Friday, June 12, 2015

Book Review: Book Proposals That Sell

I'm still quite a newbie to this whole publishing game. Indeed, I feel like I'm still standing at the box wondering if there will be a game piece available to me so that I can even play (I'd even be willing to be the iron ... I don't have to go as far or as fast as the car ... I just want to get the work done). I suppose if I'm fair about it, I have been around the board a few times; I just haven't managed to snag any properties, establish any monopolies, or buy any houses. I've had limited interactions with agents and publishers. I've had manuscripts requested and even book proposals requested. It simply didn't net the response I was hoping for.

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.

No comments: