April 6, 2020

10 Mistakes in Book Proposal Query Letters

You have finished your novel and now want to get a literary agent. After drafting your agent query letter or email, here’s a checklist of things you should NOT do. 411: What they have in common is that you should not say or demonstrate that you are inexperienced, boring, or incapable of good writing. 1. […]

To Get a Literary Agent, Make Your Query Letter–and Manuscript–Lean

Mike Wells is an American bestselling thriller and suspense author who also teaches creative writing at Oxford University. He is known for fast-paced, ‘unputdownable’ novels. His 5 Steps to Landing a Good Literary Agent is a helpful read. I want to focus on a side comment he makes: The main problem most writers have when […]

3 Questions Your Book Proposal Must Answer – Marketing Profs

Marketing Profs posted an article that fits well with writing a book proposal or query letter. When working business to business (B2B), it is important to have “a provocative point of view,” one with narrative qualities. Writing your book query and book proposal is an author-to-literary agent situation. Many book proposals that I review offer […]

How to Get the Book Title You Want

The new movie starring Helen Hunt is now on its third title, “The Sessions.” Before that, it was called “Six Sessions,” but that was too hard to say. The movie producers actually wanted to use the title “The Surrogate,” but that title was already wrapped up and unavailable. Turns out, according to the Wall Street […]

5 Questions Every Nonfiction Proposal Must Answer

Every nonfiction book proposal needs to include a number of things, such as 1. What is this book about? Sometimes the subject merely needs to be mentioned, as in writing a new biography on JFK, but other times, one needs two (or ten) pages to describe the subject, as when the subject is cosmic ripples […]

Book Query, Synopsis, Manuscript Partial–Which Isn’t Working?

Recently an author approached, somewhat frustrated. He has been sending out his query and synopsis to literary agents. Some have requested 5 pages, 10 pages, or 50 pages. He has also received many personal emails of encouragement from these agents–to keep searching for that right agent. Sound familiar? If you are in this situation as […]

Literary Agent and Book Editor Turn Offs

Christina Parisi has an excellent blog on her top 10 turn-offs for book editors reading your proposal. She┬áis an Executive Editor at AMACOM Books and the Director of AMA Self-Studies and acquires books in management, leadership, training, HR, and general business so she probably has in mind nonfiction books. Yet, I am adding literary agents […]

Dialogue in Fiction Book Proposals

Writer’s Digest offers an excerpt from Jeff Gerke’s The First 50 Pages (Writer’s Digest, 2011). (The book was published in early November 2011.) As Jeff says, “Great dialogue may not get you a publishing contract, but lousy dialogue will often prevent you from getting one. Awkward, unrealistic dialogue is a common reason acquisitions editors and […]

The Zen of Catching a Literary Agent’s Attention

From inkpop on twitter, I picked up a helpful blog entry by author Jennifer Castle titled, “Catching an Agent’s Attention with a Good Query Letter.” Read her post for a delightful, if maddening, account of how she sent out only two queries to literary agents, how each requested a full manuscript, and how each gave […]

Book Proposal Examples: 3 Successful Fiction Queries

Having to write a proposal can be frustrating. My last blog identified 5 reasons for this. As step 1 in writing a query letter, you need to dispose of these frustrations. Step 2 is to develop a picture in your mind of how your book concept might be put into either your pitch (verbal) or […]