Don’t Forget the Reader Benefits
Blogger: Mary Keeley
If you visit our blog regularly, you probably noticed that Rachelle and I switched blog days. Beginning this week, you can enjoy Rachelle’s blog on Wednesdays, and I’ll be blogging on Thursdays because this pattern works better for our individual schedules.
I was corresponding with an editor today about a client’s project. She got the nod from the editorial committee this week to formally present it in next week’s meeting. This editor loves my client’s book and has become a champion of the project. Knowing what her editorial committee will want to see, she made specific requests for additional information in the proposal. One of the requests was to create a separate section titled, “Reader Benefits.”
My client’s book is an inspirational narrative nonfiction. She had chosen to weave the reader takeaways throughout the proposal for continuing effect. However, the editor knew her team won’t have read the full manuscript before the meeting. Yet she wanted them to have a full understanding of the inspiring impact of my client’s story, so she asked that my client list the reader benefits prominently to give a complete picture of the scope of the book. Makes sense.
When you prepare your proposal for submission, consider doing the same. Provide succinct responses to these questions in bullet points:
· How is your book going to change the life of the reader and benefit him or her spiritually? Examples: Explain the ways your novel will influence the reader to think differently about a group of people, a different generation, or about God. Or, show how the information in your Christian living book will influence readers to make practical adjustments in their lifestyle to live a God focused life.
· How will your novel help a reader who is struggling in the same ways as your protagonist? This should be easy to describe from the emotional arc. But distill it to one concise statement for the purpose of this list.
· How will your nonfiction book help readers who are struggling in the area of your topic? Example: name the beneficial points your book covers that other books on the same topic miss.
· Why would someone seek out your book? Give some thought to this. A compelling statement here may be enough to convince the agent or editor to continue reading the entire proposal.
A good place to position the Reader Benefits section is near the beginning of your proposal, before the synopsis or overview. It’s okay to provide hints of your personal writing voice, but remember this is a business document. Business language should be the dominant voice.
What are the reader benefits of your book? Do you already have them listed prominently in your proposal? Can you think of additional reader takeaways to list?
Include a separate section of reader benefits in your proposal. Click to Tweet.
List the reader benefits of your book prominently in your proposal. Click to Tweet.
How does your book benefit readers? List them in your proposal. Click to Tweet.