Book Proposals &
"How do I get an agent? How do I find a publisher?"
The answer to both those questions is the same: A book proposal. A book proposal is a sales document that’s used to convince a literary agent to represent your book or get a publisher to buy the rights to publish it. It can run from 40 to 80 pages and consists of the following sections:
An overview of the book
Bio of the author or authors
Your marketing platform and strategy
A review of comparable titles in your genre
A detailed outline of the book
1-2 sample chapters
Writing a proposal that lands you an agent AND scores you a publishing deal is one of the hardest, highest-level tasks in the publishing world. But a proposal is also a tool for developing the crap out of your book idea before the market sees it.
Is it original, or are you rehashing ideas that 10 other authors have already covered? Do you have the platform to reach a substantial audience consistently, and have you worked to build up an existing fan base that's hungry for your book? Is your outline fully fleshed out or are you not really sure what you will write? Have you thoroughly researched the books already on shelves to make sure there's nothing like yours already on the market?
Your proposal is your testing ground for rooting out dead-end ideas and determining what you need to do with your marketing platform. It's also a terrific tool for test-piloting different voices and styles before you commit to one for your final manuscript.
"My book needs more work. Now what?"
You know what editing is, and you're hip to ghostwriting. Well, book doctoring is somewhere between the two. You're still writing your manuscript, so I'm not ghosting for you. But when the first draft is done, if the book still has holes in the content, a structure that needs fine-tuning, or even new material written, that's where a book doctor* steps in, scrubs up, and gets elbow-deep in your book to make things right.
I don't do a lot of doctoring, but when I do, the process starts when you start writing. In some cases, I might coach you as you write—looking over chapters, making suggestions, keeping you on track, maybe having you do a few pushups. But more often, I see your manuscript when it's a mostly finished first draft. That's when I crack my knuckles and get to it. I will:
Review your book's concept and structure and suggest changes where warranted.
Relocate material as needed.
Rewrite passages that need it.
If new content is required, I'll write that new content to match the agreed-upon author voice for the book.
Edit the entire manuscript for coherence, clarity and consistency.
Suggest intellectual property if appropriate—processes, steps, acronyms, etc.
Deliver a polished manuscript ready for your final revision and approval.
Not all books need doctoring. But if you're not a professional writer, and you haven't worked with a developmental editor, you might need the assistance of a doc. Book doctors let you enjoy the thrill of actually writing your book while giving you a safety net so you can work with confidence.
*I'm not a real doctor.
I'm an Old Fashioned guy. Get it? Seriously, here's to you and your success.
FREQUENTLY IGNORED QUESTIONS:
Q: How much does a book proposal cost?
A: $15,000, payable in two installments.
Q: How long does it take?
A: Anywhere from 2-6 months.
Q: If you write my proposal, am I obligated to hire you to write my book?
A: No, but you'll probably want to.
Q: Can you guarantee literary agents will read my proposal?
A: I know many agents. I'll query them on your behalf, and a lot will at least look at your proposal. Beyond that, I can't guarantee anything. at
Q: What if my proposal doesn't sell?
A: That's a risk you accept.
Q: What's your success rate?
A: About two-thirds of the proposals I've written have resulted in a book deal, including 8 six-figure deals.
Q: What does book doctoring cost?A: $40,000 to $60,000, depending on the length and complexity of the project.
Q: How long does doctoring take?
A: Typically, 3-4 months.
Q: How does it work?
A: I interview you about your book, read anything you've written, learn your goals, and then make my recommendations.
Q: Will you act as my writing coach?A: I can, but that's up to you, not to mention where you are in your manuscript.