July 16, 2019

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 […]

Building Books with Big Enough Ideas (Writing Tips)

Are your ideas big enough for a book? Or, are they more chapter size? Or, a three-volume set size? Ideas need to fit their container without too much stretching or crimping. I’m a big fan of Oprah’s O Magazine. Its number of pages has grown and shrunk over the past two years. The March 2012 […]

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 […]

Literary Agent Ted Weinstein on Book Proposals

Ted Weinstein, literary agent, on book proposals Ted Weinstein has done a nice job on this video. His advice, however, applies to nonfiction works. Most authors are surprised, but the US publishing market is about 80 percent nonfiction and only 20 percent fiction. Weinstein focuses on the author selling a proposal to a literary agent, […]

Author Platform: What to Do when You Don’t Have One

  Planet Earth Reiki Galaxyoffers encouragement for creating a platform–you know, a soapbox from which you can build visibility before submitting proposals. Good advice. Recently, a new client asked whether this is an iron-clad rule. “If I don’t have a platform, am I simply wasting opportunities to get published?” In a word, yes. It needs […]

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 […]

10 Reasons to Write a Book Proposal Before the Nonfiction Book

Elizabeth Rusch has an excellent blog on VivaScriva.com titled, “10 Reasons to Write a Book Proposal BEFORE Writing the Book” (and which amberjkeysercalled to my attention on Twitter). One dominant theme in Elizabeth’s list is the benefit of planning ahead or being efficient with your writing time. For example, item 10 is the outline and […]

Non Fiction Book Proposal — Sample Chapter

Tamara Palmer, The Feast, posted an exclusive look into Eddie Huang’s sample chapter of his book proposal. Eddie has just gotten a deal with Random House for his memoir about growing up as a Chinese American. A New York restauranteur, his bun was voted best in 2010. In his memoir, he reveals that his SAT […]

Questions to Ask a Literary Agent to Determine Best Fit

Some elements of the author-agent relationship include finding: Someone you feel comfortable enough to approach Someone you trust as a source of information Someone you enjoy working with and who will do a good job In prior blogs, I offered variations of these considerations as the 3 most important factors when considering a literary agent: […]

Literary Agent Best Fit: Experience

Your literary agent should be your author consultant or author mentor. How can you as author achieve this? Agents bring three basic experience sets to the table: Connections or contacts with publishers’ editors Knowledge of writing, books, publishing, contracts, and selling subsidiary rights Ability to work with both writers and editors–to keep everything moving forward […]