Friday, June 12, 2015
Book Review: Book Proposals That Sell
This book by W. Terry Whalin is an excellent work if you are a writer interested in preparing a non-fiction book proposal. It really doesn't provide much in the way of insights into a fiction proposal (I prepared two of those for a publishing house a few years ago), but offers up, as the sub-title indicates, "21 Secrets to Speed Your Success." The book is well-structured and easy to follow. After a few brief introductory chapters, 21 chapters are devoted to the secrets of proposal-writing-success. Some of them are obvious (things like "Never trust spell-checker," and "Never submit your first draft"). Some are essential ("Know the topic of your book," "Know the audience for your book," and "Know your competition"). Others cover aspects I may not have fully considered before ("Create a dynamic marketing plan," "Get high profile endorsements," "Build editor relationships," and "Submit your proposal simultaneously"). All the points are useful and important.
The book ends with a sample proposal which netted a six-figure advance. This is followed by several appendixes, including other sources of information on the subject, a piece by Michael Hyatt (former head of Thomas Nelson Publishers and author of the fiction proposal writing piece I purchased to guide my own book proposal presentation), and a link to an agent list. Although the book is ten years old, it remains a valuable guide for the process of creating book proposals worthy of an agent or editor's eye.