Tips for Writing a Non-Fiction Book Proposal

by Anne Wayman

How to Write a Book ProposalGuest Post by Chris Rhatigan

In pursuing an agent or a deal with a publisher, everyone knows you need a punchy query letter. You have to get to the point quickly and make your book irresistible to agents and editors.

But you also have to follow that query letter with a winning book proposal. What this includes varies depending on who you’re sending it to, but some common elements include:

  • One or two sample chapters
  • An overview of the book, including details on each chapter
  • A table of contents
  • A resume
  • A cover letter, including your publishing credits and relevant background
  • A promotion and marketing plan, including a description of your target audience

Remember that in a proposal, you’re still marketing yourself and your book. When an agent finishes reading your non-fiction book proposal, they should be convinced your book will sell. They should also be convinced that you’re the best person to write it.

However, if your proposal contains any errors, you can do all of these things right but still lose out to another author. Checking over your work is essential, but you need to do more. Hiring a professional proofreader is the best way to ensure your proposal is flawless.

After all, you’ve labored over this book for months—maybe years. You don’t want to waste this opportunity due to a couple of grammatical errors. A professional proofreader can also improve your proposal’s clarity, flow, and sentence structure.

Lastly, if the agent or publisher turns down your book, don’t be afraid to give it another try. As writer J.A. Konrath says, “There’s a word for a writer who never gives up: published.”

About the Author: Chris Rhatigan is a non-fiction book proposal proofreader and public relations assistant with ProofreadingPal .

Shameless Self-Promo: Check out Anne’s book on book proposals.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Brian Kaldenberg March 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Excellent information Chris!

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