Tuesday, February 26, 2008

BOOK PUBLISHING: Why You Should Write a Book Proposal (Even if you Plan to Self-Publish)

by Diane Eble

Do you dream of writing a book? Do you also dream of getting published? If so, here's a tip that will save you tons of time, energy and probably even money:

Don't write your book first!

You read that right. Don't write your book first. Instead, focus first on writing what's called a book proposal.

A book proposal is simply your plan for your book. You wouldn't build a house without a blueprint, would you? Writing a book is a huge investment of time and energy, sometimes money as well. Just as you would not build a house without a blueprint, neither should you start writing a book without a plan.

Your book proposal will cover what your book is about, who your audience is, how you plan to market it, what other books are out there like it and how yours is different. It will include a chapter-by-chapter outline as well.

I liken writing a book to painting a room. When painting a room, the most time and energy goes into the preparation. You wash the walls, you put masking tape around the trim, you fill in the dings and sand it smooth. Then you cut in the trim.

The quality of the paint job depends largely on doing these preparatory steps well.

Once you do all that, you're ready to roll on the paint with your roller. That's the easy and quick part.

Writing the book proposal is like preparing the room. That's 90 percent of your work. Once you've done the proposal, actually writing the book will feel like rolling the paint onto the walls.

A great book proposal is absolutely necessary if you want a traditional publisher (also called a commercial publisher) to publish your book. They will not even look at a manuscript unless they've seen a proposal and offered a contract. (Same is true with finding a literary agent. They will want a book proposal, not the manuscript. Having a great proposal shows agents and publishers you know how to play the game.)

Even if you plan to self-publish, I still strongly suggest you write your book proposal first.

Because it will force you to think through your book, you will end up writing a better book. You will have asked--and answered--all the key questions that underlie a successful book.

If you'd like further help on asking--and answering--those key questions, check out the downloadable coaching session called "Jump Start Your Book: 12 Questions You Must Answer to Write a Book that Sells" at http://www.wordstoprofit.com/JumpStartYourBook.html.

For VIP access to an interview with 8 top publishing executives who reveal what makes publishers take notice of your book proposal, go to http://www.wordstoprofit.com/proposalsecrets.html.

To get your publishing questions answered, check out the many articles and resources at Diane's Website at http://www.wordstoprofit.com and blog at http://www.yourbookpublishingcoach.com.

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