Writing a nonfiction book proposal a primer for the firsttime nonfiction book writer by scott mendel updated february 2018 it will probably seem obvious to you that the nonfiction book proposal is a tool your agent will use to sell your work at the best possible terms, and to secure the strongest possible. Cathryn summerhayes, a literary agent at curtis brown, talks to us about what she. Everything my agent wanted to see in my proposal was there because of elizabeths book. Michael larsen cofounded larsenpomada literary agents in san francisco in 1972 with his partner elizabeth pomada. Unlike fiction, where an author must have a completed manuscript ready before they approach a publisher or agent, a nonfiction author only needs to develop a proposal to submit to publishers andor agents. Add in those samples, and youll have a complete proposal ready to be considered by a literary agent. It is up to the author working with the agent to prove that a sizeable target audience for the book exists, to sharply define this target market, and to evaluate competitive books if any in the marketplace. So here are the steps you need to follow to find the right agent for your book. Download it once and read it on your kindle device, pc, phones or tablets. Most nonfiction books sell on the basis of a proposal not finished work. Nonfiction book proposals bookends literary agency.
Prescriptive nonfiction is usually sold on proposal. If youre writing nonfiction you are not expected to have a manuscript, only a book proposal. How to write a book proposal that agents will love. This article is part of a 17part series called get a literary agent for authors of all genres scroll below to learn how to write a book proposal for any genre or category. And i believe that what youre about to read is the fastest, easiest way to get the best possible editor, publisher, and deal for your book. It includes information on the content, the author, the market, and the salability of the project. Advice that i find myself giving out again and again as an agent is guidance on how to write a nonfiction book proposal.
How to write a good nonfiction book proposal for submission 17 mar 2014 christian jennings, who is currently writing a book about the last year of wwii in northern italy, entitled if i live to see the dawn at war on the gothic line 194445. If your book is nonfiction, have a complete and polished book proposal and sample chapter. Nonfiction book proposal guide creative media agency, inc. A book proposal is an essential document used in publishing circles to describe the purpose and scope of a potential publication. Nonfiction book proposals agent jessica faust apr 24, 2019 1 comment as bookends builds our nonfiction list i am getting an increasing number of questions about what goes into a nonfiction book proposal. A book proposal is a document most commonly associated with pitching a nonfiction book. How to write a book proposal for a nonfiction book. Why a book proposal is a must for nonfiction authors. Nonfiction book proposal outline ted weinstein literary. For nonfiction, you need a proposal that gives an overview of the project. If youve had experience submitting novels to literary agents and publishersquery letter, synopsis, sample pagesyou may think you know all you need to know about submitting your selfhelp book or other nonfiction project. The most important aspect of the submission of a nonfiction book to publishers is the book proposal. If you prepare a salable proposal, you can get paid to write your book. The literary agents guide to writing a nonfiction book proposal.
All the elements of a winning proposal are explained by bestselling author and ghostwriter barry fox. A book proposal argues why your book idea is a salable, marketable product. In this blog post, youll find a description of the overview and introduction sections of my christian nonfiction book proposal, for blossom. In addition to your core target audience, who might be the next most interested targets. If you are from another country you can send a proposal via email to any of our agents but let us know that you are living in another country. Learn how to write a nonfiction book proposal, used to attract an agent and approach traditiional publishers.
How to write a book proposal for literary agents and. Nonfiction book proposals anybody can write by elizabeth. How to write a book proposal that agents will love jericho writers. The anatomy of a compelling book proposal the bindery. The literary agent s guide to writing a nonfiction book proposal will lead you through the steps to constructing a convincing book proposal that will make the best case possible for your project. Sample book proposal from a professional literary agency. There are several books available on writing book proposals. A query letter for a nonfiction book isnt all that different from a fiction query. Do not include the text of the proposal in the body. An agent might want something entirely different from a. Writing an irresistible book proposal writers digest. This is an updated version of a story that was previously published.
The bukowski agency nonfiction proposal guidelines. I was able to send my proposal within a week, and three months later, my agent was responding to bids from four large publishing houses. The 24 lectures of writing creative nonfiction by awardwinning writing instructor and professor tilar j. In all that time, ive found that there isnt one, perfect book proposal format, though some agents or publishers or editors would like to make you think this is the case. The literary agent s guide to writing a nonfiction book proposal kindle edition by ross, andy. This ones short and tothepoint, and the last time i. Instead of writing the entire book, then trying to interest an editor or agent which is how it works with novels, you write the proposal first.
