April 6, 2020

Nonfiction Proposal Resources

Here is what we seek and what guides our review:

1. The proposal, which answers five basic questions to the degree needed, including:

  • What is this book about?
  • What is the book’s thesis (or argument), and what’s new about it?
  • Why are you the person to write this book?
  • Why is now the time to publish this book?
  • Who makes up the core readership for the proposed book, and why will they find this book appealing?

For more information, click on “5 Nonfiction Proposal Helps.”

2. A brief narrative outline (2-3 pages) that lists each chapter title and offers a paragraph or two describing how the argument is being advanced or what biographical period this focuses on or the like.

3. A sample chapter (and preferably not the Introduction) written at the same reading level as the proposed book (authors should adapt a published article to the book’s reading level, if the article is the background to the sample chapter).

4. A resume or curriculum vita (c.v.) with the relevant materials featured to highlight what makes you the most qualified to write this book.

5.  Any publicity about you that is relevant to your proposal. (Yes, enter variations of your name on a search engine, such as Google, and see what pops up; you can be assured that an editor seriously considering your proposal will do this.) Give context to any negative publicity.

6.  Any reviews of previous books. And don’t just send the good one, written by a former colleague in graduate school; list all of them. For any negative review, give any context to it.

7.  A description of your platform (and if you do not know what this is, then consider focusing here first).

Nonfiction Book Proposal Review Services

Stuck while writing your query letter? Or, sent it out to publishers with no reply … or a form decline?

  • Get a thorough, written review of your query letter and narrative chapter description with suggestions for improvements
  • Receive these in about 2 business days
  • Then schedule a 30-minute phone conversation that focuses on your questions
  • All, for a low price

Every book proposal needs to be built like a custom cabinet for an oddly shaped corner. Yet, whatever the subject, the same basic elements are used in the construction.

Fill in the details to send us your non fiction title and genre. An email reply will ask you to add or attach materials for our review.

You will receive a written assessment by email that pin points the strengths and weaknesses in your proposal as well as a 30-minute phone in which your questions lead the conversation.

Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato offer one of the best explanations of a nonfiction proposal in their book, Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction–and Get It Published (W.W. Norton, 2002).

Send us your query, proposal, and sample for our analysis and report to you. If you elect to engage our services, then our fee is low (call or email for current rates). Our turn-around time is about a week (and often as quick as 2 business days).

For a well-formed proposal outline, see National Association of Social Workers Press document.

We also offer coaching services through which you can develop your own proposal and learn about the proposal-writing process. For a low fee, you receive weekly 30-minute session; this process usually takes 4-5 sessions.