Monday, February 15, 2010

How to Write a Book Proposal - Book Proposal Template

Here is an outline to use for putting a non-fiction book proposal together.  You can get ideas for fiction proposals here: Pub Rants.  If you need help with publishing or book marketing, contact me: thepublishingguru(at)




Premise: [Provide a two- or three-sentence statement of the book’s central concept. Often this is worded as a problem and the solution the book provides.]

Benefits: After completing [title], readers will: [List the benefits or takeaway value readers will derive from the book.]

Features: [Explain how the book will deliver the benefits by listing the book’s unique features.]

Overview: The book is divided into [number] sections and [number] chapters.

The Manuscript

Manuscript Status: [State how much of the manuscript is complete.]

Anticipated Length: [number] manuscript pages and word count (# pages x 300)

Anticipated Manuscript Completion Date:

The Market

Characteristics: The target audience for this book is made up of [Describe the demographic characteristics of the target readers, including age, sex, education level, etc.]

Motivations: [Describe the psychographic characteristics of the target readers, including the frustrations, desires, etc., that would motivate them to purchase and read the book.]

Affinity Groups: [List the groups of people, organizations, etc., who are likely to be attracted to the book.]

Differentiation: [Describe the main competition for the book and explain what distinguishes this book from them.]

The Author

Background: [Give a brief biographical description making sure to include information that establishes your credibility or qualifications to the write the book.]

Previous Writing: [List previously published writing, including the name of the publisher, the date of publication, and the number of units sold.]

Possible Endorsers: [List the names of people who are likely to provide a written endorsement of the book.]

Personal Marketing: [Describe what you can do to help the publisher promote the book.]

Chapter Outline: [Provide an annotated outline of the book. This outline should include section titles, chapter titles, and a two- or three-sentence description of each chapter’s content.]

Sample Chapters: [Attach two sample chapters that best represent the book.]

Use this book proposal template to tell publishers about your book and you should be in good shape.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Cream of the Indie Crop: How Readers Can Find Indie Writers

I recently developed a connection with Amy Edelman of After studying the great things they are doing to connect Indie Authors with Indie Readers, I asked Amy to be a guest blogger. She has some thought-provoking things to say. -

The Cream of the Indie Crop: How Readers Can Find Indie Writers

by Amy Edelman
What if the only movies you could see were big Hollywood blockbusters? What if the only food you could eat was the stuff found at those big franchise places? And what if the only books you could read were those over-stuffed bestsellers pumped out by traditional publishers and pushed by the big-box bookstores (for $8.99 a pop)?

The fact is, there's nothing wrong with mass produced food or books or movies, but sometimes people want something different. Sometimes they want to see a movie or eat a meal or read a book that's unique. Something that will surprise them.

That's where indie (aka self-published) books come in. Books created like handmade goods and produced in small numbers. Books that are mostly Print On Demand, meaning no trees are killed until after the books are sold. Why is this so important? Because today more than ever, almost everything we make gets co-opted by corporate culture, turned into a business model, reformulated and churned out like soap to appeal to as many people as possible. In a world where almost everything is packaged by committee, indie books are written with a single voice: the writer's own.

It’s true—and frankly, unfair—that self-published authors have been considered less talented than their traditionally published counterparts. Their books are ignored or looked down upon, not carried by most bookstores and shunned by reviewers. But that is slowly changing. After all, if the work of indie musicians and indie filmmakers command respect, why not the work of indie writers (who, incidentally, published 1/2 million of their own books last year, alone)?

And these books are not just about vanity. More and more of them (Daemon, The Shack, The Lace Reader) are making it to the top of the national bestseller lists. It also helps that successful authors like Stephen King and Dave Eggers are giving self-publishing a go.

So, where does a book-lover go when they want to find something that's not already on everyone else's night table?, where every book is reviewed prior to acceptance, guaranteeing that book-lovers find--from yummy cookbooks to gorgeous coffee table books, kids, self-help and fiction--the "cream-of-the-indie crop". In its simplest sense, IndieReader (like Sundance for writers) is a venue where consumers can find and purchase books published and produced by the people who wrote them. As opposed to other sites that cater to writers, IndieReader was created for the discriminating consumer (although writers will find tons of helpful information, too). Our monthly, online magazine, The Indie Reader, has featured contributions by designer Isaac Mizrahi, writers Joel Stein (Time magazine), Brunonia Barry (The Lace Reader), columnist Dan Savage and singer/songwriter Joshua Radin and more.
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