. While you don’t have to have one to sell a self-published book, you do need one to start writing.
  7. Sample Chapter (or Two). Not necessary for self-publishing so just start writing your book.
  8. More Information. Brian suggest getting as much information as possible, including consulting books written specifically on this topic. I thoroughly agree.

Have you thought about writing a book? Do you have question? Stop by and leave a comment (or question).

Best wishes (may it always be three),

Katherine