Book Proposals: How to Start Writing a Proposal That Sells


Do you want to write a book proposal that sells? Here’s the answer: realize that it’s a sales document. You’re writing to persuade publishers that your book is worth investing in. You must persuade publishers that your book will make a profit, because too many books don’t.

1. Your Book in a Nutshell: Create a Blurb

Go to your local bookstore.

Spend half an hour or so there, reading the back cover material of books in both the fiction and nonfiction sections. You’re reading blurbs. The book’s author wrote the blurb and wise authors start a book by writing their blurb before they write anything.

Yes, your blurb needs to be written before you start writing your book: it encapsulates the book. Essentially, it’s a description.

The reason you write the blurb first is because any book morphs as you write it. As long as you have a blurb, you have a direction and a goal. Without a blurb your book starts of with a bang but never goes anywhere. I won’t say that it’s impossible to write a book without writing a blurb first half, but it’s much more difficult than it should be, and it will take longer too, because you wander down too many sidetracks.

Therefore your first step in writing your book proposal and indeed your book, is writing a blurb. Your blurb should encapsulate your book in no more than 100 words.

2. What’s Your Competition? (Competition Is Good)

Your book isn’t published in isolation. Around 1000 new books are published in English each and every week. Many of those books won’t make back the money that was invested in them. You can imagine that no publisher is interested in publishing duds. Therefore your publisher is very interested in the “competition” section of your book, as indeed you must be.

Write down five books, preferably bestsellers, which will be your book’s competition. Can’t find five books? If you can’t find at least five top-selling books in your subject area, then find another. Your book must have competition — competition shows that people are spending in that area.

Now, while competition is good, your book must not be an “me too” kind of book. It must have a point of difference. It must be appreciably different from its competitors, as well as compelling in its own right, before a publisher will consider it.

3. Build Your Platform: Marketing Is Everything

It comes as a horrible shock to most new authors when they discover that their publisher is not in the least interested in marketing their book. Even when you have a publisher, it’s up to you to market your book.

Marketing starts before you write your book.

These days, with the prevalence of blogs, marketing your book is easy.

Big tip: if there’s no interest in a blog on the topic of your book, find another topic. Start your blog before you write your book, and work hard to get readers. The more readers you get the more likely it is that a publisher will be interested in your book.

Your book proposal determines the fate of your book: it needs to be a professionally written sales tool. You can get help from Angela Booth. Not only is Angela a top copywriter, she’s also an author who’s been published by major publishers. Angela offers a complete book proposal service, as well as writing coaching. Discuss your project with Angela today.


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Angela Booth is a top copywriter, multi-published author, and writing teacher. She offers many guides, courses and classes to help writers to enhance their skills on her websites. She also provides inspiration and motivation for writers on her writing blogs. Angela has been writing successfully since the late 1970s, and was online in the 1980s, long before the birth of the Web. Her business books have been widely published.