How long should a Book Proposal beWhat is the duration of a book suggestion?
Writing a Non-Fiction Proposal
In 1972 Michael Larsen and his associate Elizabeth Pomada co-founded Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco. AAR ( "Association of Authors' Representatives, Inc."), Michael and Elizabeth have distributed literary works to more than 100 publishing houses and print shops. Wellcome to my People Who Make Blocks Bite Interviews Sequence, Michael. First, could you please tell us why an author needs a suggestion to make a non-fiction sale?
Michael: A proposal is a businessplan that has to persuade publishing houses to buy a book. So why not just write a short covering note and return the finished script to an editor or agen? Michael: A covering note won't give all the information publishing houses need, and if it's not a memorandum, they don't need or don't want to see an entire work.
You just want to see enough to appreciate the author's skill in submitting a saleable script and promoting the book. Are you required to make a proposal for the self-publication of a non-fiction book? Michael: Authors can compose and print their own work. You do not have to submit an application if you want to be public.
However, making a suggestion allows the authors to test their dedication to authoring and promotion of the book. The book also assists them in reconciling their literature and editorial goals: what they want to create and how effective they want their book to be. Authors don't need a suggestion if they want to send a memorandum for their family.
When they have ambitions, a proposal is a test of concepts and a test of engagement. Are you willing as an agency to consider non-fiction suggestions that come to you without a suggestion? Back in your part as an asset, how do you use a suggestion when you sell a non-fiction book to a publisher?
Michael: After we found out if there are any writers interested, I'll make a repeated entry to the best writers of the best publishers for the book and the novel. Mary: How long should a suggestion for a non-fiction book be? Michael: Suggestions usually run from 35 to 50 pages. Which are the main components of a non-fiction proposal?
You want it to have a front page, for example? Michael: A proposal starts with a cover page, followed by a list of content that lists the parts of the proposal and the pages on which they begin. Three parts of a proposal are the overview, the structure and the sample section.
Let us take these parts of a non-fiction proposal one by one. Firstly, what is the purpose of the overview? Objectives of the overview are to demonstrate that you have a saleable concept and the capacity to create and encourage it. I' ll enumerate the parts of the overview in a certain order, but they are modules that authors can order in any order to help them selling their book most effectiv.
Can you give us a listing of the main things that should be in the overview and tell us in which order they should be? Michael: Here is my most important list: - The book hook: The name and the sales manual, up to fifteen words sales copy about the book.
Enumerate the types of reader, retailer, organization or institution interested in the book. Incorporate the sizes of each group and other information to show that the authors know the public and how to spell the book for these audiences. These can be numbers for blogs' users, website users, your contact on public relations sites and on-line items you have posted.
Off-line, your online presentation could be the number of papers you have posted in the printed press, the number of presentations you give each year, the number of persons you give them to, where you give them, and your presence in the press. In order to enhance the effect of your suggestion, add a hyperlink to a up to two minute long videoclip in which you give the most powerful information from the suggestion with as much enthusiasm as possible.
"In order to advertise the book, the book will be:....." followed by a listing in decreasing order of urgency of what you will do to advertise your book, on-line and off-line, during the startup and after. Newspapers do not want big ideas from novel writers and memoirs, and the smaller the home you are satisfied with, the less important your idea and your platforms are.
" Is there a time when you should not consider these three things? Michael: Authors should cover everything that contributes to the sale of the book. Non-fiction covers a broad variety of textbooks, so the information you give must be useful for the type of book you write. Quote success stories you like as rolepieces for your book.
I' ve listened to many editors say that every script that comes to them with an already created artwork is the sign of an American. Michael: Not if it's a disguise that' entitled a New York home. The majority of released works do not have the best artwork because they do not have the means to produce the best possible artwork for each book.
The first page of the proposal can be a professional designed frontpage. This will help to promote a book and even if it is not used, it gives the publishing house something to do. Authors need a covers artist and feedbacks from experts like bookstores to make sure a book is worthwhile.
Any words in a proposal help or hurt the odds. The same applies to a front page layout. Do you have to disclose that the book has already been released by your own publishing house if you are looking for a businesslisher? Michael: Authors should tell publishing houses if their book has been released, add quotations from book review and information on how to help the book out.
When the book is good enough to be sold, please return it along with the first part of the proposal. In case the book does not make an impression on the editor or if you want to make significant changes, simply submit the proposal and include the self-published one. Would you say: "This will be a great film" if you don't have a film dealing in progress, or does it sounds like a combination of wish-thought and unlikely outburst?
