Tip of the Day: Like YA Regency Romance? Check out Sara MacLean’s THE SEASON. It was released a month early.
And, HAPPY BIRTHDAY LISA!
I’ve been working A LOT on book proposals lately. And it occurred to me that not everyone might know what these consists of so I thought I’d share. At least what I’m doing.
When you first start querying for an agent or editor you should have your entire book complete. More than complete—you should have it as perfect as possible. It would be awesome if you could get an agent or sell a book on proposal but this doesn’t happen too often when you’re first starting out (not saying it CAN’T. Just that most of the time you need a completed book). Once you’ve had a book published and editors can see that hey, yeah, you can write and complete an entire book then you can start submitting proposals. For example, I believe our own Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career, recently sold her Chasing Brooklyn, on proposal (right Lisa?).
Well, my first book isn’t out there just yet but I am working with my editor right now to figure out what my book two should be (my contract is for two books). Instead of writing full books I’m writing proposals for my various ideas and submitting those. So what is going into my proposals?
1) One-Page Synopsis
This reads almost like a blurb on the back of the book but a little more in depth. It gives a good idea of what the book will be about.
This is a toughie. Here I outline the ENTIRE book chapter by chapter. I try to completely describe what will happen in that chapter in just a paragraph or so. Sometimes it’s hard. Like, I may have just a brief paragraph describing chapter 5 but then need half a page to describe chapter 6. I do need to give away all the vital bits of the book in the outline—all the way through to the end. My outlines end up being anywhere from 5 to 10 pages usually. In our A2A interviews we’ve asked authors before if they are “plotters” or “plungers”. I’ve always been a plunger but with writing proposals I’m sort of forced to be a plotter instead.
The last element of my proposal is the sample. Here you show the editor a piece of what the book will be like. How much is up to you and your editor or agent. Some people like to do the first three chapters. Some people like to do the first fifty pages. For me I’ve been doing roughly the first thirty pages (sometimes I go over depending on where my chapter is ending).
So this is how I put together a book proposal. For those of you that have worked on book proposals, do you do anything different? Or do you have any tips you’d like to share?
Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut