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Writing A Book Proposal

Much of what I've shared about the writing journey so far is just that: my experience. But this time, I'm going to give you ADVICE.

And yes, I'm yelling at anyone writing a manuscript and wanting to publish it someday (including my past self).

Dear Past Self,

When Carrie sent you the book proposal template … You should've worked on it!


Your Future Self

Why might I be making such a big deal about writing a book proposal?

Agents want to see them. Publishers want to see them. Basically, anyone who might consider helping you on your publishing journey will want to see one.

So, what is a book proposal?

It's a document that captures:

  1. The essence of your manuscript (without having to read your entire manuscript),

  2. The work that you've done so far, and

  3. The work that you're willing to do and keep doing.

If my friend Carrie hadn't sent me a nonfiction book proposal template, months before I reached out to an agent, I would've been even further in a scramble when said agent replied and wanted me to send them my book proposal.

So yes, I didn't work on my book proposal until three days before it was due. (This is not how I typically approach ANYTHING in life.) Unless you're one of the people who enjoy time pressure (I am not), this is not the recommended path to creating a book proposal. Again, more THANKS to Carrie for being willing to proofread my book proposal with one day's notice before it was due. (Carrie isn't just a great friend; she also happens to be a coach and is working on her own writing journey. You can tune in and follow her at Plucky Not Perfect.)

If you're interested in resources for book proposals, just Google "book proposal" or go to your local library. Many resources are available, and I'm obviously not an expert on the best resources for this (insert eye roll directed at past self).

Writing a book proposal may seem B-O-R-I-N-G, but let me tell you: it is invaluable. It helped me clarify my thoughts about who the book was for and why I believe that people need to read it. Creating the book proposal also made me think through how I might go about spreading the word, what kind of network of people I have, and if I really thought the people I already knew would read this book. Lastly, like most parts of this journey so far, it made me again appreciate every author who's ever written a book (and thus a book proposal).

Since I now have a writing coach (yay, Danica! More to come on her next time...), she's shown me how to improve my book proposal (yes, that means more rewriting!).

In the meantime, if you're a writer who wants to get published and hasn't done a book the slogan goes: just do it!

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