Blogger: Mary Keeley
Agents and editors are aware of what their request for a proposal means to an author. Some will request the first few chapters, and others may ask for the complete manuscript, especially from debut authors. That’s often when writers clutch, not sure if their work or their proposal is ready for prime time. Here to the rescue is a checklist to help you know what to do when you get a proposal request.
But first, in case you missed our Tuesday and Wednesday blogs or the lunar eclipse messed with your Internet connection, I want to remind you about the nano fiction contest that Books & Such and Splickety Prime are hosting. Meagan Briggs, Splickety’s editor, offered our blog community a thorough explanation of what flash fiction, micro fiction, and nano fiction are in Tuesday’s post, “The Flash Fiction Challenge.” She went on to explain the rules for entering the contest in yesterday’s post, “Flash Fiction Contest.” Read both posts to get the necessary details for submission. The term Flash Fiction implies a quick turnaround so take note:
Your nano fiction submission is due by MONDAY, October 5, 2015. Get your entry in right away to be among the first 50 to be considered.
And now the checklist before you respond to a proposal request:
- The manuscript is polished and publication-ready. Participating in the flash fiction contest is a helpful—and timely—exercise for judging if your manuscript needs to be tighter. That is,
- The business section contains all the information the agent or editor needs to know.
- Is the main plot of my novel the central thread throughout my synopsis, and do I communicate adequately how it comes to a satisfying resolution at the end?
- Does my overview proclaim my unique angle about my nonfiction topic, and are my chapter summaries compelling and concise? Do I validate my angle adequately by my experience and expertise? Did I explain the benefits for the reader adequately?
- Does my marketing plan display my initiative and creativity? Do I use assertive words? Did I forget to include anything such as social media numbers, email list, monthly unique visitors to my website, or convincing data showing increased interaction when I post something especially related to what my book is about?
- Is the format designed with the agent or editor in mind? Did I leave white space for order and readability? Bulleted lists where appropriate for time-efficiency?
- Does my author bio focus on my experience and authority for writing this particular book?
- Have I met the submission guidelines of the agency or instructions the agent or editor gave me? As a rule, follow the agency’s or publisher’s submission guidelines. But if an agent or editor gave you specific details about what he or she wanted to see and told you to send your proposal directly, follow those instructions. It’s an example of how easy it might be to work with you.
Did you receive a request for your proposal from an agent or editor recently? What do you think you need to work on to get your manuscript and proposal ready for the publishing world to see? How many of the checklist items have you covered sufficiently to date?
Follow this checklist to be sure your book proposal is ready to submit to an agent or editor. Click to Tweet.
What to do when you get a proposal request? Follow this checklist. Click to Tweet.