That’s a logical approach, but not always the most efficient way of securing a publishing deal.
When you’re hoping to have your health book released by a standard publisher, you must present your idea to prospective publishers in the form of a book proposal.
The book proposal has two purposes:
- It’s a blueprint of the book you intend to write that tells prospective publishers the topics that will be covered, the style, how your book compares to others, how you will help promote the book, and so on.
- It’s also a sales pitch, a promise, a billboard in big capital letters announcing just how wonderful your book is going to be – and hinting at how much money the publisher is going to make from the sales.
There is no standard format for a book proposal…
and every literary agent will have a favored approach. All approaches contain the same basic elements, although your agent may place special emphasis on certain ones and place them in a specific order. A book proposal format that we have often used includes the following:
- Title Page – A single page with the title of your proposed book, your name, plus a few “selling sentences” – the gist of the book in a couple of scintillating sentences
- Synopsis – The entire book idea distilled into a couple of pages – what the book is about and why people will want to read it. (This is sometimes called the Overview.)
- About the Author – A description of who you are and why you’re qualified to write this book.
- Marketing Plan – An in-depth look at how you’re going to help sell the book. This may include listings of the TV and radio shows you’ve been on and/or have booked; your lecture schedule; companies or organizations that will be interested in promoting your book; your own marketing budget for the book; and anything else that demonstrates your commitment to supporting book sales.
- Market Analysis – An examination of the potential markets for the book.
- Competing Books – A look at the competition. Ideally, there are already some published books on your general topic: this shows that there is a market for your book. The Competing Books section explains how your book is different from the others; what makes it stand out in the crowd.
- Table of Contents – A list of chapter titles as they will appear in the book. The chapter titles should reflect the book’s content and style.
- Chapter Outline – Two to four paragraphs about each chapter, explaining what it will cover.
- Sample Chapter – One completely finished chapter, so the publisher can assess the content, writing style and overall feel of the book.
- Supporting Materials – This includes endorsements, pictures, articles, a detailed CV, tapes of the author’s TV appearances, website screenshots and so on – anything that can help sell the book!
Depending on the book, other sections such as “Reader Benefits” may be added to the proposal.
A well-written book proposal gives a prospective publisher a clear look at what you’re selling and its money-making prospects, so don’t skimp on quality or thoroughness. This is your book’s calling card and can make or break a sale!