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writing a book proposal (1 Viewer)


Senior Member
so...i seem to have developed a mental block so far as writing a book proposal goes...every time i sit down to do it...i freak out have an anxiety attack and dont do it.
has anyone out there written one before? i just need some general advice to make me stop feeling like puking every time i wanna start it.
the book itself is written already...and one of my professors read it (one who's been published before and is therefore basically knowledgeable on the process) told me to get my ass in gear and write a proposal...because the book is good...but i cant do it.
so please...help?


Senior Member
There's a book you need call Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript and it gives you instructions on the proposal, query letters, etc, and shows you examples on what it should look like. Covers a variety of things and is very helpful. You can find used copies at Amazon for about $6.


Senior Member
"Life! ... Give my creation Life!" by Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein the movie

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Senior Member
thanks for all the advice...i've actually already looked at most of the books you recommended. and it isn't writer's block...it's fear. i dont know exactly what there is to fear...because i know that it's good. i know that it's amazing, even. i think the problem is i think about it too much.
thanks again for all the helpful advice...and winner, because of you, i''m sure the rejections won't dicourage me as much as they would have previously. all you need is one acceptance after all...right?


Senior Member
yep you only need one acceptance, don't worry alot of people become scared at publishing, I did even though it was only a poem, =/ but I somehow got over it but when I go to publish my novel or one of my stories I will probably get frightened of rejection, but I will try my best to get over it. So I'm glad to hear your over it, :D Good luck


Book Proposal Question

I know this is a non-fiction thread, but I figure some aspects of non-fiction and fiction proposals are the same. Correct me if I'm wrong, but most publishers / Literary agents want the first three chapters or the first 50 pages in your proposal. So far I've included the first three chapters; however, my first three chapters only equal about 20 pages. They just happen to be short chapters. Should I include more chapters until I get to about 50 pages, or should I just send those first three?


Senior Member
! Do your homework !

Before contacting anyone educate yourself on which publishers or agents are interested in your type of book. Get the above named books :book: and read through them. Some work with nonfiction, some fiction, some women's issues, some children's books, some travel books, etc. Then when you find those that are interested in your type, read on and find out how they want you to contact them. Follow their instructions and do as they say. They may specify even the font you use in contacting them.

You will, most likely, begin with a query letter. Some may want it electronically, some will definitely not want it electronically. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. If you don't follow their instructions from the get go, there is a good chance the door will be closed to you =;.

Don't send any chapters until you are requested to do so [-X. And don't send anything until you copyright it [-X.


Senior Member
... don't worry...

Don't worry about how many pages are involved in sending to them, unless they specify the first 50 pages or more.

The reason for asking for the first 50 pages or 3 chapters is because the reader will either be pulled into the book from the beginning and go on or not. That is why you must pay attention to lead-in sentences and paragraphs and the beginning chapters. You will either grab the reader during those pages or not. It will not matter if your last chapter or the middle chapters razzle and dazzle. You must pull the reader into the book as quickly as possible, but do it in an artistic creative way. Read other writers books. The way a writer does it is his 'style'. Learn. Educate yourself. :read:


O my gosh, you guys, I'm so glad I happened along. The most frightening and dangerous aspect of publishing is not the book proposal or the question of how many pages to send an agent/publisher, it is lack of knowledge. Once you truly understand the purpose of a book proposal, the parts to a book proposal and what the publisher is interested in above all else, you will begin to relax and find your comfort zone with the proposal.

Because the book proposal is so intimidating to so many people, I actually produced a workbook for authors of fiction and nonfiction books (books at any stage of completion). "The Author's Workbook" accompanies my hallmark book, "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book." I also have a course-on-demand on writing a book proposal, if you want to check it out.

While you are tackling the various parts to the book proposal one at a time, I strongly suggest that you have your book edited. All writers need an editor. There are two major reasons why publishers reject manucripts. One is that the book needs editing. The other is that the author lacks a platform and marketing plan and has little concept of promotion.

I have three favorite books on writing the book proposal, two are my own "How to Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less," and "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book." And the other one is by Herman and Adams--"Write the Perfect Book Proposal."

Guys, keep in mind that publishing is not an extension of your writing. Publishing is a business and, because of the huge responsibility we take on when we get a book published (whether through a traditional royalty publisher, a fee-based POD "self-publishing" company or actual self-publishing--establishing your own company), the success of our project is almost entirely up to us (the author).

I travel around and conduct workshops on writing/publishing and one thing I tell hopeful authors is that there are only two simple steps to publishing success. (Not easy, but simple.)

They are 1.) study the publishing industry so that you know your options, the consequences of your decisions/choices and your responsibility as an author. 2.) Write a complete book proposal. You will learn volumns through your book proposal. A well-researched, well-organized book proposal could actually change the direction or focus of your book and launch it toward greater success.

Good luck with your project,
Patricia Fry