Blogger: Wendy Lawton
This month is the now famous NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. This is the month many around the world will be focusing on writing a first draft of their novel. I don’t want to pile more on anyone’s already full writing plate, but I just want to remind you that the manuscript is just one component of the elements a writer needs in order to sell that book. You need to also create selling tools.
Let’s review what you will need:
Hook— this is a succinct “elevator speech” that describes your book in a couple of sentences. For samples of hooks, look on the back covers of many books for those two or three concise lines that make you want to buy the book. You’ll use this hook to talk about the book, you’ll probably include it in your query and it will be part of your proposal. A key selling tool.
Back Cover Copy— this is a compelling paragraph or two that describes your book— a longer version than the hook. Again, check out the back covers of books in your category or genre to see samples of great back cover copy. This won’t necessarily end up being the back cover copy for your book but you’ll draw from this for your query and include it in your proposal. If your book goes further, agents and editors will use this to help them sell the book.
A Great Bio— you’ll pull from this carefully crafted bio for your query letter and include it in your proposal.
Query Letter— This is that much-dreaded one-page letter that has three concise paragraphs: the hook, the mini-synopsis (like your back cover copy), and your writer’s biography.
Proposal— This is the “business plan” for your proposed book. If you want to dig deeper into how to write a proposal just look here, here and here. These are a few previous blog tutorials on how to write the fiction and nonfiction proposals.
For fiction proposals— you’ll need both a synopsis AND the full manuscript before seeking an agent or sending to an editor.
For nonfiction proposals— you’ll need a chapter-by-chapter summary and a writing sample consisting of the first three chapters.
This may be a review for some of you but we all need a reminder. With each manuscript you will need to create all the components– all the selling tools.
Question: Do you think of these selling tools as parts of the bigger package? Do you have a file folder (either a physical folder or a computer file) that includes all these components for each book? When do you create these selling tools– before you write the book or after it is finished? What other tools does one need?