I’ve been commissioned to write a new book. It’s on book proposals. This book will include book proposals for novels and children’s books. Now why would the publisher and I decide to include them? Because more and more publishers want to see book proposals for novels and even children’s books. Here, I’d like to cover a few reasons why your novel needs a book proposal.
1: A book proposal can mean the difference between a rejection slip and a publishing contract. Contrary to what you may have heard, most traditional royalty publishers request a book proposal—yes, even for fiction. In fact, sometimes the publisher is more interested in the book proposal than he is the manuscript. Just look at some of the books that have made it into Barnes and Noble and that are on the bestseller lists. Are they all really that good?
The fact is that sometimes mediocre manuscripts are produced when excellent ones go unnoticed. Why? Think about it: A publisher is in the business to make money. Let’s say that the publisher can produce one more book this year. He’s looking for a single book to fill his catalog. If one author comes to him with a good book and no ideas for promoting it and another author shows up with a mediocre manuscript and an amazing promotional plan written into her proposal, which one do you think he’s going to choose?
2: A book proposal will tell you whether you have a book at all. A synopsis is a major part of a fiction book proposal. If you can’t write a succinct synopsis that brings your story to life, your book might not have all of the elements of a good story. Writing a synopsis is an excellent exercise—one that affords you the opportunity to examine your story from outside the traditional boundaries of the manuscript. Doesn’t it make sense to determine whether you have a viable project before you approach a publisher or self-publish your book?
3: A book proposal will help you to learn something about the publishing industry. As part of the book proposal process, presumably, you will spend some time studying aspects of your genre. You’ll define your publishing options and learn the possible consequences of your choices.
Think about it, you wouldn’t enter into any other field of business without learning about the industry, the products, distributors, manufacturers, suppliers and so forth. You would check out your competition and the needs of your customers. Publishing is not an extension of your writing. Publishing is a business and your book, once published, is a product. A book proposal, then, is a business plan for your book
More reasons why your novel needs a book proposal in my next post.