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Book Proposal Advice?

where oh where

   
11:27 pm on Sep 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I've been asked by an agent to submit a non-fiction book proposal. I think a few of us here know about this sort of thing and I'm anxious to make a go of this sort of work. Where in the www is a good solid source to look up agents and information on book proposals, especially regarding contract terms and prevalent rates, etc.? I'll take all advice.

I've done columns and various freelance writing bits over the years, but never a book length project.

2:28 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



In many cases, book proposals are what the editors use to present authors' ideas in a meeting with the buyers for the book store chains. It's common for editors to get a lot of book proposals, so what you send them should be simple and to the point.

The first page could contain the title and a hypothetical Table of Contents. The second page could contain a sample paragraph from each chapter.

That's it.

2:31 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



If your book proposal is approved, you will be sent a contract, which you can either sign and return or hold out for more. If it's going to be a big seller, you may be justified in getting an agent, whose duties might include looking after the haggling.
2:35 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



The amount you will typically will be paid is so much per book sold. The amount is based on the book's projected sales figures (which also determine the size of the first printing) and the cover price.
2:46 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)



I've been asked by an agent to submit a non-fiction book proposal. I think a few of us here know about this sort of thing and I'm anxious to make a go of this sort of work. Where in the www is a good solid source to look up agents and information on book proposals, especially regarding contract terms and prevalent rates, etc.? I'll take all advice.

I've had somewhere like 8 of my books published. I suggest you go to your LIBRARY, if there's one local, and browse the appropriate sections. Also, borrow or buy Writer's Market which includes listings of publishers, etc, plus good hints.

One or two things. You have to decide whether having an agent is actually a plus or a minus at this point. I'd also try to get as much info about the SPECIFIC AGENT, as possible, since that's the first contract you will sign. While I was offered a number of my book opportunities, you probably know that it's rare as hen's teeth to be solicited the way it sounds you have been. Be extra cautious.

As for book proposals, each publisher tends to have somewhat different expectations about proposals, but the nice thing is that you can find author's guidelines on many publisher sites (e.g. McGraw-Hill has them online). Generally speaking for books, you make the proposal tweaked for the specific publisher. Those you can search for.

2:48 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)



To carguy.

Not to offend, bro, but most of what you wrote is either partially true, inaccurate, or completely irrelevant to the original poster's question.

Weird.

2:59 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



There's a pretty good non-fiction book proposal outline here:

rusoffagency (dot) com (slash) non_fiction_book_proposal.htm

For the list of publishers and agents:
google: literary marketplace

(My wife gave me these referrals as she has been trying to publish her recent novel)

3:09 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



I didn't claim to speak for all writers of all topics dealing with all publishers. All I did was explain what the editor of my books told me they wanted in the proposals, and what I learned and what agents taught me regarding contracts. Everything I said was true based on my experience with the world's largest automotive book publisher.

When I criticize someone, I give specifics.

Bad hair day, "bro"?

Bizarre.

[edited by: Car_Guy at 3:34 am (utc) on Sep. 21, 2006]

3:33 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)



All I did was explain what the editor of my books told me I should do regarding the proposals, and what agents taught me regarding contracts.

I think you got some bad information, or at least, information that doesn't reflect how the process usually works, on a lot of issues.

Particularly about proposals. Typically, a proposal used for a major publisher will contain a short summary of each chapter, a number of sample chapters, and a lot of information about market for the book, how the author will promote, why the author is qualified, information about similar titles already published, etc.

Again, most publishers have proposal guidelines available online.

As for agents, there are "true" agents, and then "agents" that make money from conning wannabee authors into paying reading fee, editing fees, etc. That's why I advise caution.

Also, many publishers won't accept submissions from unknown agented authors, while some publishers will ONLY accept proposals from agented authors.

3:36 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)



When I criticize someone, I give specifics.

I'll be glad to answer specific questions from the original poster. But one thing I've learned is not to bother arguing with people on this subject, when they have a little and limited understanding of the book publishing industry.

3:38 am on Sep 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Good plan, "bro". See ya.
1:45 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Car_Guy's scenario may be true for some editors/publishers (although AFAIK it's more likely to be found in the screenwriting world). That just underlines the importance of checking each publisher's requirements - and even reading between the lines as much as possible to find out what their preferences are.

The same is true for agents. If you sent a query letter to the agent and the agent is responding to that by asking for a full book proposal, he or she would normally tell you what to include (although that might be done by saying, "Check my website"). If the agent contacted you instead of the other way around, be very careful.

The same company that publishes Writer's Market also puts out a similar guide to agents. It might not be as current as Writer's Market (which comes out every year), but could still be helpful.

[edited by: Beagle at 1:46 pm (utc) on Sep. 25, 2006]

6:42 pm on Sep 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member



Agents rarely approach writers, unless you are someone famous or have some other likely draw for readers. Even then, be wary, because you're still more likely to be approached by a scammer than a real agent. And trust me, there are LOTS of scammers out there. There are comparatively very few agents out there, and truthfully, they don't need you all that much. Wannabee writers are a dime a dozen. :) I say this from the vantage point of BEING a writer.

A good place on the web for researching your agent is Absolute Write -absolutewrite.com - scroll down to the Predators and Editors forum. The people running the site are actual bonafide writing pros, and they make a habit of identifying scammy agents. If you can't find your agent there (search the site first) ask -- likely, someone will know. If they DON'T know the guy's name, that's a red flag in and of itself ... which they'll also likely tell you. :)

8:23 am on Sep 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member vincevincevince is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I can't add much experience here but from what I've seen approaches have always been made from publishers, not agents.
10:04 pm on Oct 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Publish it yourself as an ebook :o)


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