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Creating a Book Proposal

Find out what publishers want first by going to their websites. Organize your book ideas into a formal proposal to go with your queries. Publishers typically have their own templates they prefer you to use for proposals, so make sure to follow their directions accurately and get a template from which to work. Your book summary or synopsis is critically important in that it must be clear, concise, and grab the reader's interest.

A couple of good rules to follow: don't brag, read the submissions guidelines very carefully, and make sure you provide only what they are asking. Do not send your manuscript if they ask for a query only. 

Read the publisher website material and find a few good quotations from their website to use in your query directly from the publisher or editors. If a publisher is looking for historical fiction, don't send a romance novel. 

In general, publishers of fiction will ask you for the following:


      Word Count of the Manuscript

      Competing Titles 

     What Makes Your Book Unique

     Intended Market or Audience

     Author bio (short)

     Author Marketing Plan 

     Social Media Presence


Publishers of nonfiction will want an abstract (rather than synopsis) and a Table of Contents, a Bibliography, a Foreword, and whether or not you intend to include an Appendix or Appendices. 

Independent Presses

There are a score of independent presses out there for which you do not need an agent to query. Do not give up on a good project. It takes time and persistence.

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