Take your book proposal above and beyond

In the past few weeks, we’ve talked about putting your proposal together:

What to include in a book proposal
How to write your author bio
How to write a synopsis of your novel
How to write a synopsis of your nonfiction book

That covers the minimum you can include in your proposal. But here are some extras that can take your proposal the extra mile. Continue reading

How to write a synopsis of your nonfiction book

The synopsis for a nonfiction book differs from that of a novel because it needs to be broken down into more detail. In nonfiction, even if you’re telling a story, as in a history book, you are building a case using facts that need to be aligned in logical order. The nonfiction synopsis will reflect that.

The main thing your nonfiction synopsis must include is a clear benefit to the readers, demonstrating what they will learn from reading your book. Because if you can’t articulate this, you’re not ready to pitch. Continue reading

How to write a synopsis of your novel

The synopsis is an important part of your book proposal. The first thing to understand is the difference between the query letter and the synopsis. The query or pitch letter gives just a teaser of the story. The setup, the primary conflict, and a little about yourself. It’s purpose is to entice the editor to ask for the proposal.

publish book agentThe synopsis is part of the proposal, and it details the whole storyline of the novel. A query letter should only be a few paragraphs. The synopsis can be up to a page. Some editors allow even longer.


The synopsis encapsulates the story as succinctly as possible, while informing the editor about the following elements: Continue reading

How to pitch a book

When attending writers conferences, many people get extremely nervous about meeting with editors and agents. I know I certainly have. It’s understandable. The key to remaining calm when you pitch a book is realizing, first, that agents and editors are just regular folks doing their jobs, and second, that you will get many, many rejections before you get an acceptance. When you start understanding “no” as just another tick on your list of things to do, it gets much easier to move on. Continue reading

Finding the right editors and agents to pitch

One of the most important reasons to attend a writers conference is the opportunity to meet directly with editors and agents to pitch your manuscript. It’s been my experience that pitching in person has a much greater success rate than sending query letters. By “success” I mean getting a request for the proposal.

If you’re dealing with an editor directly, the submission process usually goes something like this: Continue reading

How to Design a One-Sheet

Also called a pitch sheet, a one-sheet is basically an advertising flyer for your book. Many writers use them at conferences to help break the ice with agents and editors, as I mentioned in my post about what to bring to a writers conference.

Designing a one-sheet is relatively easy. I’ve heard tell of writers paying graphic designers to do this work. At the risk of angering my graphic designer friends, that is overkill. You don’t need to be a designer to put one of these together. You also don’t need a full-on design program like InDesign. Microsoft Word will work well enough, but Apple Pages is better if you have a Mac. Continue reading

Where to find agents

If your goal is to be published by one of the major houses, you’ll need an agent. Writer’s Market lists agents on its website, and also publishes a Guide to Literary Agents. The Association of Authors’ Representatives, the main professional organization for agents, maintains a directory of its members. Check agent websites to ensure they’ve been in business for a while, and that they handle books in your topic area or genre. Approaching an agent who specializes in contemporary Amish romances with your bodice-ripping historical novel is Not Recommended.

The same way you would review resumes if you were hiring, or the way you would investigate companies if you were looking for a job, you must examine agents and publishers to find those that are the best fit for your topic area and personality. That’s one of the reasons conferences are a great way to find an agent. Continue reading