Books Front Matter

Write a Winning Book Proposal with This Checklist

best sellerPublishers are always on the lookout for talented authors, but competition can be fierce. Run of the mill, plain Jane, unsolicited proposals can stack up quickly and often go unnoticed. If you’re trying to get published, the best way to garner publishers’ attention is through a complete and compelling proposal.

Create a complete picture

The body of your proposal needs to include specifics that create a clear vision of your book:

  • Title page — obviously, it can be a working title
  • Synopsis
  • Sample table of contents with a chapter outline that dedicates a paragraph or two for each
  • A full author bio that clearly relays your credentials as resources
  • Special features, including visual aids, exercises, and sidebars
  • Length
  • Proposed timeline
  • Any expert reviewers or legal experts you have on hand to address technical or legal considerations, if necessary
  • Whether you’ve secured a forward author, especially someone well-known in your arena

Have the right answers

booksTo get through publishers’ rigorous review processes and gain approval, ensure your book proposal tackles these questions:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What problem, challenge, or need does your book address?
  • What are your credentials (i.e., what experiences, certifications, degrees, and such make you a good resource for your title)?
  • How will your title stack up to the competition — where do your strengths and weaknesses lie in relation to existing books in your arena?
  • Do you plan to include multimedia content?
  • How is your timing — meaning how will the proposed release date relate to market trends?
  • Do you have ideas for promoting your book upon completion?

Shine through

An appealing proposal should reflect you and the diligence you will put toward this project. After you ensure your proposal is complete, addresses all the necessary queries, and is, of course, edited for grammar, punctuation, and spelling, make sure you shine through. A winning proposal shows publishers that you’re capable of creating appealing content and leaves them wanting more.

Looking for personalized assistance to get your title into print or eBook form? Contact your Sheridan representative for a consultation.

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