Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Example Book Proposal - Write Yours Based On This Sample

Guest post by William Cane

Here is a book proposal example for a book entitled High Rents.

High Rents

A Book Proposal

By [Your Name Here]


How many people pay high rents? Everyone. Yet there are no books on this subject.

HIGH RENTS is the first book to look at this subject from the renter's point of view. It is divided into two chapters. Chapter One is about high rents. Chapter Two is about how to deal with high rents. The book will be 75,000 words long and be ready within one year.


This book will appeal to everyone who pays rent, and that includes 53 percent of the U.S. population, for a total of 41 million adults. An additional market will be attorneys who represent landlords and tenants. A further market will be book clubs and libraries.

HIGH RENTS can be promoted on radio and TV. I will make myself available to these media outlets. I have already appeared on the radio when I was a guest on the "Holiday Ideas" radio show on WCDB-AM in Paducah. I write an occasional column in the local newspaper, and I will promote the book there as well. I have already gotten interest from two television producers, one from the local ABC news channel, and another from the local CBS channel. This is a good indication that my book will generate massive publicity when published.


There is only one competing book, and it is entitled RENT by John Author (Competing Books Publisher 2007) but his book doesn't deal with high rents. In contrast my book will focus exclusively on high rents and will be of interest to more people because everybody wants to avoid high rents.


[Your name here] is a magazine writer for the Pacific Monthly. She has written numerous columns for that publication. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University, and is a regular speaker at the Paducah Tenant Organization. She also travels to lecture at other tenant organizations in New York and elsewhere. She is very excited about this book because many tenants have told her they wish there was a book like this available.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - High Rents

Chapter 2 - How to Deal with High Rents



Chapter 1 - High Rents.

The first chapter talks about high rents in the United States. It is divided into fifty sub-sections, each about one of the states. I examine the statistical frequency of high rents in each state. This will not be a boring book because I will interject jokes about high rent in each section.

Chapter 2 - How to Deal with High Rents.

The second part of the book will deal with thirty-six ways to deal with high rents. These methods include making more money, paying in installments, paying with credit cards, borrowing from relatives, borrowing from banks, subletting, ending a lease, having a moving sale, and other methods. Each method will be discussed with plenty of real-life examples.


[Include a sample chapter here.]


This example of a book proposal is much shorter than an actual book proposal, of course, but it gives you all the essentials. The first thing it contains is the overview, which is supposed to hook reader interest. This is followed by a marketing and promotion section in which you tell who will buy your book and how you'll publicize the book. Typically this is followed by the competing books section where you talk about similar books and stress why yours is better.

Then you discuss your credentials in the about the author section. Whatever you've done that will give an editor confidence belongs in here, even if you have no big publishing credits.

Then you list the chapters, which is basically just a table of contents for your book. And follow this with short chapter summaries. Notice that my chapter summaries are only one paragraph each. That's all you need.

Then attach a sample chapter or two. In this case, since the entire book is only two chapters, we're only attaching one chapter.

You'll find plenty of examples of book proposals in books and online, but remember my most important advice. Select one book proposal example and use it to write yours. Using too many can just confuse you. If you select wisely, you'll have a great model and will be off to a great start in your book proposal writing.

William Cane is the author of The Art of Kissing, translated into 19 languages. He taught English at Boston College for fourteen years and today is a widely sought-after speaker at colleges and universities nationwide. His Web site contains more insider writing advice for those wishing to get published:


  1. Great overview of parts of a proposal. Thanks for the info.

  2. Thanks Todd for the info. Every publisher/agent usually has very specific requirements on how to submit. It's nice not having to hunt for them on their website.
    I will be using your guidelines today, so watch for an email :-)

  3. Thanks for the information. I love getting your tweets, and this is definitely a blog to follow!

  4. This post was a timely one, as I have a book proposal brewing in my mind and this gave me the perfect road map for it. Thanks!


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