This week I would like to write on some don’ts in sending in a book proposal. This is not meant to discourage you from your book idea or dream of getting your thoughts on paper, but to simply think though how intricate this process can be. Please know I am only scratching the surface here to give you some thoughts on proposal submissions. Here are several thoughts for you to consider.
First, when working on your proposal to an editor, do not expect them to give you time and energy to assist you in writing it.
Second, do not assume there are no other books on the market. There are great tools out there to help you research the market. You would not wish to appear ignorant of other books that are on the market that you failed to mention.
Third, do not assume that you are a really good writer. You might have some very good ideas that should be in written form, yet a co-writer or ghost writer might be needed to assist you. That is o.k. Most potential writers have a day job in which they utilize their God given talents and writing is more likely a secondary talent.
Fourth, do not overlook the publisher’s website to see what the editorial guidelines are for manuscript submission. It is critically important that you submit your manuscript exactly to the specification of the publishers. And when submitting do not send it “to whom it may concern” but find out who is the proper editor at the publishing firm.
Fifth, do not overlook your own market research. If this is a book on adopted children then know how many children in the United States are adopted, know how many are scheduled to be adopted in the next year, and know the major adoption conferences, etc. Thus, be able to articulate the market and give the publisher the impression you know it well.
Finally, do not overlook the true importance and value of a well-written proposal. The proposal is the only chance you have a making a truly good first impression and you might not get a second chance. There are some fine services that can help you craft a proposal and they are well worth the money and effort.
As I stated in the opening paragraph I have no desire to discourage you. Yet, the main point I would like to make with these two blog articles is for you to to know the publishers, know how to submit a manuscript to them, know the size of your market, and then be able to articulate why you are the best person to write your book.