Michael: The latter. Isn' t it correct that nowadays publishing companies do not even look at the work of creators who do not have an extensive on-line and off-line market? Michael: A promotional schedule shows how creators will use their platforms to distribute music. Large publishing companies want to see people who can do as much as they can for their book; it is not so important for small and some medium-sized companies.
Editors do not want memoir writers to have a big stage; the how-to-book succeeds depending on the continuous exposure of the writer, both on-line and off-line. Michael: No, but the more the better. It' s a challenging task to maximise the value of your book before you start selling or publishing it by creating your own platforms and community of helpers and marketing your book in as many ways as possible.
Is this important and why does it appear in the organic section of the overview? Michael: It's not necessary, but it can make the distinction. Publishing houses want to know how well authors are received by the press and how efficiently they can talk about their book. When a proposal is for sale, a hyperlink to an actual one to two minutes long movie by an editor who describes his obsession with the book gives the editor another one.
The proposal should also contain a link to films in which the writer speaks or does an interview, if available. Michael: Publishing houses don't want to see a film. While a telephone, as well as a digital recorder or a tray is okay, like the proposal, the way the writer writes and executes the movie must have the effect that they want.
Authors should receive feedbacks on the text and its content to ensure that the text is well-worthy. Is there anything you could include in the overview section of your proposal that is not absolutely necessary - that is, optionally - but it is definitely something to consider? Michael: If authors can get a preface and covers quotations from someone whose name and/or position will help selling the book in fifty states in two years, they should name it.
When authors want to publish follow-ups to help selling their proposed book, they should list up to three of them in decreasing order of merchantability. When they find an ideal for a set of textbooks that are selling each other and that they like to promote and promote, they can make a successful future out of it.
When you describe competition textbooks, you recommend that authors use "phrases that begin with a verb". When you use a quest message, should it go into the overview? Michael: A guiding principle should be the last part of the overview. Are you sending a covering note and a proposal or is the proposal the covering note?
Michael: First, research the sites of your agent or publisher to find out how to get in touch with them. To see the proposal, please submit it along with the modified request form to indicate that you are submitting the proposal. Now, that you have given us a detailed description of the overview, we come to the second section of a non-fiction proposal: the outline.
Would you please describe the sketch and tell us what it should contain? Michael: The design has to show that the writer has the value of a book and knows how to present it most effectively. Then, one to three presentation-strong sections about each section, with outlines describing, explaining and discussing how and where.
You can use a structured, self-explanatory information book in the section. At the end we come to the last section: the Sample Channel. So how long should it take and what should it do? Michael: The writers differ, but for big companies they usually want to see about ten per cent of the text.
Twenty to twenty-five pages of a manual, for example, are sufficient. Do you always use the first section as a sample section or can you insert a section from another part of your book? Do you need the sample section to be the real section as it will appear in the book, or can you cut it, modify it or make it more independent?
Michael: The first section of a PhD-driven book should be the most thrilling section of the book. There should be a booklet for the book, the book in a section, so that when all your followers end this section (which often happens), they have the nature of the book.
When the first section stimulates them enough, they will want to continue with it. A how-to-book overview explains what the book is, so journalists don't have to reread it as an example section. Therefore, authors should use the most powerful and prestigious how-to section they can use for a model section, with the illustration for when the book will have them.
Prose-driving textbooks like memoir should look like fiction. The conviction of the first section, including the first page, decides whether the reader moves on to the next section. Authors should adhere to the policies on agents' and publishers' Web sites. So, the authors have to do it: With more topics to cover, more ways to encourage and benefit from literature, and three billion people reading on the Internet alone, that's the next limit for them.
Larsen enjoys assisting authors and always strives to find non-fiction authors with inspiration, literacy skills, a forum and an advertising schedule for socially, aesthetically or practically valuable work. It also has a consultancy for non-fiction authors. In addition to co-founding Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents, he is the writer of How to Produce a Book Proposal and How to Get a Literary Agent and co-author of Guerrilla Marketing for Writers:
It has also produced a downloaded offer form, which is available at www.thebookdesigner.com. Mr. Writers is co-director of the San Francisco Writers Conference and the San Francisco Institute for Change Conference. You' re welcome to take part in this interview about Who Make Book's bites, ask Michael Larsen a question or make a coment.
View the other interviews in this batch for information on how to get an agent, how to design a book cover that sells books and helps independents bookstores survive and thrive, three great reasons to still print on paper, designs websites for writers, best-selling writer Ellen Sussman on living denial and more.