Blogger: Cynthia Ruchti
High quality proposal ingredients? Can attention to this detail make a difference for writers?
Preparing a proposal mirrors preparing a fine meal for guests.
Any recipe will fail if the chef works with inferior ingredients.
In the writing world, that might mean:
- ambiguous past sales numbers
- a weak bio
- missing pieces
- a marketing plan that shows lack of understanding of the author’s role and the publisher’s role
- unclear reader takeaway
- indefinable target audience
Just as a meal may turn out memorable for all the wrong reasons, so can a book proposal. The results will be disappointing if the proposal is made from stale ideas, leftover or recycled information, outdated concepts, bargain-bin marketing, a moldy title, a limp synopsis, an over-salted bio, or dried out chapter summaries.
What do agents and editors consider high quality book proposal ingredients?
- Strong Hook
- Succinct but clear Brief Description
- Longer Description that makes an editor or agent lean forward with interest
- Clearly defined Target Audience
- Compelling felt-need Takeaway Value
- Well-written Synopsis (fiction) or Table of Contents and Chapter Summaries (nonfiction) that hints at the flavor of the writing style reflected in the book
- Compatible Author Bio that fits the book’s genre and interests of that’s book’s potential readers. A compatible bio will contain information that matters to the agent/editor
- Solid Author Platform info with specific numbers
- Carefully researched Comparables
- Complementary, creative Marketing Plan
- Attention-getting Sample Chapters. The chapters should represent the book well and invite the agent or editor into the experience.
The above are among other ingredients of a high quality book proposal.
A proposal is an invitation to the table.
One of our measures of success is if an editor or agent says, “This looks delicious. I can’t wait to dive in.”
Another measure is when they tell others, “You have to try this!”