Developing Winning Book Proposals
Keep in mind, several people with various agendas will read your proposal. Some will want to get a quick idea of what your book is about, while others will read every word. Although it's very important to be complete, you should start your proposal with a document no longer than a page that tells the whole story. It will set the context of your proposal for the editor, and it will provide more than enough information for the sales and marketing people.
If you have an extremely long table of contents, you should consider including a brief table of contents. This will allow readers to ease into the idea of the book without overwhelming them with detail.
The following section outlines the key questions book publishers ask before they make a publishing decision. Regardless of how you organize your proposal, it should include answers to all the following relevant questions.
Remember, your goal as an author is to maximize the time you spend writing books. If after asking yourself these questions you find there isn't a very compelling reason to write the book, then this exercise was extremely valuable. It's hard coming up with a best-selling book idea, but very worthwhile.
State the title, subtitle, number of pages, suggested price point, whether your book includes a disk, and any other special characteristics of the book.
Describe the purpose of the book (reference, address an unmet need in the marketplace, provide real-world experience, etc.). Why should this book be published? For example, after reading this book, what will people we able to do or apply?
Explain the concept underlying the work, and the major topics you plan to cover. Describe why you arranged your book as you did (as shown in your outline). Why is this arrangement better than any other?
If a diskette or CD-ROM will be included with the book, what value-added materials do you believe should be included? Why?
What skills and experience will the reader need to bring to the book? What is the minimal skill set to adequately use the book?
What skills will the reader take away from the book? What will the reader be able to do that he wasn't able to do before reading the book?
Which chapter listed in the attached table of contents would you like to use for your sample chapter? Why?
Will you use figures, illustrations, graphs, charts, and drawings?
Is the book a textbook? If yes, please answers the following:
- Course titles
- Average class size and frequency
- Will you provide instructions, summaries, exercises, hints, and programming examples?
Who is the audience?
Why does your intended audience need this book? To learn? To develop?
Why would someone purchase this book? For saving time? Saving money? Finding information that isn't available anywhere else? Please list three reasons.
Is timing critical to the publication of your book? When should your book appear on bookstore shelves?
What are the known competitors to this book or type of book? Be specific and include author, complete title, and ISBN, if possible. What do these books provide yours cannot? What are you providing that the competition cannot?
What is the estimated market size for the book? How many potential readers have or will have the software, skills, and interest in a book of this nature? How many people have the product? How many of those people buy books?
What are the top three associations in this area?
What are the top three conferences on this topic?
What are the top three journals or magazines on this topic?
Are you committed and available to complete your book on an aggressive schedule? When do you expect to submit the final manuscript?
When do you expect to complete and submit the manuscript?
Have you published books with other publishers? If so, please provide for each book the full title, publication date, and publisher. What else have you had published - magazine articles, documentation, etc.?
What can you do as an author to help market the book?
What unique, value-added benefits can you afford to a reader of the book? What can you, the author, provide to set yourself apart from competing authors?
Why do your academic, personal, or business experiences qualify you to write this book?
List and describe five specific benefits inherent to the book that will help marketing sell this book.
Did you answer all of the questions?
Did you include professional writing samples?
Did you include your resume?
Are your address, telephone number (day and night) and e-mail address included?
Is your outline complete and well-thought out?
How to Submit
Once you have completed this form, return it along with a table of contents and abstract to:
Publisher, Auerbach Publications
Taylor & Francis Group
270 Madison Avenue
New York NY 10016