How to write a book proposal its a lot easier once you realize there are different types of book proposals. Is the scope of your platform important to an agent. Mazzeo of colby college, a new york times bestselling author, are a chance for you to explore the entire process of writing creative nonfiction, from brainstorming for the perfect idea to getting your final product noticed by literary agents and publishers. Thats top secret information until the book actually gets. Nonfiction book proposal guide ask yourself these questions and as you write your answers, your proposal will develop before your eyes. Each header is a necessary element in a complete proposal. When you put together a nonfiction book proposal, the publisher really. Since they receive dozens of submissions per week, editors and agents. Most nonfiction is sold via a book proposal a structured outline of the book you. Nonfiction is often sold on the basis of a proposal. Members of aar the association of authors representatives, inc. To aid us in our presentation of your book project, we ask authors to prepare a carefully detailed and compelling proposal regardless of whether you have a completed manuscript. Writing an irresistible book proposal by michael larsen.
Fiction editors focus on plot, writing, and mass market appeal, which means they will want to see sample chapters and a. The literary agents guide to writing a nonfiction book proposal andy ross on. It is by david sanford, a published author, editor, and literary agent for more than 300 books who now serves on the leadership team at corban university. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading the literary agent s guide to writing a nonfiction book proposal.
I also sold a book off the back of a nonfiction book proposal that had multiple publishers bidding for the rights, and ended up being sold to harpercollins for. We update our posts as often as possible to ensure theyre useful for our readers. Your nonfiction book proposal could include the following. How to write a nonfiction book proposal mary mackey. The literary agents guide to writing a nonfiction book. When it comes to fiction, few agents or editors expect or require book proposals, but its an incredibly useful tool.
How to write a successful nonfiction book proposal jeanne. Overview describe your book in two or three paragraphs 500 wo. How i wrote a book proposal and found a literary agent. Nonfiction book proposal outline here is a basic template for a book proposal, which many of our clients have used successfully. Writing a nonfiction book proposal by scott mendel. Fiction editors focus on plot, writing, and mass market appeal, which means they will want to see sample chapters and a synopsis. Nonfiction book proposals anybody can write gave me the structure i needed to produce a coherent, organized proposal. How to write a nonfiction book proposal that will sell your book. Its a perk of nonfiction that you can sell a book on proposal before sitting down to the write the whole shebang, and often receiving an advance will help fund research andor travel, making the book possible.
If you have the time and want more detailed guidelines, get one of the many excellent books on writing proposals from the writers shelf at your library or local bookstore. When it comes to crafting a really great nonfiction book proposal. Crafting the nonfiction book proposal with sam slaughter eric. All are traditional publishers, and none require an agent. This article explains important differences between writing a fiction proposal and a nonfiction proposal.
You could even add nonmedia related metrics such as, x% of americans. The following is a template for completing a nonfiction book proposal. The literary agent s guide to writing a nonfiction book proposal by andy ross. I thought you might like my work because i see that you represent x author. Nonfiction book proposals can top out around 5075 pages, not including sample chapters. Ive been a nonfiction editor for over a decade, and in that time ive read, written, and consulted on an awful lot of book proposals, especially for lifestyle an d howto books. The author, andy ross, is a literary agent who has worked with authors and publishers in creating proposals that have led to book contracts. Although you should include at least two sample chapters in your nonfiction proposal, you should not finish writing the entire manuscript until the publisher has accepted the project for publication. Sample new book proposal below is a sample of a complete and exhaustive book proposal for a christian nonfiction manuscript. A marketing plan is a vital element of every nonfiction book proposal. How to write a nonfiction book proposal wolf literary. In a proposal, youll answer this question both on a macro and a micro scale to. Nonfiction submissions bear little similarity to fiction submissions. It is not unusual for an editor to skim the first part of a book proposal and.
Here is a basic template for a book proposal, which many of our clients have used successfully. Are publishers looking for genrespecific platforms or more generalized authorfocused approaches. Finding hope and healing for your heart after loss. Unlike fiction, in which writers are asked to either submit a sample of their writing or a full manuscript, nonfiction writers are required to submit a proposal. Want to come up with a great nonfiction book concept.
Nonfiction editors require a full proposal, which means you will have to submit detailed chapter descriptions, explain how your book will fit into. That was a two book deal, admittedly, so you can divide the numbers by two to get a per book amount. Agents and acquisitions editors are some of the busiest people i know. What follows is a list of the bare minimum i expect to see in a proposal for a nonfiction book. You are also welcome to listen to free audio recordings of teds book proposal bootcamp and other workshops and media appearances. It acts as a business case or business plan for your book that persuades a publisher to make an investment. I like this one because it contains ten reallife proposals that sold. Ill take you through how to write a nonfiction book proposal a successful one, from concept to cover letterand share my brainstorming prompts and proposal template. Some agents dont require a book proposal for memoir, while others. Speakup15 5 secondary audiences who, in addition to the target audience, might read or purchase this book. For more articles on the writing process and how to submit to literary agents, visit uk. Literary agent federica leonardis offers essential guidance to authors working towards submitting a work of nonfiction. Nonfiction book proposal mistakes can get your proposal tossed into the circular file before the agent or publisher even gets past page one.737 1070 223 99 445 165 4 1224 658 1517 1410 1323 875 1065 196 243 244 774 1172 702 1392 978 137 1062 332 1210 477 889 31 172 1027 180